Fighting corruption: the role of the Anti-Corruption Commission

Fighting corruption: the role of the Anti-Corruption Commission

A well-financed and independent anti-corruption agency or commission can be a strong weapon in the fight against corruption. They need support, however, from both the government, judiciary and law enforcement if they are to do their jobs.

Above all they need independence: they need to establish their credentials as independent investigators dedicated to fighting corruption both inside and outside government.

The first anti-corruption commission was set up in Singapore in 1952, followed by Malaysia and Hong Kong, giving Asia the reputation as the “cradle” of anti-corruption agencies (ACAs). Today there are nearly 150 such entities throughout the world.

ACAs often emerge in a context of corruption scandals. They are formed through broad political consensus and are regarded by most stakeholders as the ultimate response to corruption. However, they can find themselves at the centre of political controversy if they decide to investigate those in power.

Thailand’s Anti-Corruption Commission under threat

In Thailand the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC), which was formed in 1999, is coming under increasing pressure in a tense political situation because it has named the current prime minister in an investigation into corruption in the rice market.

There are allegations that the National Rice Pledge Scheme, which is headed by the prime minister, is involved in a scam that has cost Thai taxpayers US$15 billion over the past two years.

The NACC has had to protect its staff from grenade attacks and issue a statement explaining it is acting as a neutral entity. Government supporters are claiming it is biased and have barricaded its offices.

In 2010 the Thai NACC and the Thai government hosted the International Anti-Corruption Conference in Bangkok, a global gathering of more than 1,500 anti-corruption practitioners.  During that conference, the president of the NACC spoke openly about the challenges in investigating public figures.

The Bangkok Declaration concluded that the work of anti-corruption agencies needs to remain a national priority, and noted that for anti-corruption agencies to be independent, they must be preserved either in a constitution or an appropriate statute.

Good practice

In 2012 a set of standards and principles on what makes a good anti-corruption commission or agency were agreed upon by the anti-corruption community at a meeting in Jakarta. These include:

Transparency International supports the creation of ACAs to help in the fight against corruption, and calls on governments to support and protect these institutions to fulfil their mandates by ensuring that they are given the independence and resources to do their jobs effectively. 

During political crises, such as the one in the Thailand, it is important that no side tries to hijack the agenda of the anti-corruption commission and that the work is allowed to continue free from threats and intimidation.

For any press enquiries please contact press@transparency.org

Latest

Support Transparency International

#18IACC: Call for workshop proposals now open!

The 18th edition of the International Anti-Corruption Conference to take place in Copenhagen from 22-24 October 2018 is thrilled to announce that the call for workshop proposals is now open. Help us shape the #18IACC agenda! Anyone interested in the fight against corruption is welcome to submit a proposal.

Journalists for Transparency (J4T)

Journalists for Transparency (J4T) is a collective of journalists and storytellers that seeks to explore issues of transparency and corruption around the globe. Check out their latest stories here! 

Promise and peril: blockchain, Bitcoin and the fight against corruption

Bitcoin and the blockchain technology that drives it are among the most disruptive digital innovations to have emerged in recent years. We take a look at the potential of blockchain in anti-corruption efforts.

Former vice-president on trial: a watershed moment for Portugal and Angola

Manuel Vicente is the former head of the all-powerful Angolan state oil company Sonangol and was, until a few months ago, the vice-president of Angola. Now he is the main target of a high-profile corruption case in Lisbon.

The theme for the 18th edition of the International Anti-Corruption Conference (IACC) is announced

Building on the priorities set out in the Panama Declaration, the 18th IACC in Denmark from 22 to 24 October 2018 will move the pledge of acting together now to concrete action.

A new home for our corruption research

Transparency International is excited to announce the launch of the Knowledge Hub, a dedicated online space for our research.

Pardon me? Presidential clemency and impunity for grand corruption

Recent events in Brazil and Peru have shone a spotlight on the issue of presidential pardons in cases of grand corruption. Read more to find out the best practices that legislators can use to ensure that pardons are not abused for political purposes.

Stopping Dirty Money: the Global Effective-O-Meter

As of January 2018, global effectiveness at stopping money laundering stands at 32% effectiveness.

Corruption in the USA: The difference a year makes

A new survey by Transparency International shows that the US government has a long way to go to win back citizens’ trust.

Social Media

Follow us on Social Media

Would you like to know more?

Sign up to stay informed about corruption news and our work around the world