In the early 1990's, the local government of Reggio Calabria, Italy was suspended when 23 of its officials were arrested for corruption and involvement in the mafia murder of a former president of Italy's rail network. Organized crime in Calabria has left an estimated 1,500 dead since 1985. Fernando Collor de Mello, the popularly elected president of Brazil who ran on a pledge to fight government corruption, was accused in 1992 of taking millions of dollars from public funds in the guise of a legitimate loan.
In 1992 there were 28 public interest reports on local government (out of more than 400 local authorities) in comparison with 41 in 1988. Much media coverage was given to the sale of public cemetries by one authority for a token amount, involvement in the financial markets by another authority, and questionable land deals by another. The scale of financial irregularities in one London government council (Lambeth) was believed in 1993 to be unprecedented, with a total lack of control over building and maintenance contracts; those attempting to investigate were subject to intimidation. Pressure by central government to contract out much of their work was also opening opportunities for questionable activities. Conflicts of interest arise, especially when politicians sit on the boards of companies tendering for contracts. Private firms undertaking activities for govrnment can easily find themselves in a monopolistic position with minimal public control over their activities. A 1992-93 analysis of UK education spending plans found that one third of all UK education authorities intended on transferring a total of £300 million out of education allocation and into other projects, such as building plans.