How to make anti-corruption agencies accountable and independent

How to make anti-corruption agencies accountable and independent

25 October 2017: The feature was edited to temporarily remove links to the specific country reports.

Anti-corruption agencies (ACAs) are key to the fight against corruption. This was recognised in the United Nations Convention Against Corruption, which was adopted in 2003 and now has 183 parties.

These publically-funded organisations investigate the corrupt and are supposed to be independent. At their best, these agencies act as a deterrent because they provide the evidence for the judiciary to take legal action against the corrupt. But to do this they need to be independent, publicly accountable and well-funded and staffed.

In Strengthening Anti-Corruption Agencies in Asia Pacific Transparency International publishes the findings of research into the strengths and weaknesses of ACAs in six Asian countries - Bangladesh, Bhutan, Indonesia, Maldives, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.  It also makes general recommendations on how to increase the effectiveness of ACAs that are relevant throughout the world.

“This report shows how important political and government commitment is to ensure that ACAs do their jobs effectively. ACAs also need to demonstrate the courage and capacity to prosecute all, including the powerful without fear or favour,” said Iftekhar Zaman, executive director of Transparency International Bangladesh.

The report looked at seven key components of anti-corruption agencies and used a specially developed methodology to score how effective they are based on 50 different indicators. 

How strong are anti-corruption agencies in Asia Pacific?

We hope this report will help ACAs to share their experiences and learn from each other. This is key to building a stronger network of ACAs in the region.

Natalia Soebagjo Board Member Transparency International and Transparency International Indonesia

The report makes the following key recommendations based on a study of seven key areas:

Governments and political parties:

  • The independence of ACAs should be ensured, in terms of the selection and appointment of the ACAs’ leadership and staff.
  • The law must grant ACAs extensive powers to investigate, arrest and prosecute.
  • ACAs must be allowed full freedom to discharge their legal mandate impartially, without interference from any quarters.
  • There must be an independent oversight mechanism to monitor ACAs’ functions and practices: for example, a parliamentary oversight committee and/or a committee comprising a cross-section of professional groups and civil society.
  • ACAs must be adequately resourced.

For the anti-corruption agencies:

  • ACAs must demonstrate their ability and willingness to investigate and prosecute those who are involved in grand corruption (the “big fish”), and to impose appropriate sanctions.
  • ACAs must lead by example and ensure that their officials and staff practice proactive disclosure of assets, undertake public reporting of their activities and guarantee public access to information.
  • ACAs must engage with citizens to educate them, through community relations programmes, on the negative consequences of corruption, and to mobilise their support for their anti-corruption activities.  

“When government support is lacking, the battle is hard for ACAs to function independently and to get the resources they need to deliver well. On the other hand, when the ACAs themselves fail to make best use of their legal and institutional mandate, it is even worse,” said TI Bangladesh’s Zaman

Access the full report: Strengthening Anti-Corruption Agencies in Asia Pacific 

Image: Copyright, iStockphoto

For any press enquiries please contact press@transparency.org

Latest

Support Transparency International

Risk of impunity increases with outcome of Portuguese-Angolan corruption trial

A verdict last week by the Lisbon Court of Appeals in the trial of former Angolan vice president Manuel Vicente has disappointed hopes for a triumph of legal due process over politics and impunity. It also has worrying implications for the independence of Portugal’s judiciary.

The UK just made it harder for the corrupt to hide their wealth offshore

If counted together, the United Kingdom and its Overseas Territories and Crown dependencies would rank worst in the world for financial secrecy. Fortunately, this could soon change.

The new IMF anti-corruption framework: 3 things we’ll be looking for a year from now

Last Sunday, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) unveiled its long-awaited framework for “enhanced” engagement with countries on corruption and governance issues. Here are three aspects we at Transparency International will be looking at closely in coming months as the new policy is rolled out.

While the G20 drags its feet, the corrupt continue to benefit from anonymous company ownership

The corrupt don’t like paper trails, they like secrecy. What better way to hide corrupt activity than with a secret company or trust as a front? You can anonymously open bank accounts, make transfers and launder dirty money. If the company is not registered in your name, it can't always be traced back to you.

Urging leaders to act against corruption in the Americas

The hot topic at the 2018 Summit of the Americas is how governments can combat corruption at the highest levels across North and South America.

The impact of land corruption on women: insights from Africa

As part of International Women’s Day, Transparency International is launching the Women, Land and Corruption resource book. This is a collection of unique articles and research findings that describe and analyse the prevalence of land corruption in Africa – and its disproportionate effect on women – presented together with innovative responses from organisations across the continent.

Passport dealers of Europe: navigating the Golden Visa market

Coast or mountains? Real estate or business investment? Want your money back in five years? If you're rich, there are an array of options for European ‘Golden Visas’ at your fingertips, each granting EU residence or citizenship rights.

Social Media

Follow us on Social Media