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An International Alliance against Corruption: Mindful of its Actions but Determined to Act

Dina Elnaggar's picture

When they first met in 2010, they hardly knew each other.  This week, members of the World Bank’s International Corruption Hunters Alliance convened their second meeting and for many of them, the fight against corruption is no longer solo. 
 
Once again, the World Bank welcomes more than 200 corruption fighters driving an agenda that is focused on international cooperation, technological tools and new approaches that can be incorporated in their anti-corruption mission.  Since their meeting in 2010, a lot has happened.  Corruption did not end but many of their collective actions had a profound impact in spreading a higher standard of accountability in public procurement and creating a broader range of enforcement powers.  Cooperation between the World Bank Integrity Vice Presidency and a number of national prosecution and investigative bodies has resulted in action against corrupt companies and officials.  Examples are many.  The point is, working as an Alliance is about sharing information and conducting parallel investigations, that is turning transnational crimes from a challenge to a success story.

Balancing individual and corporate accountability for corruption

Recently, many in the community concerned about international corruption have begun to discuss the need to hold individuals responsible criminally for their actions.  While people have long discussed the failure to hold high-profile bribe recipients responsible, now the discussion has mutated to the bribe payer side.  Lower-level targets are certainly more easily prosecuted than the rich and powerful.  After all, corruption, like most crimes, is committed by people, not by companies, machines or cultures.  Some countries, most notable the U.S., have brought an increasing number of cases against individuals directly involved in paying or authorizing bribes.

Monitoring for results: an accessory or ingredient on reform agendas?!

Francesca Recanatini's picture

We have received a few comments to the blog we posted last week and we want to take this opportunity to thank our contributors.  The examples provided and issues raised highlight both the on-going efforts that are happening at the country level and the need to learn from these efforts.  The on-going discussion also raises some additional questions:

If money is the root of evil, are developed countries doing enough about the problem of bribes paid in the developing world?

It is a fact that many of the countries which suffer the most from corruption are the countries which have the fewest resources to combat the problem.  Poor countries may be faced with a dilemma of using resources to prosecute the corruption which degrades the quality and quantity of public goods that reach their citizens, or using resources to provide those basic goods, such as food aid and roads.

At the same time, larger bribes are not infrequently paid by outsiders, such as foreign corporations.  Casual observation shows that funds must be coming from outside some of the poorest countries.  In short, the bribe money is flowing from the developed world into the developing world.  

Information Sharing: A Difficult Question of Timing


I believe that timeliness is key in the sharing of information.  If criminal information about suspects is not shared with those who need to know in a timely manner, this can result in crimes being committed that could have been prevented or once-in-a-lifetime investigative opportunities being lost. 

In the field of fraud and corruption and in our context, the failure to share information in a timely manner can result in funds continuing to leak that could have been put to use to the benefit of society and  overburdened countries and taxpayers picking up the bill for products and services that they have not received, are incomplete or are hugely overpriced.

The question I want to raise is whether and how we can share information at a sufficiently early stage.