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

Learn more about the Anti-Corruption Agency Strengthening Initiative.

Image: Copyright, iStockphoto

For any press enquiries please contact press@transparency.org

Latest

Support Transparency International

Everything you need to know about the 18th International Anti-Corruption Conference (#18IACC)

The #18IACC will take place from 22-24 October in Copenhagen, Denmark under the theme Together for Development, Peace and Security: Now is the Time to Act. Get the latest info and updates here!

Risky business: Europe’s golden visa programmes

Are EU Member States accepting too much risk in their investor migration schemes?

Future Against Corruption Award 2018

TI is calling on young people across the globe to join the anti-corruption movement. People between the age of 18 and 35 are invited to submit a short video clip presenting their idea on new ways to fight corruption. Three finalists will be invited to Berlin during the International Anti-Corruption Day festivities to be awarded with the Future Against Corruption Award. Apply today!

The Azerbaijani Laundromat one year on: has justice been served?

In September last year, a massive leak of bank records from 2012 to 2014 showed that the ruling elite of Azerbaijan ran a $3 billion slush fund and an international money laundering scheme. One year on, has enough been done to hold those involved to account?

Right to information: knowledge is power

The right to information is vital for preventing corruption. When citizens can access key facts and data from governments, it is more difficult to hide abuses of power and other illegal activities - governments can be held accountable.

Paradise lost among Maldives dodgy land deals

Should tourists run for cover as a storm of corruption allegations sweeps across the Maldives?

Foreign bribery rages unchecked in over half of global trade

There are many losers and few winners when companies bribe foreign public officials to win lucrative overseas contracts. In prioritising profits over principles, governments in most major exporting countries fail to prosecute companies flouting laws criminalising foreign bribery.

Social Media

Follow us on Social Media