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Zuma Advises Top Official to Keep Gifts

South African President Jacob Zuma continues to appear entirely unconcerned with the potential for conflicts of interest among senior members of his government. Last week, the Commons featured a story on the Mail and Guardian’s probe into the financial holdings and business investments of the new South African executive cabinet. The M & G is…

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Speaker of Commons Resigns over UK Expense Account Scandal

Public outrage over the abuse of expense accounts (“moat cleaning“?!) by an overwhelming number of British MPs has forced Britain’s Speaker of the Commons to resign. When Michael Martin leaves his post in late June, he will be the first Speaker to be pushed out in 300 years. The hard numbers surrounding legislators’ use of…

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Government Watchdogs, Doing It Right (Sometimes)

Watchdog media group ProPublica recognizes four US government reports featuring solid investigative work. Winners range from the Inspector General of the Department of Interior to the Los Angeles City Controller. But at the federal level… well, it’s slim pickings. Notably, ProPublica’s “jury chose to award no Prize in the category of Federal Investigation/Independent Agency.” In…

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Nigeria’s Loans Go Unmonitored

The Niger Delta Budget Monitoring Group (NDEBUMOG) has raised concerns over a proposed government loan agreement between Nigeria and São Tomé and Príncipe. Nigerian president Umaru Musa Yar’Adua has suggested a US$10 million loan be granted to São Tomé and Príncipe “to assist the government [to] address some socio-economic difficulties in the country.” NDEBUMOG worries…

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Nigeria’s Independent Media Face Difficult Future

Despite an admirable history of aggressive journalism, freedom of the media is far from secure in Nigeria. The Punch, a popular Nigerian news source, cited recent incidents of violence against journalists as well as international reports from Global Integrity and Freedom House as indicators of the nation’s downward trend in media independence. As reported in…

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