Civil society organisations have been mobilising against corruption with fever heat in the last thirty years, turning out crowds numbering in the hundreds of thousands and exposing theft of public funds on a mind-boggling scale. But does all this civil society activism make a difference? Specifically, can it provide the support that anti-corruption institutions require to be effective?

What choices confront leaders of civil society organisations when powerful people in government attempt to subvert the very institutions constitutionally established to hold them to account? And how can public officials most effectively work against corruption in partnership with civil society?

This paper explores the relationship between governmental and civil-society work against corruption as revealed through the reaction of civil society to the suspension of Sierra Leone’s Auditor General in apparent violation of the constitution on the eve of the Auditor General’s annual report to parliament in 2021, and the subsequent developments in that country.

Part of the Chandler Papers. Read more about the Chandler Sessions on Integrity and Corruption.