Dr Justice Tankebe speaks on corruption at the European Society of Criminology conference, Cardiff (Wales)

Dr Tankebe recently presented a paper at the 2017 European Society of Criminology conference at Cardiff in Wales. The paper, titled “Corrupt Intentions Among Prospective Elites in Ghana: The Power of Social Norms”, was co-authored with Professor Susanne Karstedt of Griffiths University (Australia) and a member of the Advisory Board member of the Institute of Crime, Policy and Governance Research (Africpgr).

The study is the first of its kind to focus on the intentions of prospective elites to engage in corrupt exchanges; specifically, bribery and nepotism. The data came from a survey of 530 university students in Ghana. The results indicate that these prospective elites envision themselves as engaging in corrupt exchanges independent of whether with police, in procurement or in cases of abuse of power. Further analyses showed individuals with strong beliefs in materialistic and primordial values were most likely to engage in all types of corruption. Deterrence, in terms of perceived risk of being caught for engaging in corruption, has an impact on nepotistic corruption only, but not bribery. They found no evidence to support the hypothesis that increasing perceived severity of sanctions will deter potential offenders.

The authors argue that, when fighting corruption, future elites are decisive in changing attitudes and practices that facilitate corruption. The paper, therefore, discussed policy implications of the findings of the study. In the long-term, they suggest normative changes to address the harmful effects of materialist and group-centered values. In the short-term, the authors argue for a focus on addressing proximate causes. This could mean developing innovative mechanisms to bolster the capacity of institutions to achieve situational compliance through effective auditing and accountability. The findings of the study therefore support aspects of the anti-corruption strategies contained in

Ghana’s National Anti-Corruption Action Plan (NACAP); for example, increasing the risks of corrupt exchanges, promoting effective accountability and transparency in public office, and equipping institutions to investigate more effectively.