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Keynote Address at the the Third Virtual Economic Crimes and Cyber Crimes Conference

This conference opens up discussions on recent trends of corruption during the pandemic and how various jurisdictions have dealt with the vice. In light of the impact of economic crimes in Africa, the speaker hopes to cast some enlightenment and inspiration on the minds of the participants. This speech elaborates the impacts of economic crimes in a general perspective and distinguishes traditional from economic crime and the cost of the latter to society. It hints at the statistics of economic crime during the Covid-19 pandemic, the exacerbation of cybercrime in the digital spaces in the Covid-19 era. It then proposes that we should question how Africa can rise to the occasion through international, regional, sub-regional and country-specific mechanisms to detect, prevent and prosecute economic crimes and cybercrimes.

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The  Proliferation of Corrupt Activities in Public Health Systems during the Global Covid-19 Pandemic, pp. 1-22

The health-care sector should aim at maintaining and improving the quality of life and individual welfare of each patient, but this is difficult when corruption pervades one or more of the pillars of health-care services such as the structure, organisation, financing, and/or delivery systems. Health systems are particularly susceptible to corruption due to the very large amounts of monetary resources involved, information asymmetries, the large number and wide distribution of actors, system complexity and fragmentation, and the increasingly advanced international supply chain of medicines and medical equipment. Corruption weakens the effective functioning of health systems and usually contributes to their progressive deterioration. The extent, nature, and impact of corrupt practices within the health-care sector remain one of the main challenges to governments across the world.

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Internal Strategies and Mechanisms for Combating Corruption during the Covid-19 Pandemic in Zambia: A Linguistic Turn, pp. 23-40

This article analyses internal strategies and mechanisms in Zambia that have triggered corruption challenges during the Covid-19 pandemic. In doing so, it focuses on a localised practice known as the bineyi phenomenon and adopts John Law’s actor network theory (ANT) as an analytical prism. Bineyi is a colloquial word in Nyanja which refers to favours in exchange for funds from individuals and government officials. Simply, Bineyi entails a system of business social networking in which influential businesspeople seek to gain favours. These social systems are dimensions and units of actions of individuals, and their roles as plausible human activities. ANT, in turn, is a social science approach which assumes networks of social relations and structures that are dynamic.

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The Symbiosis between the Criminalisation of Sex Work and Corrupt Policing in Sex Work in South Africa, pp. 41 - 62

Despite existing studies that prove the prevalence of corrupt policing of sex work in South Africa, corruption continues to be a common feature of sex workers’ experiences with police officers. In this article, it is argued that the criminalisation of sex work, which is the current legal model enforced in South Africa, has enabled and cemented corrupt practices in the policing of sex work. Whilst police officers occupy a position of power over all persons living in South Africa, due to their office and authority to enforce the law, it is argued that the police officer/sex worker dichotomy is deepened by the illegal status of the conduct that sex workers engage in. This dichotomy places sex workers in an extremely vulnerable position in relation to police corruption. Criminalisation gives police officers multiple and constant opportunities for corruption.

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The Alexandra Township De-Densification Project during the Covid-19 Crisis: Challenges and Potential Lessons, pp. 63 - 83

In response to the Covid-19 (hereafter referred to as ‘virus’) pandemic, the South Africa government established different measures to try to slow down the spread of the virus. One of the strategies was to focus on population density, specifically in informal settlements. The argument was that high population density in informal settlements could increase the risk of transmission of the virus. The Bloomberg CityLab reported in 2020 that urban density does play a role in the transmission of the virus.  South Africa is no exception, as its major metropolitan areas have borne the brunt of Covid-19 infections, with Cape Town and Johannesburg classified as epicentres. However, there is debate amongst scholars and policy-makers as to whether de-densification is a good strategy, given the various ways in which urban life benefits from higher population densities, and whether density does or does not increase the spread of the virus.

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Corruption during the Covid-19 Crisis Response in Uganda and its Implications for the Right to Health, pp. 84 - 108

Uganda’s Covid-19 crisis response involved the mobilisation of resources from the international community and the private sector. The Ugandan parliament also appropriated a supplementary budget towards the response. To expedite the procurement of essential goods and supplies by government agencies, some public procurement procedures were not followed. As a result, tender prices were rigged, and the quality of products supplied was compromised. Fake vaccines were also sold to unsuspecting recipients. This article contends that acts of corruption did not only compromise health outcomes but also denied potential beneficiaries the right to health.

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