15 Tools to Curb Corruption in Any Country

  1. Political Will” from the top – support anti-corruption champions; ensure no impunity for crimes of corruption. UNCAC Art. 17.

2. Parliament shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

3. Reach out to the people. Support from civil society is critical. Art 13. Media campaign to increase public awareness of extent and costs of corruption. Art. 6.

4. Regulate Money in Politics: Officials prohibited from accepting gifts exceeding $10 in value; Corporate and individual political contributions limited to $2500/candidate/year.

5. Government Officials: Merit based hiring & adequate pay, Art. 7. Prohibitions against taking gifts; Annual wealth disclosures signed under penalty of perjury and reviewed at least every 24 months). Art. 8(5), 52(5).

6. Ethics training in schools and for all govt. staff, plus specialized training for personnel responsible for preventing/combatting corruption. Art 60.

7. Establish Independent Inspector Generals to review transparency, reporting and auditing for government procurement procedures and grants. Art. 6, 9.

8. Strong mechanisms for tracing, freezing and confiscating the proceeds of crime. Art.31.

9. Criminalize both the offering to and acceptance of bribes by domestic and foreign public officials. Art 15, 16.

10. Illicit enrichment: criminalize significant increases in the assets of a public official that cannot be reasonably explained. Art. 20.

11. Anti-money laundering: criminal penalties; regulations for financial institutions (including Beneficial Owners, SARs and PEPs Art., 52 (1)); mechanisms to overcome bank secrecy (Art. 40, 46(8)). Art 14.

12. Protections for witnesses and whistleblowers. Art. 32, 33.

13. A national corruption hotline and 10%-30% rewards for information leading to recovery of assets of corruption.

14. Qui Tam: allows a private person, known as a “relator,” to bring a lawsuit on behalf of the government, where he has information that the named defendant has knowingly submitted or caused the submission of false or fraudulent claims to the government.

15. Strong agreements with other countries to cooperate in all criminal, civil and administrative matters relating to corruption. Art. 43, 46.

About the author: Jack D. Smith is a Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialist and the founding Executive Director of Repatriation Group International.