The Trialogue model of governance includes relationships between three main actor clusters—government, science and society—within which the quality of the relationships between the three actor-clusters “determines the extent to which government can generate the incentives needed to develop society by allowing science to inform the decision-making process”. Corruption, in the form of the bribery of a public official, diminishes the quality of the relationship between the society cluster, usually in the form of private-sector business interests, and government. The drop in quality in this relationship has a negative impact on the quality of the government—science interface, due to increased project costs, in turn dropping the quality of the science—society interface, due to a drop in quality or increase in the price of services. Far from being purely a morally detestable action, corruption has a direct impact on the level of development of both a society and a country, undermining efforts to promote growth, equity and access to services. The asymmetries in power between some of the large corporations and developing countries has led to a situation where corruption is taken as the norm and it is assumed that there is very little that can be done about it. The case study of how Lesotho confronted corruption on the Lesotho Highlands Water Project, leading to the prosecution of the Chief Executive of the Lesotho Highlands Development Authority as well as three multinational corporations, provides an example of what can be done by a developing country to promote good governance through tackling corruption. This paper investigates the impact of corruption, specifically on large-scale water infrastructure development projects, and what measures can be taken to combat it.

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