Monday News Muse 11 July 2016


THE son of former Sri Lankan president, Mahindra Rajapaksa was arrested over alleged corruption and money laundering offences relating to a real estate group.

RUSSIAN officials are to put forward legislation to make polygraph tests mandatory for civil servants, politicians and ‘civil activists’. This is apparently a bid to detect and purge those engaged in corruption. The problem with the proposal is that too much confidence is being placed on the polygraph test as foolproof, something that is not warranted. For example, during the Alexander Litvinenko inquiry, one of the suspects in the death of Litvinenko underwent a polygraph test in Russia. The inquiry found the results of the polygraph to be unreliable for several reasons such as:-

  1. There are several methods of administering the test and method chosen by the Russia-based polygraph tester was considered less reliable.
  2. There was evidence that the test subject had been coached on how to ‘cheat’ the test.
  3. The questions the tester asked and the way in which he asked them amounted to guiding the test subject to a pre-determined result.

So, just as Kenya and Malawi placed too much faith on the IFMIS system as an IT based anti-corruption solution (and paid the price with the Malawian Cash-gate and Kenyan NYS frauds), Russians should beware of the polygraph as a ‘scientifically accurate’ measure of truth-telling. Not only can it produce false-positives, but there are techniques to render it less reliable and it requires a competent professional to administer it properly. It may be useful in conjunction with other standard investigatory tools, but on its own- even if administered to potentially millions of public servants- it is of limited value.


THE death of 5 police officers in Dallas, US and the use of a robot-held bomb to kill the suspect is raising ethical and legal questions about policing and the use of lethal force. Specifically how does the usual standard for use of lethal force in law enforcement- where there is immediate danger to the life of the officer or another- might apply where the officers are themselves not in immediate danger (having cornered the gunman and settled into a siege situation)?

At what point are the police allowed to simply say the risk of death or injury is too high to attempt to take the suspect alive. It may be that they were worried that the suspect may detonate bombs or other explosives suspected to be in the area, but it is still a worrying precedent.





27 MEN were charged in court in Uasin Gishu county after being accused of impregnating dozens of teenage schoolgirls. Although the charges are not clear, presumably they are along the lines of defilement and indecent acts with minors.

SHARING passwords from streaming services such as Netflix could be a criminal offence according to US Courts.


ISRAELI Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is under investigation by the Israeli Attorney General for corruption and money laundering.