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Bribery

Illicit Enrichment uncovered – and discovering the best ways to fight it

When a modestly paid public official is suddenly able to take lavish holidays, buy a new sports car, or purchase expensive jewelry it raises eyebrows - and suspicion. Corruption may be suspected but it is often frustratingly difficult to prove – so what is the best way to deal with the sources of unknown wealth?

‘Illicit enrichment’ poses a legal and practical challenge for authorities around the world. One option is to criminalize the offence, meaning in practice that the prosecution does not have to prove that the assets come from corrupt behavior, but simply cannot be justified from legitimate sources of income.  The public official then has to provide evidence of the legitimate source of the mysterious new found wealth, and if it cannot be adequately explained then suffer the legal consequences.

Caught bribing foreign officials: Have you ever wondered where the money companies pay in sanctions is ending up?

A decade ago, prosecutions of companies for paying bribes abroad were rare.  Today, you can open the business section of almost any major newspaper and find a story about a company under investigation for bribery of foreign officials.
The good news is that these prosecutions are truly on the rise globally.  While the United States has continued to lead the field, the authorities in many countries have now succeeded in holding companies liable for foreign bribery or closely-related offenses.  To name a few, these include the United Kingdom, Germany, Switzerland, Canada, Denmark, Italy, the Netherlands and Norway.  Even some international institutions, such as the World Bank, are also moving towards such negotiated resolutions – but those private administrative actions are not the topic of this blog.

The bribes being paid to foreign officials often amount to more than just small change. Credit: Incurable_Hippie, Flickr Creative Commons

Have we seen a lot of trials?   Not at all.  Around the world, the preferred method of resolving foreign bribery cases is not through trials in court, but rather through shorter court procedures, plea bargains and other forms of mutual resolution.   Even in civil law countries.

Weekly Wire: the Global Forum

Kalliope Kokolis's picture

These are some of the views and reports relevant to our readers that caught our attention this week.

CIPE Global
20 Empowered Women that You Should Be Following on Twitter

“Men are from Mars, women are from Venus – we’ve all heard that before.  It’s no secret that the men and women are treated differently, but when it comes down to the heart of the matter, women are just as capable of success, if not more so, than their galactic counterparts.

With International Women’s Day fast approaching, CIPE is highlighting ways to help the movement for women’s empowerment. CIPE’s programs approach women’s empowerment through institutional reform, economic and political empowerment, and working with partner organizations to look beyond financial assistance – by helping women build leadership and business skills, CIPE focuses on preparing women for participation, whether they’re running a business, advocating legislative reforms, or simply making the world a better place for taking care of their families.” READ MORE

Weekly Wire: the Global Forum

Kalliope Kokolis's picture

These are some of the views and reports relevant to our readers that caught our attention this week.

The Wall Street Journal
How To Calculate How Much The Bribe Was Worth

“In the murky world of international corruption, it’s frequently unclear who is paying who and how much they’re paying.

It’s even harder to figure out how much profit a businessman or a company may have derived from greasing the palms of a corrupt government official.

Despite this lack of clarity, ill-gotten gains are one of the primary metrics governments use to calculate penalties for bribe-payers — the thought being, proceeds can only be confiscated if they are calculated accurately.”  READ MORE

Weekly Wire: the Global Forum

Kalliope Kokolis's picture

These are some of the views and reports relevant to our readers that caught our attention this week.

NDI
The NGO Corruption Fighters' Resource Book

"Corruption is a very big problem in many nations of the world-some would assert that it is becoming more extensive, and more areas of development activity are being affected.  Corruption is also becoming, de facto, an attack on governance as more and more of the rules under which nations are governed are breached with impunity.  Citizen engagement is very important in fighting corruption, and there are particular advantages in getting NGOs more involved in the fight. NGOs have limitations, but also great potential strengths, and these can be better realized through better project management."  READ MORE

Weekly Wire: the Global Forum

Johanna Martinsson's picture

These are some of the views and reports relevant to our readers that caught our attention this week.

Center for International Private Enterprise Development Blog
Strengthening Local Voices for Development: CIPE's 2010 Annual Report

 "CIPE’s 2010 Annual Report features the impact of partnerships around the world that strengthen the citizens’ voices for market-oriented and democratic governance. Whether CIPE partners work to establish youth entrepreneurship education in Afghanistan, strengthen the voice of the private sector in Ukraine, or reinforce transportation route security in Nigeria to reduce the cost of doing business, the 2010 Annual Report emphasizes the high quality and impact that results from programs designed to keep democratic and economic reforms at the forefront of global issues." READ MORE

Charlie Beckett
Social media and democratic governance: the next decade (Wilton Park paper)

"These are the notes for a presentation I gave as part of the Wilton Park conference on ‘media, social media and democratic governance’.

This has been an extraordinary period for news and also for the way that news is created and consumed. I think that we see some substantial trends emerging are more than passing fads or exceptional circumstances. I want to step back a little from the immediate detail of what is happening and try and put it in a conceptual framework that I think will help us frame policy ideas." READ MORE

Reinvigorating the Fight against Corruption

The 9th of December the UN celebrates the anti-corruption day. It is clear that this is a global issue and a cross-cutting one. It concerns virtually all countries, even if in different degrees, and it can be found in all sectors of the development arena; e.g. health, rural development, agriculture, sanitation and many more. Corruption is not an issue that concerns only the rich; on the contrary, the poor are those who suffer the most from corrupt practices, in a number of ways. First of all, corruption subtracts money from the tax revenues which are the main source of social programmes and services. Secondly, the money the rich pay to corrupt officials are usually passed back as increased costs to consumers, and the poorest ones are the ones that will pay the higher price. Finally, corruption affects not only multimillion deals but spread throughout the social realm like a cancer and I know of bribes asked (and paid) to obtain jobs with a salary of forty dollars a month.

International Corruption Hunters Alliance

Sina Odugbemi's picture

Joining Forces Towards Development Effectiveness Through a Global Alliance to Combat Corruption

The World Bank has established regional networks of anticorruption enforcement personnel. The network has been given a name suggesting vigor and ruthlessness: International Corruption Hunters Alliance. On December 6 - 8 in Washington, the members of the alliance will gather to reflect on their work. Joining them will be authorities from member countries that have prosecuted bribe payers, as well as representatives from the private sector, civil society and international organizations. It is hoped that by the end of the meeting a truly global enforcement alliance will have been born.

To prepare for the meeting, a series of virtual conversations has been launched. The series addresses four key themes. We invite you to join the conversation via the links below. More updates will follow.

Paying Zero for Public Services

Fumiko Nagano's picture

Imagine that you are an old lady from a poor household in a town in the outskirts of Chennai city, India. All you have wanted desperately for the last year and a half is to get a title in your name for the land you own, called patta. You need this land title to serve as a collateral for a bank loan you have been hoping to borrow to finance your granddaughter’s college education. But there has been a problem: the Revenue Department official responsible for giving out the patta has been asking you to pay a little fee for this service. That’s right, a bribe. But you are poor (you are officially assessed to be below the poverty line) and you do not have the money he wants. And the most absurd part about the scenario you find yourself in is that this is a public service that should be rendered to you free of charge in the first place. What would you do? You might conclude, as you have done for the last 1-1/2 years, that there isn’t much you can do…but wait, you just heard about a local NGO by the name of 5th Pillar and it just happened to give you a powerful ally: a zero rupee note.
 

If Only Corruption Could Be Defeated with Pocket-Less Trousers

Fumiko Nagano's picture

We at CommGAP are interested in learning how to change social norms as key to fighting petty corruption. When looking at the issue of norms as they relate to corrupt practices, as with most issues, there are two sides to the petty corruption equation: citizens who pay bribes and public servants who accept them. A number of posts on this blog have dealt with the importance of getting citizens to view bribery as wrong. So what about public servants? How do you get them to stop demanding and accepting bribes from citizens?

A couple of interesting solutions to this question were found in Nepal and Kazakhstan, as reported by the BBC earlier this year. In Nepal, in order to fight petty corruption at its main international airport, the government planned to put in place an unusual measure: making airport employees wear pants without pockets to prevent them from taking bribes from travelers. In Kazakhstan, one of the government’s anti-corruption initiatives included making civil servants wear badges saying “I am against corruption,” in the hopes that those wearing such badges would think twice before demanding bribes.


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