this is a fantastic report :
Anti-Corruption Commissions: Panacea or Real Medicine to Fight Corruption?
John R. Heilbrunn
2004. 21 pages. Stock No. 37234
Hong Kong’s ICAC: The Universal Model 3
Singapore’s CPIB: the Investigative Model 5
The New South Wales ICAC: the Parliamentary Model 7
The United States Office of Government Ethics: the Multi-Agency Model 9
Other Experiences 10
Unraveling the Puzzle 13
worthful notings :
Anti-corruption agencies are part of a number of strategies that together can reduce venality in a
government. Some of these strategies are absolutely crucial, including
first the independence of a commission.
Second, commissions need a clear reporting hierarchy that comprises executive
officials, parliamentary authorities, and oversight committees.
Third, governments must have a commitment to enact reforms that may be politically difficult. How a government is able to enact
these strategies requires negotiations among key actors in the government, civil society, and the
media. It is apparent from the cases above that the capacity to enact controversial reforms is
problematic and many governments fail in their efforts to do so.
The first key variable that might explain a failure to reduce corruption through the establishment
of an anti-corruption agency is the absence of laws necessary for its success. Without the legal
tools to go after venal officials, a commission cannot succeed. Many governments either fail to
enforce existing laws or the commissions have no mandate to enforce laws.
Second, a commission must be independent from interference by the political leadership.
In some circumstances, a commission linked to the executive branch is used to settle old scores with
political rivals. When the agency is linked only to the Parliament, then the security agencies have
a disincentive to include parliamentary committees in their investigations. A competitive
relationship may evolve among parliamentarians and national crime investigators. The anticorruption commission thereby loses credibility as nothing more than a tool of the parliament.
Third, a clear reporting hierarchy may seem elementary, but it is not a straightforward arranagement. An optimal a hierarchy might be reports delivered to the director of the
organization, oversight committees, and then simultaneously shared with the Parliament and the
executive. However, some executives prefer to receive reports without the bother of any
hierarchy. This arrangement means that the executive branch monopolizes the information and
eliminates any accountability from independent agencies.
In Ghana, for instance, the constitution stipulates that the Auditor General reports directly to the president in a confidential report that the executive may release at his discretion. As a consequence, the audits lack transparency and the president withholds information that may potentially be damaging to the administration. With the
insertion of an unambiguous hierarchy whereby reports are transparent and accountability
agencies operate on the basis of information contained therein, an anti-corruption agency is both
independent and more importantly, legitimate.
Fourth, the presence of oversight committees is absolutely crucial to the effective organization of
an anti-corruption commission. In Hong Kong, oversight committees provide a control over the
ICAC and prevent it from any persecution of political opponents. The two committees found in
New South Wales attest to the potential of parliaments in controlling potential excesses of anticorruption agencies. By contrast, the absence of oversight committees in Singapore is evidence of
the political nature of the CPIB and its centrality to the semi-authoritarian regime. It is through
the activities of oversight committees that an anti-corruption commission links to parliament and
civil society groups that fight venality in the public sector.
Finally, some evidence suggests that the size of a country, either geographically or in terms of its
population may explain the effectiveness of anti-corruption efforts. Hong Kong and Singapore
each have substantial populations living in a small geographic area. An argument that the
geographic size of the country determines capacity to control venality has some credence. Despite
the facility of that argument, the ability to shift norms from acceptance of corruption, to draft new
laws that create rules prohibiting, and implementing credible enforcement bodies is a daunting
task that requires a high degree of political commitment on the part of the leadership and its