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Bobol: Then and now

Sunday, July 6, 2014

The traditional western legal definition of corruption is often understood as: the abuse of power for private gain, most often undertaken by a public official who represents the state; although, of course, this happens in the private sector too.


It might be the misuse of funds, bribery, fraud, embezzlement, favouritism, nepotism or some other act the legal literature describes as: “the use of public (or private) power for private profits in a way that constitutes a breach of law or a deviation from the norms of society.” In Lise Winer’s excellent Dictionary of the English Creole of T&T, the entry for bobol reads: 


“Bobol, bubol, boboll, bubbul N Graft: corruption; fraud; embezzlement. (south central Zoombo Kikongo lu-bubulu ‘corruption’; Kikongo bubula ‘become corrupt’; go rancid) (Northern Angola)”


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