Corruption types and their analysis in Telecoms

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Definition of corruption types here?



‘Corruption’ is a deceptive word, which needs to be broken into more detail. It is fundamental to be able to say in a discussion about defence corruption: “Here, these are the specifics of defence corruption” at a sufficient level of detail that you and they can recognise the particular issues and then discuss them together.

Work done by Transparency International’s defence programme has led to a well-developed list of 29 specific corruption types in defence. Developed in discussion with multiple militaries and Defence Ministries, the corruption issues are clustered under five headings: 1) Political & defence policy corruption types, 2) Finance corruption types, 3) Personnel corruption types, 4) Operations corruption types and 5) Procurement corruption types.

A fuller description of each corruption type can be found by clicking on the box (not yet activated).


In group discussions, to build understanding

For many people in defence, corruption is a subject they haven’t thought about. If they have thought about corruption in defence at all, they usually equate it with corruption in military procurement. The subject is also somewhat to be feared: the detail is unknown and potentially threatening. Using this list demystifies that fear.

The list is such a powerful tool because it disaggregates the generic ‘corruption’ into 29 specific issues, each of which is easily recognised and understood. For each corruption type you can discuss how it manifests itself in the country/force/ministry, how extensive it is and how you might tackle it.

Thus, besides corruption in defence procurement, you review the many other ways of extracting money from defence: such as keeping budgets secret so as to steal from them, infiltrating military intelligence so as to steal natural assets (remarkably common), nepotism in promotions, selling off surplus military land, and so on. As soon as you open up these non-procurement areas the participants often become much more animated: these are ’real’ corruption areas that larger numbers of people are concerned with, often more than the specialist issues around defence procurement corruption.

You can use the listas the basis for group discussionabout corruption in defence. This works well at all levels, whether with the military leadership, withColonels, Majors and Captains, or with NCOs.You can engage with the following questions:

  • Which of these risks do you have?
  • Which are the key ones?
  • Which ones can you tackle?
  • Which ones are politically too difficult?”

And you can ask them to ‘vote’ on which are the more common ones, or which are the more serious ones, or which are the priority ones to address.

Here, for example, is how the corruption issues were ranked, though open voting, by military leadership in Botswana.

A group of senior officers voted on which were the top three corruption issues in their military. You can see from the bar charts that the most common were corrupt control of military intelligence, favouritism in promotions and appointments, and contracts.

Holding this sort of discussion is both a revelation and a relief, because it allows those involved – in the ministry and the military – to do something constructive and positive about what is otherwise a non-specific threat.

You can see a similar prioritisation below that was carried out in 2014 among 100 senior Colonels in the Taiwanese military. For them, the top three corruption risks were misuse of secret budgets, single sourcing in defence procurement, and favouritism in promotions and appointments.

Similar exercise has been carried out with the militaries and defence ministries of other countries. See here, for example for priorities in addressing corruption in the Ukraine military, analysing priorities related to being more effective in its war in the east of the country with Russia.

Priority Topic Voting
1 Proper Personnel Policy, Procedures (11 votes); and Honesty and integrity of personnel (3 votes) 14
2 War supplies 10
3 Budget, spending and proper use of funds 7
4= Effective internal control 5
4= Reform of Procurement processes 5
6 Action against the corrupted 2
7 Honesty and integrity of contractors and enterprises supplying MOD/AF 0

In countries where the primary defence corruption type is procurement, you can hold similar discussions to review which of the procurement risks are the most common/most serious/most pernicious.


The NGO Transparency International has done extensive analysis of the defence corruption vulnerabilities of most countries of the world. These analyses were first done for 82 countries in 2012, fully updated in 2015 and extended to 113 countries, and are now being updated again in 2019.

The analyses estimate the vulnerability of the nation’s military and Defence ministry to each of the 29 corruption risks, based on an assessment consisting of 77 questions. Read more >

Each question has a set of four possible model answers, representing different levels of vulnerability. Each country is researched by an expert assessor using a standard set of questions and model answers. The assessment is then independently reviewed by up to three peer reviewers. TI also invites the government to conduct a review of the assessment and submit additional information. More than 66 governments responded to the 2015 assessment.

For each question, the government is scored from 0-4. Countries are also scored in five risk areas: Political risk, Financial risk, Personnel risk, Operations risk, and Procurement Risk. The percentage of marks over all 77 questions determines which band the country is placed in, with each country being scored from A (the best) to F (the worst).

A full description of the methodology, the questions and the model answers can be found on the TI defence site, hereand here.

For example, here is the summary result for one particular country, Colombia. You see the overall ranking (Band B), plus the integrity rating expressed as a % for each of the five categories of political corruption risk, financial corruption risk, personnel corruption risk, operational risk and procurement risk.

If you expand the table below, you can see the scores for Colombia against the first 42 of the 77 questions here. The detailed evidence that led to the given score for each question is recorded in the database, as are the opinion of the peer reviewers and the government review. +/-


Here are the country summary rankings, listed by Band, with A being the least vulnerable to corruption and F being the highest corruption vulnerability.


Here are the links to the detailed pdf reports for each nation.

Detailed reports – defence corruption vulnerability

Transparency International Defence & Security.

Afghanistan Comoros Iraq Norway Taiwan
Algeria Congo, Republic Italy Oman Tanzania
Argentina Cote D’Ivoire Japan Pakistan Thailand
Armenia Croatia Jordan Philippines Togo
Australia Czech Republic Kenya Poland Tunisia
Austria DRC Kuwait Portugal Turkey
Azerbaijan Denmark Latvia Qatar Uganda
Bahrain Egypt Lebanon Russia Ukraine
Bangladesh Equatorial Guinea Liberia Rwanda United Arab Emirates
Belgium Eritrea Libya Saudi Arabia United Kingdom
Benin Ethiopia Lithuania Senegal United States
Bosnia & Herzegovina Finland Madagascar Serbia Uzbekistan
Botswana France Malawi Sierra Leone Yemen
Brazil Gabon Malaysia Singapore
Bulgaria Gambia, The Mali Somalia
Burkino Faso Georgia Mauritania South Africa
Burundi Germany Mexico South Korea
Cambodia Ghana Morocco South Sudan
Cameroon Greece Mozambique Spain
Canada Guinea Myanmar Sri Lanka
Cape Verde Guinea-Bissau Namibia Sudan
Central African Republic Hungary Netherlands Swaziland
Chad India New Zealand Sweden
China Indonesia Niger Switzerland
Colombia Iran Nigeria Syria




We suggest that you gather data in the following way:

  1. Access the Transparency International analysis for your country (see the list above or go to the TI ‘Government Defence Index’ site here)
  2. Hold discussions with different military and Defence Ministry groups on the relative corruption types as described in 1.2 above
  3. Hold an external meeting with a wide range of external stakeholders, from media to other ministries, on corruption vulnerabilities in defence
  4. Compare the three. Hold further discussions across the military/ministry on where the TI analysis is right/wrong/ insufficient
  5. Where necessary, conduct or commission additional analysis, such as from the World Bank

Security Sector methodology from the World Bank

The World Bank has developed a methodology for carrying out Public Expenditure Reviews of a country’s security sector (military plus police). You can find the methodology report here.

You can commission World Bank or a contract organisation to apply this review technique to your own military and defence spending.


One example of doing this is from Georgia in 2014, immediately after the launch of the first TI Index in in 2013.  Out of all 77 questions, they discarded all those where TI had scored them highly (3 out of 4, or 4 out of 4), leaving 41 questions where TI had scored them poorly (0, 1 or 2 out of 4).  See the figure below.  The Georgians then set out an action plan for each one of those 41 risk areas in order to improve Georgia’s capability against each one.

Other nations have been following a similar path. As of June 2015, some 66 nations were actively engaged with TI in the assessment of their defence corruption risks.


It is useful to have a robust quantitative assessment methodology.  It is immeasurably more powerful still when that methodology can be made into an Index through which countries can be compared.  Almost without exception, the second question for every country after “How did we do?” is “How did we do against our neighbours?”

Opposite is a comparison from 2013 of the defence corruption vulnerabilities across five north African nations. For example, the figure shows the comparison of North African defence institutions, where you can see that the personnel anti-corruption mechanisms of the Egyptian military score highly (the pink bars) – eg soldiers salaries are public, promotion is largely on merit, there are no ghost soldiers – but there is little evidence of anti-corruption measures against the other risks

TI has found that the motivation of external comparison also works at a more detailed level.  So, for example, TI has produced an analysis of how parliamentary defence committees compare, based on the 19 questions that have a parliamentary component to them.    Similarly, many countries are extremely interested in an external assessment of their defence procurement integrity.  Serbia’s Procurement Directorate spent three days with TI in 2015, reviewing in detail where they did well or poorly in comparison to other countries, and what they could do to reduce vulnerability.


There is a similar methodology concerning corruption vulnerabilities that is being applied to defence contractors.

Transparency International have developed and applied such an approach to 165 major international defence contractors. You can see the results of the 2015 analysis in the table below.

CI table

Use the information in this analysis to question your own defence contractors. You might ask them to carry out such an analysis on themselves, to demonstrate to you how well organised they are in watching out for and controlling corruption risks.

If you are in a country where few of the defence contractors have experienced such an approach before, then you could commission a third party to carry out such an analysis on your own defence contractors. The methodology is entirely public.


The above forms of analysis and data collection implicitly recognise the political dimensions of corruption reform in defence: how you choose which corruption types to prioritise and how you choose which reform approach to use both are likely to be shaped by the internal and external pollical economy.

If you wish to do a separate analysis of the pollical economy of the defence sector, there are numerous methodologies available and organisations able to carry out such an analysis. Details of possible methodologies can be found here.



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