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July 2020: Reducing corruption in African agriculture starts with the Seed. We conduct our own experiment on progress in Kenya

Faith Muniale

As a Kenyan, a keen kitchen gardener and with a PhD in anti-corruption, I wanted to know: Is there demonstrable progress in curbing corruption in the Kenyan seed industry? You and I have personal stakes in this. As the saying goes: At least once in your life you need a doctor, a lawyer, a policeman and a preacher; but every day, three times a day, you need a farmer.

June 2020: New blog site – Trusted Policing

Policing reform poses a dilemma that is unique to the subject. The police have to ensure that law and order are enforced.  To do so, they must have the trust and consent of citizens. In return, the police’s own behaviour must be above reproach. But what happens when they fail: when they themselves are guilty of brutality, corruption, harassment and racism?  Who brings them to account? This is a challenge that currently defeats most societies, as shown recently in the US and UK.

Matthew Gardner

This new blog site from CurbingCorruption contributes practical ideas and experience of good police accountability: the institutional mechanisms and the laws that govern behaviour standards, control investigation of wrong doing, and enforce the values that all officers must follow. This includes both internal control, through police Professional Standards Departments (PSDs) or Internal Affairs Departments (IADs), and external control, where the town, city, state or some authorised body exerts independent or semi-independent oversight of police. Neither form of control  works well enough today.

This blog is a pro-bono effort from CurbingCorruption, working together with Matt Gardner, who used to lead the PSD command in London’s Metropolitan Police, with 430 staff. We welcome blogs from citizens, law enforcement officers, politicians, researchers, anyone.  To comment or to submit a draft blog, use the ‘Email us’ box to the left.

March 2020: Is Telecoms the most corrupt sector?

Birgitta Nygren

Of the ten companies that have paid the largest FCPA penalties ever for corruption, four of them are telecom companies: Ericsson and Telia (both from Sweden), Mobile TeleSystems (Russia), and Vimpelcom (Netherlands). The industry associations seem not to be active on the topic. The United Nations International Telecommunications Union (ITU)  includes 193 Member States as well as  900 companies, universities and regional organisations. Their purpose is ” to help shape the future ICT policy and regulatory environment, global standards, and best practices”. But no mention of corruption or corruption risk.

Read CurbingCorruption’s full blog  here. It is by Birgitta Nygren, the telecom sector lead for CurbingCorruption. She is the former Ambassador for the Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs, co-ordinator for Swedish participation in different international anti-corruption initiatives. She’s also a former Member of the Board of Transparency International Sweden.

March 2020: Health anti-corruption – a new network and new thinking

Sarah Steingrüber

Sarah Steingrüber, Health Lead for CurbingCorruption, announces in GAB blog here the following new resource on fighting corruption in the health sector: week, the open-source academic journal Global Health Action, published a special issue on anticorruption, transparency, and accountability in the health sector. This special issue—a joint undertaking with the World Health Organization—addresses crucial and highly relevant issues related to the health sector’s ability to prevent, detect, and sanction corruption, in order to address the threats that corruption poses to the health system’s ability to perform effectively during both crises and normal times.

The health sector’s ability to prevent, manage and sanction corruption is considerably underdeveloped and it is estimated that as much as 6% of global health spend, or $440Bil USD, is lost every year to corruption and fraud (OECD, 2017). The cracks and fissures in health systems stand to delay or completely undermine the achievement of health-related Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) targets including, Universal Health Coverage (UHC).

The Global Health Action special issue is a joint undertaking with the World Health Organization (WHO) which in recent years has begun to promote a coordinated public health approach to ACTA by working with global partners to create new internal control and assurance models; increase monitoring and evaluation; develop capacity for multiple stakeholders to address corruption in health; and strengthen normative guidance for member states to integrate ACTA into WHO’s work on health systems strengthening.

The special issue contributes content to five corruption-related thematic areas, namely, ACTA frameworks; human rights; health workforce; procurement; and paradigm shifts for anti-corruption efforts in the health sector to prioritize improving health outcomes and overall system performance.

The contents of the special issue complement the Global Network on ACTA in the Health Sector, which held its inaugural meeting on 26–28 February 2019. This first consultation was jointly convened by WHO, Global Fund and UNDP (with co-funding from UK Aid), with participation of more than 130 global stakeholders from public health, anticorruption, financial management, academia and so on.

November 2019:  Clients should require their law firms to have robust compliance programs

Argentinian lawyer Sofia Tirini argues in this blog that clients of law firms should require their law firms to have robust compliance programmes. And in a longer article, published on the ‘Legal Service Sector’ page of CurbingCorruption, here, she proposes seven further measures to strengthen the profession.

October 2019: Fighting police corruption  in the London Metropolitan Police and beyond

A blog from Matthew Gardner, who previously served as the Head of Anti-Corruption at New Scotland Yard, Metropolitan Police, and who is currently covers police-related issues for CurbingCorruption.Com . Four reform measures are discussed:

  1. Suppressing police corruption requires an effective internal police command—a division that at the Met we call the Professional Standards Department (PSD), and that is often called the Internal Affairs Department (IAD) in other countries. Minimum effective staff level is at about 1% of the number of serving police officers
  2. Rigorous external and internal oversight of the police is essential. In the UK, external oversight of the police is required by legislation, which established 1)  the Independent Office for Police Complaints, and, 2) The “Appropriate Authority” (AA) function within the police. This AA role, critical to the independence and credibility of the anticorruption effort, is performed by a senior police officer of Chief Inspector rank or above.
  3. In-depth peer review and feedback from other countries play a crucial role in improving police integrity systems. In Europe, the most relevant framework  is the GRECO process. The current fifth round of the GRECO peer review process, launched in March 2017, is usefully focused on law enforcement agencies.
  4. Above all, the way forward in the fight against police corruption involves preventative “integrity testing” of officers. The Met uses a range of techniques to test the ethics and values of the police officers—from “mystery shoppers” to random drug tests—and the Met is developing mechanisms to randomly test inappropriate use of IT systems and the sale of police data.

October 2019: New directions in anti-corruption

A talk by Mark Pyman at the 8th Anti-Money Laundering Conference, London Oct 18th 2019.

191017 Pyman New horizons in anti-corruption. AML Forum London Oct 2019

August 2019 – Corruption reform in Electricity & Power

We are starting our analysis of corruption reform in the electricity and power sector. This is a major sector, with significant corruption issues in both developed and developing countries.

‘Usain Bolt’ meters: Reform successes in the electricity sector can be quick, but only the failures get reported

Dr Festus Boamah

A very interesting, original analysis of the dramatic progress in electricity supply in Ghana and Kenya. The author, Dr Festus Boamah, finds that there were numerous improvements in the way electricity programmes were rolled out, leading both to better access and to reduced abuse through corruption. Successful reforms included many ‘problem-solving’ measures, such as the frequent monitoring of electricity infrastructure, introduction of pre-paid metering systems, improved revenue collection/tariff payment mechanisms, establishment of legal frameworks to punish criminals involved in power thefts, effective oversight roles of civil society organisations and vibrant media engagement in the procurement of electricity infrastructure.

Read our blog here              See the sector page here. 

Read his full paper here:

July 2019 – Companies addressing corruption problems directly, not as risk mitigation

From Maersk, AEC, and Shell, inspiring stories about changing corporate behavior

If you Google “corruption,” you get 344 million hits. A large number, yes, but dwarfed by “change management” with 4.1 billion hits.

This huge volume of advice is a reminder that changing corporate behavior is hard to do. Yet within the anti-corruption, compliance and legal communities, guidance on how to change the behavior of organizations continues to be narrated simplistically, through such tropes as “tone from the top”. Cultures are more effectively changed by business leaders and regulators who believe that better business comes from actually reducing the corruption in their sector, not just by limiting their exposure to it. 

Every now and again we see great examples of this. This blog describes three examples

June 2019 – Local Government reform – Myanmar

An original analysis by Heesu Chung of how Myanmar has advanced from second to bottom in the CPI in 2010 to 132nd out of 180 in 2018 through incremental systems change

Heesu Chung

In 2008, 14 state/region governments with legislative and administrative responsibilities were created.

Three mechanisms have been established for public participation in the subnational governance system: Members of Parliament have been set up to be locally elected; Township Management Committees (TMCs) and Township Development Affairs Committees (TDACs) were established with some community representation. In 2012, Ward/Village Tract Administrators were made to be directly elected by community members through a system of voting for household leaders.

Survey results – below – show significant variations in corruption between Myanmar urban regions. So far there is no obvious explanation for the differences.  

The paper describes functional reforms in local administrations like one-stop shops, people-centred reforms like community monitoring by civil society, transparency reforms like citizens budgets, and strengthening media networks. Read the full article here:

May 2019 – Broad anti-corruption strategies are too ambitious in conflict zones

My experience in Afghanistan suggests that anti-corruption strategies need to be tailored to the specific enablers and drivers of each particular sector.

New blog on Ministry anti-corruption plans in Afghanistan.  in the series ‘Corruption in fragile states’ at the Henry J. Leir Institute, Fletcher School of Diplomacy, Tufts University, USA.

Broad anti corruption programmes are the wrong approach


April 2019 – The logic of sector-specific corruption reform

Presentation by Mark Pyman to the World Bank and several of their ‘Communities of Practice’ on tackling corruption using sector-specific approaches.


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