Tom Burgis: ‘To confront his kleptocracy, we must first cease our complicity in it’
Tom Burgis is investigations correspondent at the Financial Times and author of Kleptopia (William Collins)
There lived a man whose land was rich with oil and gas but who grew up surrounded by poverty and knew every day that things could, and periodically did, fall apart. He joined the security forces then entered public service. That is the wrong term: he began to participate in the looting that is the incessant occupation of those who hold public office in his country. This became his life’s work, to remain an insider, not to tumble from the enclave of wealth and safety into the turbulent world outside.
He grew rich. He rose. He grew richer. So did those on whom he bestowed his favour, those he licensed to loot. They fawned over him, told of his greatness. As for the rest, those in whose name he ruled, there was no need to seek their…