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Albania

9. Corruption

Endemic corruption continues to undermine the rule of law and jeopardize economic development. Foreign investors cite corruption including in the judiciary, a lack of transparency in public procurement, lack of transparency and competition, informal economy, and poor enforcement of contracts as some of the biggest problems in Albania. Despite some improvement in Albania’s score from 2013 to 2016, progress in tackling corruption has been slow and unsteady. In 2021, Albania’s Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) score was 35 and its ranking fell by six slots from 104 to 110, a significant decline from the 2016 score and rank of respectively 39 and 83. Albania is still one of the most corrupt countries in Europe, according to the CPI and other observers.

The country has a sound legal framework to prevent conflict of interest and to fight corruption of public officials and politicians, including their family members. However, law enforcement is jeopardized by a heavily corrupt judicial system.

The passage of constitutional amendments in July 2016 to reform the judicial system was a major step forward, and reform, once fully implemented, is expected to position the country as a more attractive destination for international investors. Judicial reform has been described as the most significant development in Albania since the end of communism, and nearly one-third of the constitution was rewritten as part of the effort. The reform also entails the passage of laws to ensure implementation of the constitutional amendments. Judicial reform’s vetting process will ensure that prosecutors and judges with unexplained wealth or insufficient training, or those who have issued questionable verdicts, are removed from the system. As of publication, more than half of the judges and prosecutors who have faced vetting have either failed or resigned. The establishment of the Special Prosecution Office Against Corruption (SPAK) and Organized Crime and of the National Investigation Bureau, two new judicial bodies, will step up the fight against corruption and organized crime. Once fully implemented, judicial reform will discourage corruption, promote foreign and domestic investment, and allow Albania to compete more successfully in the global economy.

The government has ratified several corruption-related international treaties and conventions and is a member of major international organizations and programs dealing with corruption and organized crime. Albania has ratified the Civil Law Convention on Corruption (Council of Europe), the Criminal Law Convention on Corruption (Council of Europe), the Additional Protocol to Criminal Law Convention on Corruption (Council of Europe), and the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC). Albania has also ratified several key conventions in the broader field of economic crime, including the Convention on Laundering, Search, Seizure and Confiscation of the Proceeds from Crime (2001) and the Convention on Cybercrime (2002). Albania has been a member of the Group of States against Corruption (GRECO) since the ratification of the Criminal Law Convention on Corruption in 2001 and is a member of the Stability Pact Anti-Corruption Initiative (SPAI). Albania is not a member of the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention. Albania has adopted legislation for the protection of whistleblowers.

To curb corruption, the government announced a new online platform in 2017, “  Shqiperia qe Duam  ” (“The Albania We Want”), which invites citizens to submit complaints and allegations of corruption and misuse of office by government officials. The platform has a dedicated link for businesses. The Integrated Services Delivery Agency (ADISA), a government entity, provides a second online portal to report corruption. Effectiveness of the portal is minimal.

In February 2020, GoA approved the establishment of the Special Anticorruption and Anti-Evasion Unit which operates under the Council of Ministers. The mission of the unit is the coordination between the main public institutions, agencies, and state-owned companies in order to discover, investigate and punish corruption and abusive practices. During 2021, the National Network of Anti-Corruption Coordinators, a structure that is under the Minister of Justice, who also serves as the National Coordinator against corruption, became functional. The coordinators are placed in seventeen institutions that have the highest public perception of corruption. The coordinators collect, process, and analyze complaints filed by the citizens and businesses and report to the law enforcement authorities if necessary.

Despite progress, corruption remains pervasive. Albania has yet to build a solid track record of investigations, prosecution, conviction, and confiscation of criminal assets resulting from corruption-related offences.

Algeria

9. Corruption

The current anti-corruption law dates to 2006. In 2013, the Algerian government created the Central Office for the Suppression of Corruption (OCRC) to investigate and prosecute any form of bribery in Algeria. The number of cases currently being investigated by the OCRC is not available. In 2010, the government created the National Organization for the Prevention and Fight Against Corruption (ONPLC) as stipulated in the 2006 anti-corruption law. The Chairman and members of this commission are appointed by a presidential decree. The commission studies financial holdings of public officials, though not their relatives, and carries out studies. Since 2013, the Financial Intelligence Unit has been strengthened by new regulations that have given the unit more authority to address illegal monetary transactions and terrorism funding. In 2016, the government updated its anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist finance legislation to bolster the authority of the financial intelligence unit to monitor suspicious financial transactions and refer violations of the law to prosecutorial magistrates. Algeria signed the UN Convention Against Corruption in 2003.

The new Algerian constitution, which the President approved in December 2020, includes provisions that strengthen the role and capacity of anti-corruption bodies, particularly through the creation of the High Authority for Transparency, Prevention, and Fight against Corruption. This body is tasked with developing and enabling the implementation of a national strategy for transparency and preventing and combatting corruption.

The Algerian government does not require private companies to establish internal codes of conduct that prohibit bribery of public officials. The use of internal controls against bribery of government officials varies by company, with some upholding those standards and others rumored to offer bribes. Algeria is not a participant in regional or international anti-corruption initiatives. Algeria does not provide protections to NGOs involved in investigating corruption. While whistleblower protections for Algerian citizens who report corruption exist, members of Algeria’s anti-corruption bodies believe they need to be strengthened to be effective.

International and Algerian economic operators have identified corruption as a challenge for FDI. They indicate that foreign companies with strict compliance standards cannot effectively compete against companies which can offer special incentives to those making decisions about contract awards. Economic operators have also indicated that complex bureaucratic procedures are sometimes manipulated by political actors to ensure economic benefits accrue to favored individuals in a non-transparent way. Anti-corruption efforts have so far focused more on prosecuting previous acts of corruption rather than on institutional reforms to reduce the incentives and opportunities for corruption. In October 2019, the government adopted legislation which allowed police to launch anti-corruption investigations without first receiving a formal complaint against the entity in question. Proponents argued the measure is necessary given Algeria’s weak whistle blower protections.

Currently the government is working with international partners to update legal mechanisms to deal with corruption issues. The government also created a new institution to target and deter the practice of overbilling on invoices, which has been used to unlawfully transfer foreign currency out of the country.

The government imprisoned numerous prominent economic and political figures in 2019 and 2020 as part of an anti-corruption campaign. Some operators report that fear of being accused of corruption has made some officials less willing to make decisions, delaying some investment approvals. Corruption cases that have reached trial deal largely with state investment in the automotive, telecommunications, public works, and hydrocarbons sectors, though other cases are reportedly under investigation.

Andorra

9. Corruption

Andorra’s laws penalize corruption, money laundering, drug trafficking, hostage taking, sale of illegal arms, prostitution, terrorism, as well as the financing of terrorism. Additional amendments were added in 2008, 2014, 2015, and 2016 to the Criminal Code and the Criminal Procedure Code that modify and introduce money laundering and terrorism financing provisions.

In 1994, Andorra joined the Council of Europe, an institution that oversees the defense of democracy, the rule of law, and human rights. That same year, the Justice Ministers of the Member States decided to fight corruption at the European level after considering that the phenomenon posed a serious threat to the stability of democratic institutions.

In early 2005, Andorra joined the Council of Europe’s Group of States against Corruption (GRECO) in its fight against corruption. Andorra has gradually built its internal regulations and relevant legal instruments and has undertaken numerous initiatives to improve the State’s response to reprehensible acts and conduct committed internally and internationally.

Andorra created the Unit for the Prevention and the Fight against Corruption (UPLC) in 2008 to centralize and coordinate actions that might concern local administrations, national bodies, and entities with an international scope. UPLC is responsible for implementing the recommendations made by GRECO.

Andorra has not signed the UN Anticorruption Convention or the OECD Convention on Combatting Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions.

There are explicitly defined rules for the ethical behavior of all participating bodies within the Andorran financial system. The Andorran Financial Authority (AFA) has also established rules regarding ethical behavior in the financial system.

The Andorran government modified and implemented new laws to comply with international corruption standards. The Andorran Financial Intelligence Unit (UIFAND), created in 2000 is an independent body charged with mitigating money laundering and terrorist funding ( www.uifand.ad ).

Resources to Report Corruption:

Unitat de Prevencio i Lluita contra la Corrupcio
Ministeri de Justicia i Interior
Govern d’Andorra
Ctra.de l’Obac s/n
AD700 Escaldes-Engordany
Phone: +376 875 700
Email: uplc_govern@govern.ad 

Angola

9. Corruption

Corruption remains a strong impediment to doing business in Angola and has had a corrosive impact on international market investment opportunities and on the broader business climate. The Lourenço administration has developed a comprehensive anti-corruption and anti-money laundering legal framework, but implementation remains a challenge. Angola has made several arrests of former officials and family members of the former president who were accused of embezzling state funds and has made a concerted effort to recover assets it accuses those individuals of stealing.

Some of the recent anti-corruption legislation includes:

  • The revised Criminal Law Code and Criminal Procedure Code, which both entered into force in February 2021: The updated laws include corporate criminal liability; harsh penalties for active and passive corruption by public officials, their family members, and political parties; criminalization of private sector corruption; and seizure of proceeds.
  • The updated Public Procurement Law, which entered into force on December 23, 2020, emphasizes the management of potential conflicts of interest in awarding public contracts, including the requirement for foreign investors to have a local partner, which historically made procurement ripe for bribery and kickbacks.
  • The Whistleblower Protection Law, which came into force on January 1, 2020, provides a protection system – including anonymity – for victims, witnesses, and the accused during judicial proceedings that involve corruption and/or money laundering allegations.

The government does not require the private sector to establish internal codes of conduct and does not provide a mechanism for reporting irregularities related to public officials.

U.S. firms in Angola are aware of cases of corruption in Angola despite efforts to combat the phenomenon and view it as a significant impediment to FDI. Corruption in Angola is pervasive in public institutions, government procurement customs and taxation. Foreign investors seeking to do business in Angola must remain mindful of the corruption risks and the extraterritorial reach of the U.S. FCPA.

Antigua and Barbuda

9. Corruption

The law provides criminal penalties for corruption by officials, and the government generally implements these laws if corruption is proven. Allegations of corruption against government officials in Antigua and Barbuda are common. Both major political parties frequently accuse the other of corruption, but investigations yield few results. Antigua and Barbuda is party to the Inter-American Convention Against Corruption and the UN Anti-Corruption Convention.

The Integrity in Public Life Act requires all public officials to disclose all income, assets (including those of spouses and children), and personal gifts received while in public office. An integrity commission, established by the act and appointed by the Governor General, receives and investigates complaints regarding noncompliance with or violations of this law or of the Prevention of Corruption Act. As the only agency charged with combatting corruption, the commission was independent but understaffed and under-resourced. Critics stated the legislation was inadequately enforced and that the act should be strengthened.

The Office of National Drug and Money Laundering Control Policy is the independent law enforcement agency with specific authority to investigate reports of suspicious activity concerning specified offenses and the proceeds of crime.

The Freedom of Information Act granted citizens the statutory right to access official documents from public authorities and agencies and created a commissioner to oversee the process. In practice, citizens found it difficult to obtain documents, possibly due to government funding constraints rather than obstruction. The act created a special unit mandated to monitor and verify disclosures. By law, the disclosures are not public. There are criminal and administrative sanctions for noncompliance.

Argentina

9. Corruption

Argentina’s legal system incorporates several measures to address public sector corruption. The foundational law is the 1999 Public Ethics Law (Law 25,188), the full text of which can be found at: http://servicios.infoleg.gob.ar/infolegInternet/verNorma.do?id=60847 . A March 2019 report by the OECD’s Directorate for Public Governance underscored, however, that the law is heterogeneously implemented across branches of the government and that the legislative branch has not designated an application authority, approved an implementing regulation, or specified sanctions. It also noted that Argentina has a regulation on lobbying, but that it only applies to the executive branch, and only requires officials to disclose meetings with lobbyists. With regards to political parties, the report noted anonymous campaign donations are banned, but 90 percent of all donations in Argentina are made in cash, making it impossible to identify donors. Furthermore, the existing regulations have insufficient controls and sanctions, and leave gaps with provincial regulations that could be exploited.

Within the executive branch, the government institutions tasked with combatting corruption include the Anti-Corruption Office (ACO), the National Auditor General, and the General Comptroller’s Office. Public officials are subject to financial disclosure laws, and the Ministry of Justice’s ACO is responsible for analyzing and investigating federal executive branch officials based on their financial disclosure forms—which require the disclosure of assets directly owned by immediate family members. The ACO is also responsible for investigating corruption within the federal executive branch or in matters involving federal funds, except for funds transferred to the provinces. While the ACO does not have authority to independently prosecute cases, it can refer cases to other agencies or serve as the plaintiff and request that a judge initiate a case.

Argentina enacted a new Corporate Criminal Liability Law in November 2017 following the advice of the OECD to comply with its Anti-Bribery Convention. The full text of Law 27,401 can be found at: http://servicios.infoleg.gob.ar/infolegInternet/anexos/295000-299999/296846/norma.htm  . The new law entered into force in early 2018. It extends anti-bribery criminal sanctions to corporations, whereas previously they only applied to individuals; expands the definition of prohibited conduct, including illegal enrichment of public officials; and allows Argentina to hold Argentines responsible for foreign bribery. Sanctions include fines and blacklisting from public contracts. Argentina also enacted an express prohibition on the tax deductibility of bribes.

Official corruption remains a serious challenge in Argentina. In its March 2017 report, the OECD expressed concern about Argentina’s enforcement of foreign bribery laws, inefficiencies in the judicial system, politicization, and perceived lack of independence at the Attorney General’s Office, and lack of training and awareness for judges and prosecutors. According to the World Bank’s worldwide governance indicators, corruption remains an area of concern in Argentina. In the latest Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI), Argentina ranked 96 out of 180 countries in 2020, dropping 12 places compared to 2019. Allegations of corruption in provincial as well as federal courts remained frequent. Few Argentine companies have implemented anti-foreign bribery measures beyond limited codes of ethics.

In September 2016, Congress passed a law on public access to information. The law explicitly applies to all three branches of the federal government, the public justice offices, and entities such as businesses, political parties, universities, and trade associations that receive public funding. It requires these institutions to respond to citizen requests for public information within 15 days, with an additional 15-day extension available for “exceptional” circumstances. Sanctions apply for noncompliance. As mandated by the law, the executive branch created the Agency for Access to Public Information in 2017, an autonomous office that oversees access to information. In early 2016, the Argentine government reaffirmed its commitment to the Open Government Partnership (OGP), became a founding member of the Global Anti-Corruption Coalition, and reengaged the OECD Working Group on Bribery.

Argentina is a party to the Organization of American States’ Inter-American Convention against Corruption. It ratified in 2001 the OECD Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions (Anti-Bribery Convention). Argentina also signed and ratified the UN Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) and participates in UNCAC’s Conference of State Parties. Argentina also participates in the Mechanism for Follow-up on the Implementation of the Inter-American Convention against Corruption (MESICIC).

Since Argentina became a party to the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention, allegations of Argentine individuals or companies bribing foreign officials have surfaced. A March 2017 report by the OECD Working Group on Bribery indicated there were 13 known foreign bribery allegations involving Argentine companies and individuals as of that date. According to the report, Argentine authorities investigated and closed some of the allegations and declined to investigate others. The authorities determined some allegations did not involve foreign bribery but rather other offenses. Several such allegations remained under investigation.

Resources to Report Corruption

Contact at the government agency or agencies that are responsible for combating corruption:

Felix Pablo Crous
Director
Government of Argentina Anti-Corruption Office
Oficina Anticorrupción, 25 de Mayo 544, C1002ABL, Ciudad Autónoma de Buenos Aires.
Phone: +54 11 5300 4100
Email:  anticorrupcion@jus.gov.ar  and http://denuncias.anticorrupcion.gob.ar/ 

Contact at a “watchdog” organization:
Poder Ciudadano (Local Transparency International Affiliate)
Piedras 547, C1070AAK, Ciudad Autónoma de Buenos Aires
Phone: +54 11 4331 4925 ext. 225
Fax: +54 11 4331 4925
Email: comunicaciones@poderciudadano.org 
Website: http://www.poderciudadano.org 

Armenia

9. Corruption

Australia

9. Corruption

Australia maintains a comprehensive system of laws and regulations designed to counter corruption. In addition, the government procurement system is generally transparent and well regulated. Corruption has not been a factor cited by U.S. businesses as a disincentive to investing in Australia, nor to exporting goods and services to Australia. Non-governmental organizations interested in monitoring the global development or anti-corruption measures, including Transparency International, operate freely in Australia, and Australia is perceived internationally as having low corruption levels.

Australia is an active participant in international efforts to end the bribery of foreign officials. Legislation exists to give effect to the anti-bribery convention stemming from the OECD 1996 Ministerial Commitment to Criminalize Transnational Bribery. Legislation explicitly disallows tax deductions for bribes of foreign officials. At the Commonwealth level, enforcement of anti-corruption laws and regulations is the responsibility of the Attorney General’s Department.

The Attorney-General’s Department plays an active role in combating corruption through developing domestic policy on anti-corruption and engagement in a range of international anti-corruption forums. These include the G20 Anti-Corruption Working Group, APEC Anti-Corruption and Transparency Working Group, and the United Nations Convention against Corruption Working Groups. Australia is a member of the OECD Working Group on Bribery and a party to the key international conventions concerned with combating foreign bribery, including the OECD Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions (Anti-Bribery Convention).

The legislation covering bribery of foreign officials is the Criminal Code Act 1995. Under Australian law, it is an offense to bribe a foreign public official, even if a bribe may be seen to be customary, necessary, or required. The maximum penalty for an individual is 10 years imprisonment and/or a fine of AUD 2. million (approximately USD 1.6 million). For a corporate entity, the maximum penalty is the greatest of: 1) AUD 22.2 million (approximately USD 16.4 million); 2) three times the value of the benefits obtained; or 3) 10 percent of the previous 12-month turnover of the company concerned.

A number of national and state-level agencies exist to combat corruption of public officials and ensure transparency and probity in government systems. The Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity (ACLEI) has the mandate to prevent, detect, and investigate serious and systemic corruption issues in the Australian Crime Commission, the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service, the Australian Federal Police, the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Center, the CrimTrac Agency, and prescribed aspects of the Department of Agriculture.

Various independent commissions exist at the state level to investigate instances of corruption. Details of these bodies are provided below.

UN Anticorruption Convention, OECD Convention on Combatting Bribery

Australia has signed and ratified the United Nations Convention against Corruption and is a signatory to the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention.

Resources to Report Corruption

Western Australia – Corruption and Crime Commission
86 St Georges Terrace
Perth, Western Australia
Tel. +61 8 9215 4888
https://www.ccc.wa.gov.au/ 

Queensland – Corruption and Crime Commission
Level 2, North Tower Green Square
515 St Pauls Terrace
Fortitude Valley, Queensland
Tel. +61 7 3360 6060
https://www.ccc.qld.gov.au/ 

Victoria – Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission
Level 1, North Tower, 459 Collins Street
Melbourne, Victoria
Tel. +61 1300 735 135
https://ibac.vic.gov.au 

New South Wales – Independent Commission against Corruption
Level 7, 255 Elizabeth Street
Sydney NSW 2000
Tel. +61 2 8281 5999
https://www.icac.nsw.gov.au/ 

South Australia – Independent Commission against Corruption
Level 1, 55 Currie Street
Adelaide, South Australia
Tel. +61 8 8463 5173
https://icac.sa.gov.au 

Austria

9. Corruption

Austria is a member of the Council of Europe’s Group of States against Corruption (GRECO) and also ratified the UN Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) and the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention. As part of the UNCAC ratification process, Austria has implemented a national anti-corruption strategy. Central elements of the strategy are promoting transparency in public sector decisions and raising awareness of corruption. Austria ranked 13th (out of 180 countries) in Transparency International’s latest Corruption Perceptions Index. Despite this ranking, the Group of States Against Corruption (GRECO) February 2021 report criticized Austria for only fully implementing two of 19 recommendations since the last report was issued in 2017. The criticism largely focused on a lack of transparency on lobbying, receipt of donations, and the income of Members of Parliament.

Bribery of public officials, their family members and political parties, is covered under the Austrian Criminal Code, and corruption does not significantly affect business in Austria. However, the public’s belief in the integrity of the political system was shaken by the 2019 Ibiza scandal, when a 2017 video surfaced in which Vice Chancellor and chair of the right populist Freedom Party (FPOe) Heinz Christian Strache and the FPOe floor leader in Parliament Johann Gudenus were filmed discussing providing government contracts in exchange for favors and political party donations with a woman posing as the niece of a Russian oligarch. This was compounded by further revelations in 2019 that the FPOe had allegedly promised gambling licenses to Casinos Austria in exchange for placing a party loyalist on the company’s executive board. Strache was convicted of corruption and bribery by the Vienna District Court in August 2021 following a separate health care fraud investigation. In October 2021, then-Chancellor Sebastian Kurz of the center-right People’s Party (OeVP) announced his resignation amid allegations that, while he was Foreign Minister in 2016, his inner circle paid newspapers to publish falsified opinion polls in his favor; that investigation by anti-corruption prosecutors is still ongoing. Finance Minister Bluemel (OeVP) also resigned, and prosecutors continue to investigate allegations that he may have facilitated political party donations by Casinos Austria subsidiary Novomatic, in exchange for government assistance with the company’s tax problems.

Anti-corruption cases are often characterized by slow-moving investigations and trials that drag on for years. The trial of former Finance Minister Grasser, which started in 2017, concluded in late 2020, with Grasser receiving a sentence of eight years in prison from the trial court judge. The official verdict was published in January 2022, and Grasser is expected to appeal the sentence.

Bribing members of Parliament is considered a criminal offense, and accepting a bribe is a punishable offense with the sentence varying depending on the amount of the bribe. The 2018 Austrian Federal Contracts Act implements EU guidelines prohibiting participating in public procurement contracts if there is a potential conflict of interest and requires measures to be put in place to detect and prevent such conflicts of interest. This required public authorities to set up compliance management systems or amend their existing structures accordingly. Virtually all Austrian companies have internal codes of conduct governing bribery and potential conflicts of interest.

Corruption provisions in Austria’s Criminal Code cover managers of Austrian public enterprises, civil servants, and other officials (with functions in legislation, administration, or justice on behalf of Austria, in a foreign country, or an international organization), representatives of public companies, members of parliament, government members, and mayors. The term “corruption” includes the following in the Austrian interpretation: active and passive bribery; illicit intervention; and abuse of office. Corruption can sometimes include a private manager’s fraud, embezzlement, or breach of trust.

Criminal penalties for corruption include imprisonment ranging from six months to ten years, depending on the severity of the offence. Jurisdiction for corruption investigations rests with the Austrian Federal Bureau of Anti-Corruption and covers corruption taking place both within and outside the country. The Lobbying Act of 2013 introduced binding rules of conduct for lobbying. It requires domestic and foreign organizations to register with the Austrian Ministry of Justice. Financing of political parties requires disclosure of donations exceeding EUR 2,500 (USD 2,950). No donor is allowed to give more than EUR 7,500 (USD 8,850) and total donations to one political party may not exceed EUR 750,000 (USD 885,000) in a single year. Foreigners are prohibited from making donations to political parties. Private companies are subject to the Austrian Act on Corporate Criminal Liability, which makes companies liable for active and passive criminal offences. Penalties include fines up to EUR 1.8 million (USD 2.1 million).

To date, U.S. companies have not reported any instances of corruption inhibiting FDI.

Azerbaijan

9. Corruption

Corruption is a major challenge for firms operating in Azerbaijan and is a barrier to foreign investment despite government efforts to reduce low-level corruption.  Azerbaijan does not require that private companies establish internal codes of conduct to prohibit bribery of public officials, nor does it provide protections to NGOs involved in investigating corruption.  U.S. firms have identified corruption in government procurement, licensing, dispute settlement, regulation, customs, and taxation as significant obstacles to investment.

The Azerbaijani government publicly acknowledges problems with corruption but does not effectively or consistently enforce anticorruption laws and regulations.  Azerbaijan has made modest progress in implementing a 2005 Anti-corruption Law, which created a commission with the authority to require full financial disclosure from government officials.  The government has achieved a degree of success reducing red tape and opportunities for bribery through a focus on e-government and government service delivery through centralized ASAN service centers, which first opened in February 2013.  ASAN centers provide more transparent, efficient, and accountable services through a “one window” model that reduces opportunities for rent-seeking and petty government corruption and have become a model for other initiatives aimed at improving government service delivery.

Despite progress in reducing corruption in public services delivery, the civil service, public procurement apparatus, and the judiciary still suffer from corruption.  Tax reforms announced in January 2019 were aimed partially at reducing corruption in tax administration and received praise from the local business community.

Azerbaijan signed and ratified the UN Anticorruption Convention and is a signatory to the Council of Europe Criminal and Civil Law Conventions.  Azerbaijan is not currently a party to the OECD Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions.

Bahrain

9. Corruption

Senior GOB officials have advocated publicly to reduce corruption. Legislation countering corruption is outlined in Bahrain’s Economic Vision 2030 and National Anti-Corruption Strategy. Bahrain joined the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC) in 2003. Bahrain ratified its penal code on combatting bribery in the public and private sectors in 2008, mandating criminal penalties for official corruption. In December 2013, the Ministry of Interior launched the National Strategy to Combat Corruption. Under Bahraini law, government employees are subject to prosecution and punishments of up to 10 years imprisonment if they use their positions to engage in embezzlement or bribery, either directly or indirectly. The law does not require GOB officials to make financial disclosures. In 2010, Bahrain ratified the UNCAC and the Arab Convention Against Corruption, and in 2016, joined the International Anti-Corruption Academy. In December 2021, the Ministry of Interior General Directorate of Anti-Corruption and Economic and Electronic Security initiated 96 embezzlement, bribery and abuse of authority cases and three economic infractions that were referred from the Cabinet. In January 2022, the Public Prosecution Office referred seven corruption cases, 12 tax evasion and 10 money laundering cases to the courts, in addition to two tax evasion cases and five money laundering cases that have been pending since 2021. Giving or accepting a bribe is illegal. The GOB, however, has not fully implemented the law, and some officials reportedly continue to engage in corrupt practices with impunity.

The National Audit Office, established in 2002, is mandated to publish annual reports that highlight fiscal irregularities within GOB ministries and other public sector entities. The reports enable legislators to exercise oversight and call for investigations of fiscal discrepancies in GOB accounts. In 2013, the Crown Prince established an Investigation Committee to oversee cases noted in the National Audit Office annual report, which lists violations by GOB state bodies. On March 1, 2022, Deputy Prime Minister Shaikh Mohammed bin Mubarak Al Khalifa stressed the importance of consolidating responsibility and accountability to protect public funds and directed all agencies to cooperate with the National Audit Office.

The Minister for Follow-Up Affairs was designated in 2015 to execute recommendations made in that year’s National Audit Office annual report. The Crown Prince, who concurrently has served as Prime Minister since November 2020, urged all GOB entities and the COR to work closely to implement the report’s recommendations.

The Ministry of Interior’s Anti-Corruption and Economic and Electronic Security Directorate signed an MOU with the United Nations Development Programme to enhance the anti-corruption directorate’s capabilities.

Bahrain has conflict-of-interest laws in place, however, their application in awarding contacts is not fully enforced.

Local non-governmental organizations generally do not focus on corruption-related issues, though civil society activists have spoken out against corrupt practices in the public sector.

Few cases have been registered by U.S. companies reporting corruption as an obstacle to their investments in Bahrain.

Bahrain signed and ratified the United Nations Anticorruption Convention in 2005 and 2010, respectively. Bahrain, however, is not a signatory to the OECD Convention on Combating Bribery. In 2018, Bahrain joined the OECD’s Inclusive Framework on Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS).

Resources to Report Corruption

Contact at government agency or agencies responsible for combating corruption:

General Directorate of Anti- Corruption & Economic & Electronic Security
Ministry of Interior
P. O. Box 26698, Manama, Bahrain
Hotline: 992

Contact at “watchdog” organization:

Dr. Hussain al-Rubaie
President
Bahrain Transparency Society
P.O. Box 26059
Adliya, Bahrain
Phone: +973 39642452

 

Bangladesh

9. Corruption

Corruption remains a serious impediment to investment and economic growth in Bangladesh. While the government has established legislation to combat bribery, embezzlement, and other forms of corruption, enforcement is inconsistent. The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) is the main institutional anti-corruption watchdog. With amendments to the Money Laundering Prevention Act, the ACC is no longer the sole authority to probe money-laundering offenses. Although it still has primary authority for bribery and corruption, other agencies will now investigate related offenses, including:

  • The Bangladesh Police (Criminal Investigation Department) – Most predicate offenses.
  • The National Board of Revenue – VAT, taxation, and customs offenses.
  • The Department of Narcotics Control – drug related offenses.

The current Awami League-led government has publicly underscored its commitment to fighting corruption and reaffirmed the need for a strong ACC, but opposition parties claim the ACC is used by the government to harass political opponents. Efforts to ease public procurement rules and a recent constitutional amendment diminishing the independence of the ACC may undermine institutional safeguards against corruption. Bangladesh is a party to the UN Anticorruption Convention but has not joined the OECD Convention on Combating Bribery of Public Officials. Corruption is common in public procurement, tax and customs collection, and among regulatory authorities. Corruption, including bribery, raises the costs and risks of doing business. By some estimates, off-the-record payments by firms may result in an annual reduction of two to three percent of GDP. Corruption has a corrosive impact on the broader business climate market and opportunities for U.S. companies in Bangladesh. It also deters investment, stifles economic growth and development, distorts prices, and undermines the rule of law.

Barbados

9. Corruption

The law provides criminal penalties for official corruption, and the government generally implemented these laws effectively. Barbados signed but did not yet ratify the UN Convention on Corruption and the Inter-American Convention Against Corruption.

In 2012, Barbados enacted the Prevention of Corruption Act, which includes standards of integrity in public life. It has not been proclaimed by the President and consequently is not in force. The Integrity of Public Life Bill 2020, which mandated declaration of assets by all politicians, senior public officers, chair people, and high-ranking managers of SOEs, passed in Barbados’ Parliament but was ultimately defeated in the Senate. Prime Minister Mia Mottley’s administration plans to bring the bill back to Parliament in 2022 but has acknowledged the need to reach agreement with opposing forces in the Senate.

The Government of Barbados has announced its intention to establish a public investment dashboard to provide information relevant to public sector investment projects, including cost overruns, procurement procedures, and company selection. The government also plans to establish an independent statistics and data analytics authority and to introduce a Freedom of Information Act.

A government minister with the previous administration was arrested in the United States on charges of laundering proceeds from bribes paid in Barbados. In 2020, he was found guilty on two charges of money laundering and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering.

Barbados is a member of the regional Association of Integrity Commissions and Anti-Corruption Bodies in the Commonwealth Caribbean.

Belarus

9. Corruption

Official sources claim that most corruption cases involve soliciting and accepting bribes, fraud, and abuse of power, although anecdotal evidence indicates such corruption usually does not occur as part of day-to-day interaction between citizens and minor state officials. In Belarus, bribery is considered a form of corruption and is punishable with a maximum sentence of 10 years in jail and confiscation of property. The most corrupt sectors are considered to be state administration and procurement, the industrial sector, agriculture, trade, and the construction industry. In 2020, Belarusian courts convicted 684 individuals “on corruption-related charges.” However, corruption and financial crimes charges are often used by the government for political purposes. Furthermore, the absence of independent judicial and law enforcement systems, the lack of separation of powers, and the lack of independent press make it difficult to gauge the true scale of corruption.

Belarus has anti-corruption legislation consisting of certain provisions of the Criminal Code and Administrative Code as well as the Law on Public Service and the Law on Combating Corruption. The latter is the country’s main anti-corruption document and was adopted in 2015. Belarusian anti-corruption law covers family members of government officials and political figures. In December 2021, Belarus’ parliament adopted in the first reading amendments to its anti-corruption law, seeking to improve prevention and streamline the interaction of government agencies in fighting corruption.

The country’s regulations require addressing any potential conflict of interest of parties seeking to win a government procurement contract. The list of these regulations includes the July 13, 2012 law “On public procurement of goods (works, services),” the December 31, 2013 presidential decree “On conducting procurement procedures,” and the March 15, 2012 Council of Ministers resolution on the procurement of goods (works, services). Government organizations directly engaged in anti-corruption efforts are prosecutors’ offices, internal affairs, state security and state control agencies.

Belarus is party to several international anti-corruption conventions and agreements. The Republic of Belarus has ratified major international anti-corruption treaties, such as the Convention of the Council of Europe 173 on criminal liability for corruption (S 173) (concluded in Strasbourg on 27 January, 1999); the United Nations Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime, signed by Belarus in Palermo on 24 December, 2000, and the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (concluded in New York on 31 October, 2003); and the Civil Law Convention on Corruption (concluded in Strasbourg on 4 November, 1999) (ratified in 2005). Belarus also signed several the intergovernmental agreements to address corruption.

In 2019, the Council of Europe’s (COE) Group of States against Corruption (GRECO) publicly declared Belarus non-compliant with GRECO’s anti-corruption standards. This was GRECO’s first ever declaration of non-compliance. According to the COE, Belarus failed to address 20 out of 24 recommendations made in 2012; had not authorized the publication of the 2012 report or related compliance reports; and was non-responsive since 2017 to requests from GRECO to organize a high-level mission to Belarus. The majority of GRECO’s recommendations related to fundamental anti-corruption requirements, such as strengthening the independence of the judiciary and the prosecutor’s office, as well as increasing the operational autonomy of law enforcement and limiting the immunity protections provided to certain categories of persons. However, the COE contends that limited reporting indicates that corruption is particularly alarming higher up in the government hierarchy and in procurement for state-run enterprises.

According to Transparency International’s 2021 Corruption Perception Index, Belarus fell from 63rd down to 82nd place out of 180 countries in the rankings and received 41 of 100 possible points on its scale, down from 47 in 2020. For comparison in 2021, Poland ranked 42nd, Lithuania 34th, Latvia 37th, Ukraine 122nd, and Russia 136th.

Belgium

9. Corruption

Belgian has extensive anti-bribery laws in place. Bribing foreign officials is a criminal offense in Belgium. Belgium has been a signatory to the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention and is a participating member of the OECD Working Group on Bribery.

Anti-bribery legislation provides for jurisdiction in certain cases over persons (foreign as well as Belgian nationals) who commit bribery offenses outside the territory of Belgium. Various limitations apply, however. For example, if the bribe recipient exercises a public function in an EU member state, Belgian prosecution may not proceed without the formal consent of the other state.

Under Belgian law bribery is considered passive if a government official or employer requests or accepts a benefit for him or herself or for somebody else in exchange for behaving in a certain way. Active bribery is defined as the proposal of a promise or benefit in exchange for undertaking a specific action.

Corruption by public officials carries heavy fines and/or imprisonment between 5 (five) and 10 years. Private individuals face similar fines and slightly shorter prison terms (between six months and two years). The current law not only holds individuals accountable, but also the company for which they work. Recent court cases in Belgium suggest that corruption is most prevalent in government procurement and public works contracting.  American companies have not, however, identified corruption as a barrier to investment.

The responsibility for enforcing corruption laws is shared by the Ministry of Justice through investigating magistrates of the courts, and the Ministry of the Interior through the Belgian federal police, which has jurisdiction over all criminal cases. A special unit, the Central Service for Combating Corruption, has been created for enforcement purposes but continues to lack the necessary staff. Belgium is also an active participant in the Global Forum on Asset Recovery.

The Belgian Employers Federation encourages its members to establish internal codes of conduct aimed at prohibiting bribery. To date, U.S. firms have not identified corruption as an obstacle to FDI.

UN Anticorruption Convention, OECD Convention on Combatting Bribery

Belize

9. Corruption

Belize has anticorruption laws that are seldom enforced.  Under the Prevention of Corruption in Public Life Act, public officials are required to make annual financial disclosures, but there is little adherence and poor enforcement.  The Act criminalizes acts of corruption by public officials and includes measures on the use of office for private gain; code of conduct breaches; the misuse of public funds; and bribery.  This Act also established an Integrity Commission mandated to monitor, prevent, and combat corruption by examining declarations of physical assets and financial positions filed by public officers.  In practice, the office is understaffed and charges are almost never brought against officials.  It is not uncommon for politicians disgraced in corruption scandals to return to government after a short period of time has elapsed. The Money Laundering and Terrorism (Prevention) Act identifies “politically exposed persons” to include family members or close associates of any politician.

The Ministry of Finance issues the Belize Stores Orders and Financial Orders – policies and procedures for government procurement.  The Manual for the Control of Public Finances provides the framework for the registration and use of public funds to procure goods and services. Private companies are neither required to establish internal codes of conduct, ethics, or compliance programs, nor is it common to use them.

In June 2001, the Government of Belize signed the Organization of American States (OAS) Inter-American Convention on Corruption, which calls for periodic reviews.   In December 2016, Belize acceded to the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC) amid public pressure and demonstrations from the teachers’ unions.  The Belizean government continues to be criticized for the lack of political will to fully implement UNCAC.

There are few non-governmental institutions that monitor government activities. The most active, the National Trade Union Congress of Belize (NTUCB), lobbies within narrow labor-related areas.  Environmental NGOs and the Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) often make statements regarding government policy as it affects their respective spheres of activity.  The government does not provide protection to NGOs investigating corruption.

Despite these measures, many businesspeople complain that both major political parties practice bias that creates an unlevel playing field related to businesses seeking licenses, the importation of goods, winning government contracts for procurement of goods and services, and transfer of government land to private owners.  Some middle-class citizens and business owners have complained of government officials, including police, soliciting bribes.

Benin

9. Corruption

Benin has laws aimed at combatting corruption and has made progress combatting the most common forms of corruption, but work remains in rooting it out. The new HCPC is the lead government entity on corruption issues and has the authority to refer corruption cases to court. The HCPC has the authority to combat money laundering, electoral fraud, and economic fraud in the public and private sectors. Benin’s State Audit Office is also responsible for identifying and acting against corruption in the public sector. The CRIET processes cases related to economic crimes, which include corruption. In 2018, the National Assembly approved the lifting of parliamentary immunity of a small number of opposition parliamentarians accused of corruption or embezzlement during their past positions in former governments.

Bribery is illegal and subject to up to 10 years’ imprisonment, but enforcement remains inconsistent.

Beninese procurement law allows for open and closed bid processes. Contracts are often awarded based on government solicitations to short-listed companies with industry-specific expertise, often identified based on companies’ commercial activities conducted in other overseas markets. The government often uses sole sourcing for projects, including for PAG implementation, and in these cases does not publish procurement requests before selecting a vendor. Foreign companies have expressed concerns about unfair treatment, biased consideration, and improper practices specific to the process of selecting short-listed companies.

Benin is a signatory of the UN Anticorruption Convention and the OECD Convention on Combatting Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions.

Bolivia

9. Corruption

Bolivian law stipulates criminal penalties for corruption by officials, but the laws are not often implemented properly.  Governmental lack of transparency, and police and judicial corruption, remain significant problems.  The Ministry of Justice and Transparency and the Prosecutor’s Office are both responsible for combating corruption.  Cases involving allegations of corruption against the president and vice president require congressional approval before prosecutors may initiate legal proceedings, and cases against pro-government public officials are rarely allowed to proceed.  Despite the court ruling that awarding immunity for corruption charges is unconstitutional, their rulings were ignored by the government.

Police corruption remains a significant problem.  There are also reports of widespread corruption in the country’s judiciary.In August 2021, the Interdisciplinary Group of Independent Experts (GIEI), formed from an agreement between the Bolivian government and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, found that the Bolivian government needs to implement profound reforms in its justice system to guarantee that the judiciary and attorney general’s office are not used for political purposes by the government in power, to guarantee due process, and so that preventive detention is only used as a last resort in criminal proceedings.   The 2021 Transparency International corruption perception index ranked Bolivia 128 out of 180 countries and found that Bolivian citizens believe the most corrupt institutions in Bolivia are the judiciary, the police, and executive branch,

Bolivia has laws in place that govern public sector-related contracts (Law 1178 and Supreme Decree 181), including contracts for the acquisition of goods, services, and consulting jobs.  Bribery of public officials is also a criminal offense under Articles 145 and 158 of Bolivia’s Criminal Code.  Laws also exist that provide protection for citizens filing complaints against corruption.

Bolivia signed the UN Anticorruption Convention in December 2003 and ratified it in December 2005.  Bolivia is also party to the OAS Inter-American Convention against Corruption.  Bolivia is not a signatory of the OECD Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials.

Bosnia and Herzegovina

9. Corruption

Corruption remains endemic in many political and economic institutions in Bosnia and Herzegovina and raises the costs and risks of doing business. BiH’s overly complex business registration and licensing process is particularly vulnerable to corruption. The multitude of state, entity, cantonal, and municipal administrations, each with the power to establish laws and regulations affecting business, creates a system that lacks transparency and opens opportunities for corruption. Paying bribes to obtain necessary business licenses and construction permits, or simply to expedite the approval process, occurs regularly. Foreign investors have criticized government and public procurement tenders for a lack of openness and transparency. Public procurement reform, which would establish rules and regulations to close off some of the avenues for corruption in public contracting, has been stalled due to opposition from leading political parties.

Transparency International’s (TI) 2021 Corruption Perception Index ranked BiH 110 out of 180 countries. According to TI, relevant institutions lack the will to actively fight corruption; law enforcement agencies and the judiciary are not effective in the prosecution of corruption cases and are visibly exposed to political pressures or under the outright control of politicians and their patronage networks; and prosecutors complain that citizens generally do not report instances of corruption and do not want to testify in these cases. In 2011, BiH established a state-level agency to coordinate efforts to combat corruption; while officially active, the agency has shown limited results. Nascent efforts to, with U.S. support, establish cantonal-level Anti-Corruption Offices are underway throughout the FBiH, but efforts to undermine their independence and obstruct investigations are widespread.

Corruption has a corrosive impact on both market opportunities overseas for U.S. companies and the broader business climate. Several BiH individuals and one business entity are under OFAC sanctions for destabilizing activities and corruption, while others have been designated by the Department of State under 7031(c) authorities barring their entry to the United States. Most prominent among these is Serb member of the BiH Presidency and President of the SNSD political party Milorad Dodik. Other individuals have been sanctioned for war crimes. Corruption deters foreign investment, stifles economic growth and development, distorts prices, and undermines the rule of law. U.S. companies must carefully assess the business climate and develop an effective compliance program and measures to prevent and detect corruption, including foreign bribery. U.S. individuals and firms should take the time to become familiar with the relevant anticorruption laws of the United States and of BiH at all levels of government in order to properly comply, and where appropriate, seek the advice of legal counsel.

The U.S. government seeks to level the global playing field for U.S. businesses by encouraging other countries to take steps to criminalize their own companies’ acts of corruption, including bribery of foreign public officials, and uphold obligations under relevant international conventions. A U.S. firm that believes a competitor is seeking to use bribery of a foreign public official to secure a contract should bring this to the attention of appropriate U.S. agencies.

While the U.S. Department of Commerce cannot provide legal advice on local laws, the Department’s U.S. and Foreign Commercial Service can provide assistance with navigating the host country’s legal system and obtaining a list of local legal counsel.

The U.S. Department of Commerce offers a number of services to aid U.S. businesses. For example, the U.S. and Foreign Commercial Service can provide services that may assist U.S. companies in conducting due diligence when choosing business partners or agents overseas and provide support for qualified U.S. companies bidding on foreign government contracts. For a list of U.S. Foreign and Commercial Service offices, please visit the Commercial Service website: www.trade.gov/cs 

Alleged corruption by foreign governments or competitors can be brought to the attention of appropriate U.S. government officials, including U.S. Embassy personnel or through the Department of Commerce Trade Compliance Center “Report a Trade Barrier” Website at: https://tcc.export.gov/Report_a_Barrier/index.asp 

Contact at government agency or agencies responsible for combating corruption:

BiH Agency for the Prevention of Corruption and Coordination of the Fight against Corruption
Phone: +387 57 322 540
email: kontakt@apik.ba
www.apik.ba 

Contact at “watchdog” organization (international, regional, local or nongovernmental organization operating in the country/economy that monitors corruption):

Transparency International BiH
Phone: +387 51 216928
Fax: +387 51 216369
email: info@ti-bih.org
www.ti-bih.org 

BiH signed and ratified the UN Anticorruption Convention in October 2006. BiH is also party to the OECD Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions.

Botswana

9. Corruption 

Botswana’s Corruption Perception Index (CPI) has deteriorated significantly, eroding its previously held reputation as the ‘least corrupt country in Africa’.  Transparency International ranks Botswana at 45 out of 180 countries in 2021 falling from 35th place in 2020 with a score of 55 out of 100, a change of negative 5 from the previous year.  The Human Rights Report (HRR) 2020 for Botswana also notes increased media reports of government corruption, mostly related to COVID-19 projects.  The HRR also states that a poll conducted by Transparency International in 2019, indicated that 7 percent of those polled had paid bribes to government officials, jumping from only 1 percent in 2015.  Private sector representatives also note rising corruption levels in government tender procurements.

The major corruption investigation body is the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC).  Anecdotal reports on the DCEC’s effectiveness vary.  The DCEC has embarked on an education campaign to raise public awareness about the cost of corruption and is also working with GoB departments to reform their accountability procedures.  Corruption is punishable by a prison term of up to 10 years, a fine of $50,000, or both.  The GoB has prosecuted high-level officials.  Corruption trials and investigations of some government officials on cases of money laundering, abuse of office, receiving bribes and embezzlement of funds continued during 2020 and are still on-going. Human rights issues reported in the HRR included restrictions on press and internet freedom of expression, interference with freedom of association, child labor including commercial sexual exploitation of children.  On a positive note, while such crimes exist, the GoB officials were reported to be cooperative and responsive to domestic NGO’s views on most subjects and placed no restrictions on domestic and international human rights groups nor did they interfere with their investigations and publishing findings on human rights cases.

The 2000 Proceeds of Serious Crime Act expanded the DCEC’s mandate to include combatting money laundering.  The 2009 Financial Intelligence Act provides a comprehensive legal framework to address money laundering and establishes a financial intelligence agency (FIA).  The FIA, which operates under the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning, cooperates with various institutions, such as Directorate of Public Prosecutions, Botswana Police Service, Bank of Botswana, the Non-Banking Financial Institutions Regulatory Authority, the DCEC, and foreign FIAs to uncover and investigate suspicious financial transactions.  Botswana is a member of the Eastern and Southern Africa Anti-Money Laundering Group, a regional standards-setting body for ensuring appropriate laws, policies, and practices to fight money laundering and the financing of terrorism.  In 2021, Botswana was removed from the FATF grey list on which it had been placed on in October 2018 and was subsequently removed from the EU blacklist.

Botswana is not a party to the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention, but it is a party to the 2005 United Nations Convention against Corruption.

Brazil

9. Corruption

Brazil has laws, regulations, and penalties to combat corruption, but enforcement activities against corruption are inconsistent. Several bills to revise the country’s regulation of the lobbying/government relations industry have been pending before Congress for years. Bribery is illegal, and a bribe by a Brazilian-based company to a foreign government official can result in criminal penalties for individuals and administrative penalties for companies, including fines and potential disqualification from government contracts. A company cannot deduct a bribe to a foreign official from its taxes. While federal government authorities generally investigate allegations of corruption, there are inconsistencies in the level of enforcement among individual states. Corruption is problematic in business dealings with some authorities, particularly at the municipal level. U.S. companies operating in Brazil are subject to the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA).

Brazil signed the UN Convention against Corruption in 2003 and ratified it in 2005. Brazil is a signatory to the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention and a participating member of the OECD Working Group on Bribery. It was one of the founders, along with the United States, of the intergovernmental Open Government Partnership, which seeks to help governments increase transparency.

In 1996, Brazil signed the Inter-American Convention Against Corruption (IACAC), developed within the Organization of American States (OAS). It was incorporated in Brazil by Legislative Decree 152 and went into force in 2002.

In 2020, Brazil ranked 96th out of 180 countries in Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index. The full report can be found at: https://www.transparency.org/en/cpi/2021 

From 2014-2021, the complex federal criminal investigation known as Operação Lava Jato (Operation Carwash) investigated and prosecuted a complex web of public sector corruption, contract fraud, money laundering, and tax evasion stemming from systematic overcharging for government contracts, particularly at parastatal oil company Petrobras. The investigation led to the arrests and convictions of Petrobras executives, oil industry suppliers, executives from Brazil’s largest construction companies, money launderers, former politicians, and political party operators. Appeals of convictions and sentences continue to work their way through the Brazilian court system. On December 25, 2019, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro signed a packet of anti-crime legislation into law, which included several anti-corruption measures. The new measures include regulation of immunity agreements – information provided by a subject in exchange for reduced sentence – which were widely used during Operation Carwash. The legislation also strengthens Brazil’s whistleblower mechanisms, permitting anonymous information about crimes against the public administration and related offenses. Operation Carwash was dissolved in February 2021. In March 2021, the OECD established a working group to monitor anticorruption efforts in Brazil.

In December 2016, Brazilian construction conglomerate Odebrecht and its chemical manufacturing arm Braskem agreed to pay the largest FCPA penalty in U.S. history and plead guilty to charges filed in the United States, Brazil, and Switzerland that alleged the companies paid hundreds of millions of dollars in bribes to government officials around the world. The U.S. Department of Justice case stemmed directly from the Lava Jato investigation and focused on violations of the anti-bribery provisions of the FCPA. Details on the case can be found at: https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/odebrecht-and-braskem-plead-guilty-and-agree-pay-least-35-billion-global-penalties-resolve  

In January 2018, Petrobras settled a class-action lawsuit with investors in U.S. federal court for $3 billion, which was one of the largest securities class action settlements in U.S. history. The investors alleged that Petrobras officials accepted bribes and made decisions that had a negative impact on Petrobras’ share value. In September 2018, the U.S. Department of Justice announced that Petrobras would pay a fine of $853.2 million to settle charges that former executives and directors violated the FCPA through fraudulent accounting used to conceal bribe payments from investors and regulators.

In October 2020, Brazilian meatpacking and animal protein company JBS reached two settlements in the United States to pay fines to settle charges of corruption. The company is part of the J&F Group, which was also a part of the settlements. The group agreed to pay over $155 million in fines for violations of U.S. laws due to misconduct by J&F and failure to maintain accounting records by JBS. Lava Jato investigations also resulted in the arrest of several JBS executives who also signed plea bargains in the 2020 settlements.

Resources to Report Corruption

Secretaria de Cooperação Internacional – Ministério Público Federal

SAF Sul Quadra 04 Conjunto C Bloco “B” Sala 509/512

pgr-internacional@mpf.mp.br 
stpc.dpc@cgu.gov.br 
https://www.gov.br/cgu/pt-br/anticorrupcao 

Transparência BrasilR. Bela Cintra, 409; Sao Paulo, Brasil+55 (11) 3259-6986http://www.transparencia.org.br/contato

Brunei

9. Corruption

Since 1982, Brunei has enforced the Emergency (Prevention of Corruption) Act. In 1984, the Act was renamed the Prevention of Corruption Act (Chapter 131) . The Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) was established in 1982 for the purpose of enforcing the Act. The Prevention of Corruption Act provides specific powers to the ACB for the purpose of investigating accusations of corruption. The Act authorizes ACB to investigate certain offences under other written laws, provided such offences were disclosed during the course of ACB investigation. Corrupt practices are punishable under the Prevention of Corruption Act, which also applies to Brunei citizens abroad. Brunei is a member of the International Association of Anti-Corruption Authorities.

In 2019, Brunei was ranked 35th of 180 countries worldwide in Transparency International’s corruption perception index. U.S. companies do not generally identify corruption as an obstacle to conducting business in Brunei. The level and extent of reported corruption in Brunei is generally low. In January 2020, however, the government convicted two former judges with embezzling large sums from the court system. The sultan has repeatedly stated in public addresses that corruption is unacceptable.

Apart from the Anti-Corruption Bureau, there are no international, regional, local, or nongovernmental organizations operating in Brunei that monitor corruption.

Brunei has signed and ratified the UN Anticorruption Convention.

Resources to Report Corruption

Government Point of Contact:

Name: Hjh Anifa Rafiza Hj Abdul Ghani
Title: Director
Organization: Anti-Corruption Bureau Brunei Darussalam
Address: Old Airport Berakas, BB 3510 Brunei Darussalam
Tel: +673 238-3575
Fax: +673 238-3193
Mobile: +673 8721002 / +673 8130002
Email: info.bmr@acb.gov.bn 

Bulgaria

9. Corruption

Corruption remains a significant issue in Bulgaria. Bulgaria ranks 78th out of 180 countries in Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index for 2021, the worst in the EU.  Human trafficking, and narcotics and contraband smuggling all contribute to corruption.  With the gradual introduction of technologies in public administration, including e-filing and the electronic issuance of certificates, some progress has been made in addressing petty corruption.  However, high-level corruption, particularly in public procurement, remains a serious concern.  The high-profile prosecutions that do take place are often seen as selective or politically motivated and typically end in acquittals after a lengthy judicial process.  The lack of serious convictions against senior officials and the need for reforms in the criminal justice sector remained high on the public agenda throughout 2021 when it took three elections to finally form a government. While the new governing coalition has demonstrated political will to undertake serious reforms, including to reorganize the Anti-Corruption Commission and increase its powers, it is yet to pass new laws and build capacity to secure final convictions for public corruption.

The Anti-Corruption Commission, established in 2018 on the foundations of several previously independent bodies for asset recovery and conflict of interest prevention, has been marred by leadership scandals and an insignificant anti-corruption record. The Anti-Corruption Fund (acf.bg), a civic organization created in 2017, conducts its own investigation of cases suspected either of corruption or conflict of interest among Bulgarian senior politicians and policy makers.

Bulgaria has ratified the Anti-Bribery Convention and is a participating member of the OECD Working Group on Bribery. Bulgaria has also ratified the Council of Europe’s Convention on Laundering, Search, Seizure, and Confiscation of Proceeds of Crime (1994) and Civil Convention on Corruption (1999). Bulgaria has signed and ratified the UN Convention against Corruption (2003); the Additional Protocol to the Council of Europe’s Criminal Law Convention on Corruption; and the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime.  In 2018, the Bulgarian Parliament adopted the Anti-Money Laundering Act, which transposes the 2015 EU Directive on the prevention of the use of the financial system for the purposes of money laundering and terrorist financing.  The new law required registered business groups to declare by May 2019 their beneficial owners. Some companies continue to avoid ownership publication by registering shell entities in tax heavens and offshore zones. Local capacity to detect suspicious and potentially illicit money flows remains low as evidenced by a 2019 case involving millions in money transfers from a Venezuelan state-run oil company through the Bulgarian banking system.

Conflict of interest is legally defined in the Law on Combatting Corruption and Illegal Asset Forfeiture, Article 52: “Conflict of interest exists when the contracting authority, its employees or employees outside its structure who are involved in the preparation or award of the contract or who may influence the outcome of the contract have an interest, which may lead to a benefit and which could be considered to affect their impartiality and independence in connection with the award of the public contract.” Article 81 also defines conflict of interest as “receiving a material benefit” by senior public officials and related persons. In 2021 authorities levied fines on individuals in 22 conflict of interest cases.

Bribery is a criminal act under Bulgarian law both for the giver and for the receiver. Individuals who mediate and facilitate a bribe are also held accountable, but according to observers, enforcement of this provision has been arbitrary as prosecutors have de facto discretion not to charge individuals who opt to cooperate as witnesses.

Burkina Faso

9. Corruption

Transparency International’s 2021 Corruption Perceptions Index indicates that Burkina Faso ranks 78 out of 180 countries. Nearly 82 percent of Burkinabe believe corruption is frequent or very frequent in their country, according to a report released November 2021by the National Network for Anti-corruption Fight (REN-LAC). The percentage of people who thought corruption was frequent or very frequent (82%) has risen steadily since 2019 (76%) and 2018 (67%). The Burkinabe public also believe that the fight against corruption is going in the wrong direction. The report also ranks the most corrupt public services as perceived by the public as (1) municipal police, (2) national police, (3) customs, (4) General-Directorate for Road and Maritime Transports (DGTTM), and (5) gendarmerie. The State Supreme Audit Authority (ASCE-LC) is the leading government anti-corruption body that publishes an annual report documenting financial irregularities, embezzlement, and improper use of public funds in various ministries, government agencies, and state-run companies. In 2018, the ASCE-LC opened at least two high profile corruption investigations against the Ministers of Defense and Infrastructure. The minister of defense was jailed under corruption charges and provisionally released due to health conditions. The Burkinabe government continues to grant access within its own ministries to the non-governmental watchdog REN-LAC, which examines the management of private and public-sector entities and publishes annual reports on corruption levels within the country.

Legislation requires government officials, including the president, lawmakers, ministers, ambassadors, members of the military leadership, judges, and anyone charged with managing state funds, to declare their assets as well as any gifts or donations received while in office. Infractions are punishable by a maximum jail term of 20 years and fines of up to USD 41,670. In May 2020, former Minister of Defense, Jean-Claude Bouda, was arrested on “money laundering” and “illicit enrichment” charges following a complaint by the National Anti-Corruption Network. In June 2021, State Prosecutor Harouna Yoda announced that the Deputy Director General of Customs, William Alassane Kaboré, was placed under “judicial control,” for acts of illicit enrichment and money laundering amounting to 1.3 billion CFA (USD 2.2 million). Additionally, investigations are underway on the mayor of Ouagadougou and some magistrates who allegedly tried to bury this case.

One of the main governmental bodies for fighting official corruption is the Superior Authority of State Control (ASCE), an entity under the authority of the Prime Minister. ASCE has the authority to investigate ethics violations and mismanagement of public funds in the public sector, including civil service employees, local and public authorities, state-owned companies, and all national organizations involved with public service missions. ASCE publishes an annual report of activities, which provides details on its investigations and issues recommendations on how to resolve them. Many of its findings are followed by judicial action.

The Cour des Comptes (Court of Audit) is another institution that participates in the control of the execution of the annual budget. It draws up an annual report on the execution of the annual budget. Every year, it produces a public report, including the observations of all its audits, which is submitted to the President of Burkina Faso. It also draws up a general report for the President of Faso on the activity, management, and results of the companies it audits on a bi-annual basis.

The Autorité de Régulation de la Commande Publique (ARCOP), established in July 2008, is the regulatory oversight body that ensures fairness in the procurement process by monitoring the execution of all government contracts. ARCOP may impose sanctions, initiate lawsuits, and publish the names of fraudulent or delinquent businesses. It also educates communities benefiting from public investment monies to take a more active part in monitoring contractors. ARCOP works with the media to strengthen journalists’ capacity to investigate suspected fraud cases. Since 2012, the media has noticeably increased its coverage of high-profile corruption cases.

The Reseau National de Lutte Contre la Corruption (REN-LAC)’s annual state of corruption report has led to a wide range of anti-corruption initiatives and tools. REN-LAC has a 24-hour hotline that allows it to gather information on alleged corrupt practices anonymously reported by citizens. African Parliamentarians’ Network against Corruption also has a local chapter in Burkina Faso and cooperates with REN-LAC. To put an end to tax fraud, the government passed into law Article 17 of the November 21, 2013, Law No. 037-2013/AN of the 2014 Budget Law, which called for standardized invoices (Facture Normalisée) in commercial transactions. The Burkina Faso Chamber of Commerce will help facilitate its implementations. This provision however only became operational in early 2022.

As a member of the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU), Burkina Faso has agreed to enforce a regional law against money laundering and has issued a national law against money laundering and financial crimes.

Burkina Faso has taken steps to fully adopt regional and international anti-corruption frameworks, and the country ratified the UN Convention against Corruption in October 2006.

According to World Bank rating for control of corruption, Burkina Faso has improved steadily since 2013 and currently ranks above the regional average.

Burma

9. Corruption

Although the pre-coup civilian government made some progress in addressing corruption, including opening — with U.S. support — two new Anti-Corruption Commission branch offices in November 2020, law enforcement and judicial institutions do not have the independence or capacity to be effective in the fight against corruption under the new military regime.  Corruption is rampant within the military, and the post-coup military regime appointed new members to the Anti-Corruption Commission. The military regime has used the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) to investigate politically motivated corruption charges, including against deposed State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi and deposed President Win Myint. Business leaders whom the regime believes are not adequately supportive of the regime have been detained and charged with corruption and/or tax evasion.

In 2018, the government amended its anti-corruption law to give the ACC authority to scrutinize government procurements. Family members of politicians can also be prosecuted under the anti-corruption law, though office holders face higher penalties.

Some companies are legally required to have compliance programs to detect and prevent bribery of government officials. Under Burma’s Anti-Money Laundering Law, law firms, banks, and companies operating in the insurance and gemstone sectors are required to appoint compliance officers and conduct heightened due diligence on certain customers.

Burma does not have laws to counter conflicts-of-interest in awarding contracts or government procurement. However, prior to the coup the President’s office issued orders to prevent conflicts-of-interest for construction contracts and several ministries had put in place internal rules to avoid conflicts-of-interest in awarding tenders. In the private sector, some of Burma’s largest companies have developed anti-corruption policies, which they have published on-line.

Burma signed the UN Anticorruption Convention in 2005 and ratified it on December 20, 2012.

Burma is not party to the OECD Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions.

The military regime does not provide protection to NGOs investigating corruption.

Burundi

9. Corruption

The government has an anti-corruption law as well as constitutional provisions on corruption, although these have not been implemented.  Cabinet members, parliamentarians, and officials appointed by presidential decree have immunity from prosecution on corruption charges, insulating them from accountability.  Laws designed to combat corruption do not extend to family members of officials or to political parties.

Article 60 of the April 2016 law “Bearing Measures for the Prevention and Punishment of Corruption and Related Offenses” regulates conflicts of interest, including in awarding government procurement.  Burundian legislation criminalizes bribery of public officials, but there is no specific requirement for private companies to establish internal codes of conduct.

Burundi is a signatory to the UN Anti-Corruption Convention and the OECD Convention on Combating Bribery.  Burundi has also been a member of the East African Anti-Corruption Authority since joining the EAC in 2007.  The country does not provide protections to NGOs involved in investigating corruption.

A number of U.S. firms have noted corruption is an obstacle to direct investment in Burundi.  Corruption is most pervasive in the award of licenses and concessions, which takes place in a non-transparent environment with frequent allegations of bribery and cronyism.  Many customs officials are also reportedly corrupt, regularly extorting bribes from exporters and importers.

In April 2021, the National Assembly approved a law disbanding the anti-corruption court and the anti-corruption police unit.  The anti-corruption court’s authorities were transferred to the office of the attorney general and courts of appeals and the anticorruption police unit’s authorities were delegated to the judicial police.

President Ndayishimiye continued with anti-corruption initiatives including dismissing high-level officials as well as hundreds of other low-level officials accused of malfeasance.  In May 2021, President Ndayishimiye fired the Minister of Trade, Transport, Industry and Tourism over acts that risked compromising the country’s economy and tarnishing its image, reportedly in connection with the improper disposition of state property.  He also fired the succeeding Minister of Trade, Transport, Industry and Tourism for tarnishing the image of the country after it came to light that she included family members and friends in official delegations abroad.

Cabo Verde

9. Corruption

Cabo Verde has signed and ratified the UN Convention against Corruption. In Transparency International’s 2021 Corruption Perception Index (CPI), Cabo Verde scored 58 points, ranked 39 in the world and second in the sub-Saharan Africa region. Under Cabo Verdean law, giving or accepting a bribe is a criminal act punishable by up to eight years in prison. The Penal Code details punishments for crimes committed by an official during the exercise of public duties. The Penal Code and the Electoral Code address corruption in the context of electoral crimes, particularly the offering of advantages to voters by political parties or other actors involved in elections.

Cabo Verde’s Public Procurement Code requires that public officials involved in a public procurement process provide written disclosure of any personal interest resulting from a special connection to a bidder or potential bidder and recuse themselves from participation in the process.

In 2020, the Cabo Verdean government provided for the creation of the Corruption Prevention Council, an administrative body that will lead corruption prevention efforts in the country. In early 2022, the Prime Minister announced that the government would soon form the Council. Other institutions active in combating corruption include the Judicial Police, the Prosecuting Counsel, and the courts.

Cambodia

9. Corruption

Corruption in Cambodia is endemic and widespread. An increase in foreign investment from investors willing to engage in corrupt practices, combined with sometimes opaque official and unofficial investment processes, further drives the overall rise in corruption. In its Global Competitiveness Report 2019, the World Economic Forum ranked Cambodia 134th out of 141 countries for incidence of corruption. Transparency International’s 2021 Corruption Perception index ranked Cambodia 157 of 180 countries globally, the lowest ranking among ASEAN member states.

Those engaged in business have identified corruption, particularly within the judiciary, customs services, and tax authorities, as one of the greatest deterrents to investment in Cambodia. Foreign investors from countries that overlook or encourage bribery have significant advantages over foreign investors from countries that criminalize such activity.  In light of these concerns, on November 10, 2021, the U.S. Departments of State, Treasury, and Commerce issued a business advisory to caution U.S. businesses currently operating in, or considering operating, in Cambodia to be mindful of interactions with entities involved in corrupt business practices, criminal activities, and human rights abuses.

Cambodia adopted an Anti-Corruption Law in 2010 to combat corruption by criminalizing bribery, abuse of office, extortion, facilitation payments, and accepting bribes in the form of

donations or promises. Under the law, all civil servants must also declare their financial assets to the government every two years. Cambodia’s Anti-Corruption Unit (ACU), established the same year, has investigative powers and a mandate to provide education and training to government institutions and the public on anti-corruption compliance. Since its formation, the ACU has launched a few high-profile prosecutions against public officials, including members of the police and judiciary, and has tackled the issue of ghost workers in the government, in which salaries are collected for non-existent employees.

The ACU, in collaboration with the private sector, has also established guidelines encouraging companies to create internal codes of conduct prohibiting bribery and corrupt practices. Companies can sign an MOU with the ACU pledging to operate corruption-free and to cooperate on anti-corruption efforts. Since the program started in 2015, more than 80 private companies have signed an MOU with the ACU. In 2018, the ACU completed a first draft of a code of conduct for public officials, which has not yet been finalized.

Despite the passage of the Anti-Corruption Law and creation of the ACU, enforcement remains weak. Local and foreign businesses report that they must often make informal payments to expedite business transactions. Since 2013, Cambodia has published the official fees for public services, but the practice of paying additional fees remains common.

Cambodia ratified the UN Convention against Corruption in 2007 and endorsed the Action Plan of the Asian Development Bank / OECD Anti-Corruption Initiative for Asia and the Pacific in 2003. Cambodia is not a party to the OECD Convention on Combating Bribery.

Cameroon

9. Corruption

Corruption is punishable under sections 134 and 134 (a) of the Pena1 Code of Cameroon. Despite these rules, corruption remains endemic in the country. In 2021, Cameroon ranked 144 of 180 in Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index. Anti-corruption laws are applicable to all citizens and institutions throughout the national territory. Article 66 of the constitution requires civil servants and elected officials to declare their assets and property at the beginning and at the end of their tenure of office, but it has never been enforced, since the adoption of the constitution in 1996. Similarly, the Civil Service Statute contains provisions and the procedures to be followed in the event of a conflict of interest. These provisions are enshrined in Law No. 003/2006 of April 25, 2006, which also created the Commission for the declaration of property and assets. Other codes of conduct in different public institutions have created gift registers to prevent bribes, but they are not implemented. In terms of public contracts, Decree No. 2018/0001/PM of January 5, 2018 created a portal called Cameroon Online E-procurement System (Coleps) for the digitalization, including application processing, award, and monitoring and evaluation of all tenders. Since the launch of the portal, technical issues and disregard by civil servants have curbed its effectiveness, leading to the parallel continuation of the bribe-prone paper-based procurement system. U.S. firms indicate that corruption is most pervasive in government procurement, award of licenses or concessions, transfers, performance requirements, dispute settlement, regulatory system, customs, and taxation.

Since its inception in 2006 (Presidential Decree No. 2006/088 of March 11, 2006), the National Anti-Corruption Commission (CONAC) has encouraged private companies to establish internal codes of conduct and ethics committees to review practices. U.S. Embassy Yaoundé officials are unaware of how many companies have instituted either program. Bribery of government officials remains common. While some companies use internal controls to detect and prevent such bribery, U.S. Embassy Yaoundé officials are unaware of how widespread these internal controls are.

Cameroon is signatory to the United Nations and the African Union anti-corruption initiatives, but the international initiatives have limited practical effects on the enforcement of laws in the country. U.S. Embassy Yaoundé officials are unaware of any NGO’s involvement in investigating corruption. The government prefers the National Anti-Corruption Commission (CONAC) to investigate potential cases.  U.S. companies cite corruption as among the top obstacles to investing in Cameroon and report its being most pervasive in government procurement, the award of licenses and concessions, customs, and taxation.

Canada

9. Corruption

Corruption in Canada is low and similar to that found in the United States. Corruption is not an obstacle to foreign investment. Canada is a party to the UN Convention Against Corruption, the OECD Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions, and the Inter-American Convention Against Corruption.

Canada’s Criminal Code prohibits corruption, bribery, influence peddling, extortion, and abuse of office. The Corruption of Foreign Public Officials Act prohibits individuals and businesses from bribing foreign government officials to obtain influence and prohibits destruction or falsification of books and records to conceal corrupt payments. The law has extended jurisdiction that permits Canadian courts to prosecute corruption committed by Canadian companies and individuals abroad. Canada’s anti-corruption legislation is vigorously enforced, and companies and officials guilty of violating Canadian law are effectively investigated, prosecuted, and convicted of corruption-related crimes. In March 2014, Public Works and Government Services Canada (now Public Services and Procurement Canada, or PSPC) revised its Integrity Framework for government procurement to ban companies or their foreign affiliates for 10 years from winning government contracts if they have been convicted of corruption. In August 2015, the Canadian government revised the framework to allow suppliers to apply to have their ineligibility reduced to five years where the causes of conduct are addressed and no longer penalizes a supplier for the actions of an affiliate in which it was not involved. PSPC has a Code of Conduct for Procurement, which counters conflict-of-interest in awarding contracts. Canadian firms operating abroad must declare whether they or an affiliate are under charge or have been convicted under Canada’s anti-corruption laws during the past five years to receive assistance from the Trade Commissioner Service.

Chad

9. Corruption

Foreign investors should be aware that corruption is endemic in Chad and constitutes a significant deterrent to nearly all economic activity, including foreign direct investment. Corruption is pervasive in many areas of government, including procurement, the awarding of licenses or concessions, dispute settlement, regulation enforcement, customs, and taxation.

Chad is not a signatory country of the UN Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC). Chad is not a party to the OECD Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions (“the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention”).

There is an independent Court of Auditors (Cour des Comptes), equivalent to a supreme audit institution (SAI), to enhance independent oversight of government decisions, although its members are nominated by presidential decree. Concurrently, the GOC created a General Inspectorate for State Control within the Presidency to oversee government accountability. No reports have been published, however. In addition to these bodies, prior to the April 2021 dissolution of the National Assembly, its Finance Committee had carried out verifications of the GOC’s annual financial statement though typically did not make audits publicly available. The creation of the transitional legislature’s (CNT) Commission Controle Budget Automone is currently expected to carry out a similar responsibility, though, to date, they have not published any verifications of the GOC’s annual financial statement.

A February 2000 anti-corruption law stipulates penalties for corruption. The law does not single out family members and political parties. As in many other developing countries, weak institutional capacity, a widespread and largely accepted practice of rent seeking, low salaries for most civil servants, judicial employees, and law enforcement officials, have contributed to pervasive corruption in Chad. According to Freedom House’s Freedom in the World 2021 report, selective prosecutions of high-level officials were widely viewed as efforts to discredit those posing a threat to the former president or his allies. The report stated that security forces routinely stopped citizens on pretexts of minor traffic violations to extort money or confiscate goods.

To fight corruption and embezzlement, the Ministry of Finance and Budget set up a toll-free number (700), though it has not been working since 2018, after less than a full calendar year of connectivity. According to the Minister of Finance and Budget, the toll-free number 700 was designed to allow members of the public to alert the Inspectorate General of Finance to denounce any member of government who directly or indirectly solicits a bribe related their official duties, such as regarding administrative documents or tax payments. As of April 2022, the ministry confirms that they rely on postal mail for the lodging of these complaints and have no clear date for reestablishment of the compliant line. In addition to an unworking complaint line, there are no specific laws to counter conflict of interest, nor does the GOC require or encourage private companies to establish internal codes of conduct prohibiting bribery of public officials.

Local NGO Center for Studies and Research on Governance, Extractive Industries, and Sustainable Development (CERGIED), formerly GRAMP-TC (Groupe Alternatif de Recherche et de Monitoring de Petrole – Tchad), tracks government expenditures of oil revenue. There are no indications that anti-corruption laws are enforced differently for foreign investors than for Chadian citizens. There is no specific protection for NGOs involved in investigating corruption, which, to avoid repercussions, results in self-censorship of complaints about corrupt officials.

Chile

9. Corruption

Chile applies, in a non-discriminatory manner, various laws to combat corruption of public officials, including the 2009 Transparency Law that mandated disclosure of public information related to all areas of government and created an autonomous Transparency Council in charge of overseeing its application. Subsequent amendments expanded the number of public trust positions required to release financial disclosure, mandated disclosure in greater detail, and allowed for stronger penalties for noncompliance.

In March 2020, the administration of former President Piñera proposed new legislation aimed at combatting corruption, as well as economic and electoral crimes. The four new pieces of legislation, part of the Piñera administration’s “anti-abuse agenda” launched in December 2019 in response to societal demands to increase penalties for white-collar crimes, seeks to strengthen enforcement and increase penalties for collusion among firms; increase penalties for insider trading; provide protections for whistleblowers seeking to expose state corruption; and expand the statute of limitations for electoral crimes.

Anti-corruption laws, in particular mandatory asset disclosure, do extend to family members of officials. Political parties are subject to laws that limit campaign financing and require transparency in party governance and contributions to parties and campaigns.

Regarding government procurement, the website of ChileCompra (central public procurement agency) allows users to anonymously report irregularities in procurement. There is a decree that defines sanctions for public officials who do not adequately justify direct contracts. The Corporate Criminal Liability Law provides that corporate entities can have their compliance programs certified. Chile’s Securities and Insurance Superintendence (SVS) authorizes a group of local firms to review companies’ compliance programs and certify them as sufficient. Certifying firms are listed on the SVS website.

Private companies have increasingly incorporated internal control measures, as well as ethics committees as part of their corporate governance, and compliance management sections. Additionally, Chile Transparente (Chilean branch of Transparency International) developed a Corruption Prevention System to provide assistance to private firms to facilitate their compliance with the Corporate Criminal Liability Law.

Chile signed and ratified the Organization of American States (OAS) Convention against Corruption. The country also ratified the UN Anticorruption Convention on September 13, 2006. Chile is also an active member of the Open Government Partnership (OGP) and, as an OECD member, adopted the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention.

NGOs that investigate corruption operate in a free and adequately protected manner.

U.S. firms have not identified corruption as an obstacle to FDI.

China

9. Corruption

Since 2012, China has undergone a large-scale anti-corruption campaign, with investigations reaching into all sectors of the government, military, and economy. CCP General Secretary Xi labeled endemic corruption an “existential threat” to the very survival of the Party.  In 2018, the CCP restructured its Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) to become a state organ, calling the new body the National Supervisory Commission-Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (NSC-CCDI). The NSC-CCDI wields the power to investigate any public official.  From 2012 to 2021, the NSC-CCDI claimed it investigated roughly four million cases. In the first three quarters of 2021, the NSC-CCDI investigated 470,000 cases and disciplined 414,000 individuals, of whom 22 were at or above the provincial or ministerial level. Since 2014, the PRC’s overseas fugitive-hunting campaign, called “Operation Skynet,” has led to the capture of more than 9,500 fugitives suspected of corruption who were living in other countries, including over 2,200 CCP members and government employees. In most cases, the PRC did not notify host countries of these operations. In 2021, the government reported apprehending 1,273 alleged fugitives and recovering approximately USD 2.64 billion through this program.

In March 2021, the CCP Amendment 11 to the Criminal Law, which increased the maximum punishment for acts of corruption committed by private entities to life imprisonment, from the previous maximum of 15-year imprisonment, took effect. In June 2020 the CCP passed a law on Administrative Discipline for Public Officials, continuing efforts to strengthen supervision over individuals working in the public sector. The law enumerates targeted illicit activities such as bribery and misuse of public funds or assets for personal gain. Anecdotal information suggests anti-corruption measures are applied inconsistently and discretionarily.  For example, to fight commercial corruption in the medical sector, the health authorities issued “blacklists” of firms and agents involved in commercial bribery, including several foreign companies. While central government leadership has welcomed increased public participation in reporting suspected corruption at lower levels, direct criticism of central leadership or policies remains off-limits and is seen as an existential threat to China’s political and social stability. China ratified the United Nations Convention against Corruption in 2005 and participates in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) and OECD anti-corruption initiatives. China has not signed the OECD Convention on Combating Bribery, although PRC officials have expressed interest in participating in the OECD Working Group on Bribery as an observer. Corruption Investigations are led by government entities, and civil society has a limited scope in investigating corruption beyond reporting suspected corruption to central authorities.

Liaoning set up a provincial watchdog, known as the “Liaoning Business Environment Development Department” to inspect government disciplines and provide a mechanism for the public to report corruption and misbehaviors through a “government service platform.” In 2021, Liaoning reported handling 8,091 cases and recovering approximately USD 290 million in ill-gotten gains by government agencies and SOEs through this program.

Colombia

9. Corruption

Corruption, and the perception of it, is a serious obstacle for companies operating or planning to invest in Colombia. Analyses of the business environment, such as the WEF Global Competitiveness Index, consistently cite corruption as a problematic factor, along with high tax rates, inadequate infrastructure, and inefficient government bureaucracy. Transparency International’s latest “Corruption Perceptions Index” ranked Colombia 87nd out of 180 countries assessed and assigned it a score of 39/100, a slight improvement from the year prior. Customs, taxation, and public works contracts are commonly-cited areas where corruption exist and there are multiple corruption convictions and investigations involving the highest levels of government, including former Supreme Court Justices, ministers, and regional governors.

Colombia has adopted the OECD Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials and is a member of the OECD Anti-Bribery Committee. It also passed a domestic anti-bribery law in 2016. In 2021, Colombia implemented a law that increased private sector responsibilities to implement internal prevention procedures and liability for participating in acts of corruption related to public contracting. Colombia has signed and ratified the UN Anticorruption Convention and adopted the OAS Convention against Corruption. The CTPA protects the integrity of procurement practices and criminalizes both offering and soliciting bribes to/from public officials. It requires both countries to make all laws, regulations, and procedures regarding any matter under the CTPA publicly available. Both countries must also establish procedures for reviews and appeals by any entities affected by actions, rulings, measures, or procedures under the CTPA.

Costa Rica

9. Corruption

Costa Rica has laws, regulations, and penalties to combat corruption. Though the resources available to enforce those laws are limited, Costa Rica’s institutional framework is strong, such that those cases that are prosecuted are generally perceived as legitimate. Anti-corruption laws extend to family members of officials, contemplate conflict-of-interest in both procurement and contract award, and penalize bribery by local businessmen of both local and foreign government officials. Public officials convicted of receiving bribes are subject to prison sentences up to ten years, according to the Costa Rican Criminal Code (Articles 347-360). Entrepreneurs may not deduct the costs of bribes or any other criminal activity as business expenses. In recent decades, Costa Rica saw several publicized cases of firms prosecuted under the terms of the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

Costa Rica ratified the Inter-American Convention Against Corruption in 1997. This initiative of the OECD and the Organization of American States (OAS) obligates subscribing nations to implement criminal sanctions for corruption and implies a series of follow up actions: http://www.oas.org/juridico/english/cri.htm . Costa Rica also ratified the UN Anti-Corruption Convention in March 2007, has been a member of the Open Government Partnership (OGP) since 2012, and as of July 2017 is a party to the OECD Convention on Combatting Bribery of Foreign Public Officials.

The Costa Rican government has encouraged civil society interest in good governance, open government and fiscal transparency, with a number of NGO’s operating unimpeded in this space. While U.S. firms do not identify corruption as a major obstacle to doing business in Costa Rica, some have made allegations of corruption in the administration of public tenders and in approvals or timely processing of permits. Developers of tourism facilities periodically cite municipal-level corruption as a problem when attempting to gain a concession to build and operate in the restricted maritime zone.

For further material on anti-bribery and corruption in Costa Rica, see the 2020 OECD study: https://www.oecd.org/countries/costarica/costa-rica-has-improved-its-foreign-bribery-legislation-but-must-strengthen-enforcement-and-close-legal-loopholes.htm 

Also on the OECD website, information relating to Costa Rica’s membership in the OECD anti-bribery convention: https://www.oecd.org/countries/costarica/costarica-oecdanti-briberyconvention.htm 

Côte d’Ivoire

9. Corruption

Many companies cite corruption as the most significant obstacle to investment.  Corruption in many forms is deeply ingrained in public- and private-sector practices and remains a serious impediment to investment and economic growth in CDI.  It has the greatest impact on judicial proceedings, contract awards, customs, and tax issues.  Lack of transparency and the government’s failure to follow its own tendering procedures in the awarding of contracts lead businesses to conclude bribery was involved.  Businesses have reported encountering corruption at every level of the civil service, with some judges appearing to base their decisions on bribes. Clearance of goods at the ports often requires substantial “commissions.”  The demand for bribes can mean that containers stay at the Port of Abidjan for months, incurring substantial demurrage charges, despite companies having the proper paperwork.

In 2013, the Ivoirian government issued Executive Order number 2013-660 related to preventing and combatting corruption.  The High Authority for Good Governance serves as the government’s anti-corruption authority.  Its mandate includes raising awareness about corruption, investigating corruption in the public and private sectors, and collecting mandated asset disclosures from certain public officials (e.g., the president, ministers, and mayors) upon entering and leaving office.  The High Authority for Good Governance, however, does not have a mandate to prosecute; it must refer cases to the Attorney General who decides whether to take up those cases.  The country’s financial intelligence office, CENTIF, has broad authority to investigate suspicious financial transactions, including those of government officials.

Despite the establishment of these bodies and credible allegations of widespread corruption, there have been few charges filed, and few prosecutions and judgments against prominent people for corruption.  The domestic business community generally assesses that these watchdog agencies lack the power and/or will to combat corruption effectively.  In April 2021, the government formally added Good Governance and Anti-Corruption to the title and portfolio of the Ministry of Capacity Building.

Côte d’Ivoire ratified the UN Anti-Corruption Convention, but the country is not a signatory to the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention (which is open to non-OECD members).  In 2016, Côte d’Ivoire joined the Partnership on Illicit Finance, which obliges it to develop an action plan to combat corruption.

Under the Ivoirian Penal Code, a bribe by a local company to a foreign official is a criminal act. Some private companies use compliance programs or measures to prevent bribery of government officials.  U.S. firms underscore to their Ivoirian counterparts that they are subject to the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA).  Anti-corruption laws extend to family members of officials and to political parties.  The country’s Code of Public Procurement No. 259 and the associated WAEMU directives cover conflicts-of-interest in awarding contracts or government procurement.

There are no special protections for NGOs involved in investigating corruption.  Whistleblower protections are also weak.

Resources to Report Corruption

Inspector General of Finance
(Brigade de Lutte Contre la Corruption)
Mr. Lassina Sylla
Inspector General
TELEPHONE: +225 20212000/2252 9797
FAX: +225 20211082/2252 9798
HOTLINE: +225 8000 0380
http://www.igf.finances.gouv.ci/
info@igf.finances.gouv.ci

High Authority for Good Governance
(Haute Autorité pour la Bonne Gouvernance)
Mr. N’Golo Coulibaly
President
TELEPHONE: +225 272 2479 5000
FAX: +225 2247 8261
https://habg.ci/
Email: info@habg.ci

Police Anti-Racketeering Unit
(Unité de Lutte Contre le Racket –ULCR)
Mr. Alain Oura
Unit Commander
TELEPHONE: +225 272 244 9256
info@ulcr.ci

Social Justice
(Initiative pour la Justice Sociale, la Transparence et la Bonne Gouvernance en Côte d’Ivoire)
Ananeraie face pharmacie Mamie Adjoua
Abidjan
TELEPHONE:  +225 272 177 6373
socialjustice.ci@gmail.com

Croatia

9. Corruption

Croatia has a suitable legal framework, including laws and penalties, to combat corruption.  The Criminal Code and the Criminal Procedure Act define the tools and sanctions available to the investigative authorities to fight corruption and both acts provide for asset seizure and forfeiture.  In terms of a corruption case, where the defendant has assets that are determined to be disproportionate to his/her lawful income, it is presumed by law that the defendant’s property was acquired through criminal means. In such cases, the onus is on the defendant to prove the legal origin of the assets in question.  Financial gain, if it is in possession of a third party in such cases can also be confiscated if it is determined the gain was not acquired in good faith. However, the good faith principle does not apply to a spouse, relatives, or family members.  Croatian laws and provisions regarding corruption apply equally to domestic and foreign investors, to public officials, their family members and political parties.  The Croatian Criminal Code covers such acts as trading in influence, abuse of official functions, bribery in the private sector, embezzlement of private property, money laundering, concealment and obstruction of justice.  The Act on the Office for the Suppression of Corruption and Organized Crime provides broad authority to prosecute tax fraud linked to organized crime and corruption cases.

The Croatian Parliament adopted a new Anti-Corruption Strategy for 2021-2030 to strengthen existing anti-corruption administrative and legal mechanisms. It also aims to identify new, systemic solutions to raise awareness of the harmful effects of corruption, increase citizen involvement, and utilize civil society and the media as indispensable institutional partners to prevent and fight corruption. Croatian prosecutors have secured corruption convictions and launched investigations against a number of high-level former government officials, former ministers, other high-ranking officials, and senior managers from state-owned enterprises, although many such convictions have later been overturned.

The Law on Public Procurement is harmonized with EU legislation and prescribes transparency and fairness for all public procurement activities.  Government officials use public speeches to encourage ethical business.  The Croatian Chamber of Economy created a Code of Business Ethics which it encourages all companies in Croatia to abide by, but it is not mandatory. The Code can be found in Croatian at:   https://www.hgk.hr/documents/kodeksposlovneetikehrweb581354cae65c8.pdf .

Additional laws for the suppression of corruption include: the State Attorney’s Office Act; the Public Procurement Act; the Act on Procedure for Forfeiture of Assets Attained Through Criminal Acts and Misdemeanors; the Budget Act; the Conflict of Interest Prevention Act; the Corporate Criminal Liability Act; the Money Laundering Prevention Act; the Witness Protection Act; the Personal Data Protection Act; the Right to Access Information Act; and the Act on Civil Services. Other regulations include the Code of Ethics for Civil Servants and the Code of Judicial Ethics. Whistleblowers are protected by the Law on the Protection of Irregularities, as well as by provisions in the Labor Law and the Civil Servants Act.

Croatia has requested to join the OECD Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions. Croatia is a member and currently chairs the Group of States Against Corruption (GRECO), a peer monitoring organization that allows members to assess anticorruption efforts on a continuing basis.  Croatia has been a member of INTERPOL since 1992.  Croatia cooperates regionally through the Southeast European Co-operative Initiative (SECI), the Southeast Europe Police Chiefs Association (SEPCA), and the Regional Anti-Corruption Initiative (RAI).  Croatia is a member of Eurojust, the EU’s Judicial Cooperation Unit, and is a signatory to the UN Convention Against Corruption.

Croatian legislation provides protection for NGOs involved in investigating or drawing attention to corruption.  GONG, a non-partisan citizens’ organization founded in 1997, which also acts as a government watchdog, monitors election processes, educates citizens about their rights and duties, encourages communication between citizens and their elected representatives, promotes transparency within public services, manages public advocacy campaigns, and assists citizens in self-organizing initiatives.  A new anti-corruption association, Udruga Pomak, was formed by a group of prominent whistleblowers to advocate for greater whistleblower protections.  Even though the law provides for the protection of whistleblowers, in practice there are still issues.

The business community has identified corruption in the healthcare and construction sectors, as well as lack of transparency in the public procurement process as obstacles to foreign investment.

Cyprus

9. Corruption

REPUBLIC OF CYPRUS

Corruption continues to undermine growth and investment in the ROC, despite the existence of a strong-anti corruption framework. Ninety-five percent of Cypriots think the problem of corruption is widespread, compared to an average of 71 percent in the EU, according to a Eurobarometer survey on corruption conducted by the European Commission in December 2019. In the same survey, 60 percent of Cypriots said they were personally affected by corruption in their daily life, compared to an average of just 26 across the EU. Perhaps even more alarmingly, 69 percent of Cypriots said they thought the level corruption had increased in the past three years, against 42 percent in the EU, who thought the same for their countries. Cypriots put political parties at the top of their list of groups they thought perpetrated corruption (at 63 percent), followed by the healthcare system (59 percent), the police/customs (53 percent), and officials awarding public tenders (52 percent). Corruption, both in the public and private sectors, constitutes a criminal offense. Under the Constitution, the Auditor General controls all government disbursements and receipts and has the right to inspect all accounts on behalf of the Republic, and fear of the Auditor General’s scrutiny is widespread. Government officials sometimes manage procurement efforts with greater concern for the Auditor General than for getting the best outcome for the taxpayer. Private sector concerns focus on the inertia in the system, as reflected in the Auditor General’s annual reports, listing hundreds of alleged incidents of corruption and mismanagement in public administration that usually remain unpunished or unrectified.

Transparency International, the global anti-corruption watchdog, ranked Cyprus 52nd out of 180 countries in its 2021 Corruption Perception Index – from 42nd the year before. Disagreements between the Berlin-based headquarters of Transparency International and its Cypriot division in 2017 led to the dis-accreditation of the latter in 2017 and the launch of a successor organization on the island called the Cyprus Integrity Forum (contact details follow).

GAN Integrity, a business anti-corruption portal with offices in the United States and Denmark, released a report on corruption in Cyprus April 2018 noting the following: “Although Cyprus is generally free from corruption, high-profile corruption cases in recent years have highlighted the presence of corruption risks in the Cypriot banking sector, public procurement, and land administration sector. Businesses may encounter demands for irregular payments, but the government has established a strong legal framework to combat corruption and generally implements it effectively. Bribery, facilitation payments and giving or receiving gifts are criminal offenses under Cypriot law. The government has a strong anti-corruption framework and has developed effective e-governance systems (the Point of Single Contact and the e-Government Gateway project) to assist businesses.” The report can be accessed at: https://www.ganintegrity.com/portal/country-profiles/cyprus/ .

Cyprus cooperates closely with EU and other international authorities to fight corruption and provide mutual assistance in criminal investigations. Cyprus ratified the European Convention on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters. Cyprus also uses the foreign Tribunal Evidence Law, Chapter 12, to execute requests from other countries for obtaining evidence in Cyprus in criminal matters. Additionally, Cyprus is an active participant in the Council of Europe’s Multidisciplinary Group on Corruption. Cyprus signed and ratified the Criminal Law Convention on Corruption and has joined the Group of States against Corruption in the Council of Europe (GRECO). GRECO’s second compliance report on Cyprus, released November 17, 2020, is available at: https://www.coe.int/en/web/greco/evaluations/cyprus .

Cyprus is also a member of the UN Anticorruption Convention but it is not a member of the OECD Convention on Combating Bribery.

Czechia

9. Corruption  

Current law criminalizes both payment and receipt of bribes, regardless of the perpetrator’s nationality.  Prison sentences for bribery or abuse of power can be as high as 12 years for officials.  There have been several successful cases prosecuting corruption, though some experts have noted proceedings can be lengthy and subject to delays.  The National Center for Organized Crime (NCOZ) is primarily responsible for investigating high-level corruption cases, however some experts have raised concerns about cumbersome procedural requirements.  Anti-corruption laws authorize seizures of proceeds or instruments of crime and apply equally to Czech and foreign investors.

Czech law obliges legislators, members of the cabinet, and other selected public officials to declare their assets annually.  Summarized declarations are available online and complete declarations are available upon request from the Ministry of Justice, which can impose penalties of up to CZK50,000 (approximately USD2,170) for non-compliance.  The law also requires judges, prosecutors and directors of research institutions to disclose their assets, however their declarations are not publicly available for security reasons.

In addition to the financial disclosure law, the government regulates political parties financing, public procurements, and the register of public contracts.  The law on the register of public contracts requires all national, regional, and local authorities as well as private companies to make publicly available all newly concluded contracts (including subsidies and repayable financial assistance) valued at CZK50,000 (USD2,170) or more within 30 days; noncompliance renders contracts null and void.  Additionally, as of November 2019, major state-owned companies are required to publish all contracts, except in limited circumstances.  The Registry of Contracts has a website in Czech only at: https://smlouvy.gov.cz/.

Public procurement law requires every contracting authority to post winning contracts on its website within 15 working days of signing.  Subject to limited exceptions, the law mandates more than one bidder for all public procurements and requires bidders to disclose their ownership structure prior to bidding.  In addition to general conflict-of-interest law, the procurement law also addresses some conflict-of-interest issues related to government procurements.   The Council of Europe’s Group of States Against Corruption (GRECO) evaluation report listed missing whistleblower protection and regulation of lobbying as problematic.

The “Beneficial Ownership Bill” came into force in June 1, 2021.  The law is a part of a transposition of an EU convention on anti-money laundering and counterterrorism financing and requires transparency regarding the real (or “beneficial”) ownership of companies seeking subsidies or public contracts.  The law bars anonymously owned companies from applying for public subsidies or tenders, although it does not empower officials to challenge discrepancies or irregularities in a company’s ownership structure, absent a court finding.  However, the European Commission asserted in December 2021 that the Czech law does not meet EU requirements, because it allows two types of owners to be listed for one company:  one with “final influence” and one who is the “final recipient of benefits”.  The European Commission also criticized the carveout that public research institutions, SOEs, political parties, schools, and some other associations are not required to declare their beneficial ownership.  The Czech government reported March 2022 it would make changes to the law to comply with EU requirements.

According to a law which came into force in January 2020, candidates filling supervisory board positions in state-owned companies must be selected in a clear, transparent process that prioritizes technical expertise and is reviewed by an advisory committee whose members are apolitical experts.  Separately, the government recommends companies maintain internal codes of conduct that, among other things, prohibit bribery of public officials.

The Council of Europe’s anti-money laundering body MONEYVAL reported at the end of 2021 that the Czech Republic has considerably improved its implementation of measures against money laundering and terrorist financing since 2020.

The government ratified the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention in 2000 and the UN Convention against Corruption in 2014.  According to the 2017 OECD Phase 4 Evaluation Report, the Czech Republic should take steps to improve enforcement of its foreign bribery laws, enhance efforts to detect, investigate, and prosecute foreign bribes, increase protections for whistleblowers, and better implement the criminal liability of the legal entities law.

Several NGOs such as Frank Bold, Transparency International, and Anticorruption Endowment Fund receive corruption reports online.  The reports most frequently involve minor offenses, such as attempts to bribe police officers or other public officials to receive benefits or avoid liability.  While there is not a specific law to protect NGOs involved in investigating corruption, NGO activities are protected under the Charter of Fundamental Rights and Freedom that protects civil society and free speech.

Democratic Republic of the Congo

9. Corruption

The DRC constitution and legal code include laws intended to fight corruption and bribery by all citizens, including public officials. The Tshisekedi government has used public prosecutions of high-level officials and the creation of an anti-corruption unit (APLC) to improve the DRC’s anti-corruption enforcement. Prosecutions have led to jail terms but often subsequent early releases. The 2021 edition of Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) ranked the DRC 169th out of 180 countries, with a score of 19 out of 100, up from 18 out of 100 the previous year.

Anti-corruption laws extend to family members of officials and political parties. In March 2020, President Tshisekedi created the National Agency for the Prevention and Fight Against Corruption (APLC). Currently corruption investigations are ongoing for three Managing Directors of SOEs.

The country has laws or regulations to address conflicts of interest in the awarding of public contracts or procurement. Conflicts of interest committed in the context of a public contract and a delegation of public service are punishable by a fine of USD 12,500 to USD25,000.

The government through regulatory authorities encourages or requires private companies to establish internal codes of conduct that, among other things, prohibit bribery of public officials.

Law 017-2002 of 2002, establishes the code of conduct for public officials, which provides rules of conduct in terms of moral integrity and professional ethics and the fight against corruption in socio-professional environments. Private companies use internal controls, ethics, and compliance programs to detect and prevent bribery of government officials.

The DRC is a signatory to both the UN Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) and the African Union Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption but has not fully ratified the latter. The DRC is not a signatory to the OECD Convention on Combating Bribery. The DRC ratified a protocol agreement with the Southern African Development Community (SADC) on fighting corruption.

NGOs such as the consortium “The Congo is Not for Sale,” have an important role in revealing corrupt practices, and the law protects NGOs in a whistleblower role. However, in 2021 whistleblowers from Afriland First Bank that alleged to the international NGO Global Witness interaction between sanctioned individual Dan Gertler and the bank were subjected to prosecution and, in a private proceeding, sentenced to death in absentia. Although the government worked with Global Witness to contest the case, it remained unresolved as of early 2022. NGOs report governmental or other hindrance to their efforts to publicize and/or address corruption. The Observatory of Public Expenditure (ODEP), which works with civil society organizations, raises awareness of the social impact of the execution of finance laws in order to improve transparency and accountability in the management of public finances; to participate in the fight against corruption; and to promote citizen involvement in each stage of the budget process.

U.S. firms see corruption and harassment by local security forces as one of the main hurdles to investment in the DRC, particularly in the awarding of concessions, government procurement, and taxation treatment.

Denmark

9. Corruption

Denmark is perceived as the least corrupt country in the world according to the 2021 Corruption Perceptions Index by Transparency International, which has local representation in Denmark. The Ministry of Justice is responsible for combating corruption, which is covered under the Danish Penal Code. Penalties for violations range from fines to imprisonment of up to four years for a private individual’s involvement and up to six years for a public employee’s involvement. Since 1998, Danish businesses cannot claim a tax deduction for the cost of bribes paid to officials abroad.

Denmark is a signatory to the OECD Convention on Combating Bribery, the UN Anticorruption Convention, and a participating member of the OECD Working Group on Bribery. In the Working Group’s 2015 Phase 3 follow-up report on Denmark, the Working Group concluded “that Denmark has partially implemented most of its Phase 3 recommendations. However, concerns remain over Denmark’s enforcement of the foreign bribery offence.”

Djibouti

9. Corruption

Djibouti has several laws to combat corruption by public officials. These laws were either passed by the government or contained in the Penal Code. However, there have been no records of cases to combat corruption by public officials. Corruption laws are extended to all family members of officials and across political parties, but they have not been applied in a non-discriminatory manner. Djibouti ranked 128 of 180 countries on the 2021 Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index. Djibouti does not have laws or regulations to counter conflict-of-interest in awarding contracts or government procurement.

Djibouti is a party to the UN Convention against Corruption. There are two government entities responsible for investigating corruption and enforcing the regulations. The State Inspector General (SGI) is tasked with ensuring human and material resources in the public sector are properly utilized. The Court of Auditors is mandated to verify and audit all public establishments for transparency and accountability, and to implement necessary legal sanctions. Both institutions are mandated to produce annual corruption reports. Despite the legal mandates, both institutions lack the authority to push for meaningful reform. The National Commission for Anti-Corruption is also mandated to enforce the laws on combatting corruption and provide safe haven for whistleblowers. This Commission launched a program in March 2018 to urge high-ranking government officials to publicly declare all of their assets, with little success. The contracting code and other laws passed by Djibouti contain provisions to counter conflict-of-interest contracts or government procurement.

According to a law passed in 2013, the government requires private and public companies to establish internal codes of conduct that prevent and prohibit bribery of public officials. However, these codes have not been implemented. Likewise, the government requirement that private companies use internal controls, ethics, and compliance to detect and prevent bribery of government officials is not enforced. Djibouti is not party to the OECD Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions. Djibouti is a signatory country of the UN Convention against Corruption.

U.S. firms have not specifically noted corruption as an obstacle to foreign direct investment in Djibouti, but there were allegations of foreign companies having to meet requirements such as renting houses owned by senior officials or hiring certain employees as a condition of receiving government procurement contracts. In addition, one company reported harassment of employees by local competitors. Prosecution and punishment for corruption is rare.

Resources to Report Corruption

Contact at government agency responsible for combating corruption is listed below:

Fatouma Mahamoud AbdillahiPresidentCommission Nationale Independante pour la Prevention et de Lutte Contre la CorruptionPlateau du Serpent+253 21 35 16 03 anticorruption@intnet.d j

No “watchdog” organizations are present in Djibouti.

Dominica

9. Corruption

The law provides criminal penalties for corruption by officials; however, government implementation and enforcement of the law is inconsistent.   Members of the political opposition and civil society representatives allege that officials sometimes engaged in corrupt practices with impunity. Local media and opposition leadership continued to raise allegations of corruption within the government, including in the Citizenship by Investment program.  Dominica acceded to the United Nations Convention Against Corruption in 2010.  The country is party to the Inter-American Convention against Corruption.

The Integrity in Public Office Act, 2003 and the Integrity in Public Office (Amendment) Act 2015 require government officials to account annually for their income, assets, and gifts.  All offenses under the act, including the late filing of declarations, are criminalized.  The Integrity Commission was established to monitor the functions under this Act.  The Integrity Commission’s mandate and decisions can be found at  http://www.integritycommission.gov.dm .  Generally, the Integrity Commission reports on late submissions and on inappropriately completed forms but does not share financial disclosures of officials with the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions. The Integrity Commission has not updated documents on its website since 2016.

The Director of Public Prosecutions is responsible for prosecuting corruption offenses, but it lacks adequate personnel and resources to handle complicated money laundering and public corruption cases.

Dominica

9. Corruption

The law provides criminal penalties for corruption by officials; however, government implementation and enforcement of the law is inconsistent.   Members of the political opposition and civil society representatives allege that officials sometimes engaged in corrupt practices with impunity. Local media and opposition leadership continued to raise allegations of corruption within the government, including in the Citizenship by Investment program.  Dominica acceded to the United Nations Convention Against Corruption in 2010.  The country is party to the Inter-American Convention against Corruption.

The Integrity in Public Office Act, 2003 and the Integrity in Public Office (Amendment) Act 2015 require government officials to account annually for their income, assets, and gifts.  All offenses under the act, including the late filing of declarations, are criminalized.  The Integrity Commission was established to monitor the functions under this Act.  The Integrity Commission’s mandate and decisions can be found at  http://www.integritycommission.gov.dm .  Generally, the Integrity Commission reports on late submissions and on inappropriately completed forms but does not share financial disclosures of officials with the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions. The Integrity Commission has not updated documents on its website since 2016.

The Director of Public Prosecutions is responsible for prosecuting corruption offenses, but it lacks adequate personnel and resources to handle complicated money laundering and public corruption cases.

Dominican Republic

9. Corruption

The Dominican Republic has a legal framework that includes laws and regulations to combat corruption and provides criminal penalties for corruption by officials. While challenges remain, overall enforcement of these laws has improved thanks to a heightened focus on transparency by the Abinader administration and concerted efforts by the Office of the Attorney General. In a change from prior years, investigations targeted well-connected individuals and high-level politicians, both from prior administrations and the current one. The Dominican Republic’s rank on the Transparency International Corruption Perception Index rose to 128 in 2021 from 137 in 2020 (out of 180 countries assessed).

Nonetheless, U.S. companies continued to identify corruption as a barrier to FDI. Firms often complained about a lack of technical proficiency in government ministries that resulted in public tender opportunities that were not competently drafted or executed in accordance with international best practices. Some firms went so far as to suggest that more problematic tenders had been set up intentionally to favor politically connected firms. The business community has also complained about corruption at the municipal level and its relevance to such things as permitting procedures. U.S. businesses operating in the Dominican Republic often need to take extensive measures to ensure compliance with the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

President Abinader has generally made good on his commitment to make fighting corruption a top priority of his administration. He appointed officials with reputations for professionalism and independence and went to great efforts to respect the independence of his appointed head of the Public Procurement General Directorate, the Chamber of Accounts (the country’s Supreme Audit Institution), and the Attorney General’s Office. In addition, the Abinader administration has publicly committed to prioritizing passage of institutional reforms that will advance the fight against corruption, such as new public procurement legislation, and a bill that would allow for civil asset forfeiture. Passage of this legislation, however, remains in question as the measures are in various levels of administrative and legislative review.

In a notable change from prior administrations, investigations into corruption and arrests have targeted senior officials not just from the opposing parties, but also from the ruling coalition. These moves have sent a powerful signal that the Abinader administration no longer tolerates the sort of pervasive corruption that was seen under prior administrations.

Civil society has been a critical voice in anti-corruption campaigns to date. Several non-governmental organizations are particularly active in transparency and anti-corruption, notably the Foundation for Institutionalization and Justice (FINJUS), Citizen Participation (Participacion Ciudadana), and the Dominican Alliance Against Corruption (ADOCCO).

The Dominican Republic signed and ratified the UN Anticorruption Convention. The Dominican Republic is not a party to the OECD Convention on Combating Bribery.

Ecuador

9. Corruption

Corruption is a serious problem in Ecuador, and one that the Lasso administration is confronting. Ecuadorian courts have recently tried numerous cases of corruption, resulting in convictions of high-level officials, including former President Rafael Correa, former Vice President Jorge Glas (although the judiciary recently released him), and former Vice President Maria Alejandra Vicuña, among others. U.S. companies have cited corruption as an obstacle to investment, with concerns related specifically to non-transparent public tenders, dispute resolution, and payment of arbitration awards.

Ecuadorian law provides criminal penalties for corruption by public officials, but the government has not implemented the law effectively, and officials have engaged in corrupt practices. Ecuador ranked 105 out of 180 countries surveyed for Transparency International’s 2021 Perceptions of Corruption Index and received a score of 36 out of 100. High-profile cases of alleged official corruption involving state-owned petroleum company PetroEcuador and Brazilian construction firm Odebrecht illustrate the significant challenges that confront Ecuador with regards to corruption. The Ecuadorian National Assembly approved anti-corruption legislation in December 2020. The legislation, which reforms the Comprehensive Organic Penal Code, creates new criminal acts including circumvention of public procurement procedures, acts of corruption in the private sector, and obstruction of justice. It also includes 11 provisions reforming the laws governing the public procurement system and the Comptroller General’s Office.

Illicit payments for official favors and theft of public funds reportedly take place frequently. Dispute settlement procedures are complicated by the lack of transparency and inefficiency in the judicial system. Offering or accepting a bribe is illegal and punishable by imprisonment for up to five years. The Comptroller General is responsible for the oversight of public funds, and there are frequent investigations and occasional prosecutions for irregularities.

Ecuador ratified the UN Anticorruption Convention in September 2005. Ecuador is not a signatory to the OECD Convention on Combating Bribery. The 2008 Constitution created the Citizen Participation and Social Control Council (CPCCS), tasked with preventing and combating corruption, among other responsibilities. The 2018 national referendum converted the CPCCS from an appointed to a popularly elected body. In December 2008, President Correa issued a decree that created the National Secretariat for Transparency (SNTG) to investigate and denounce acts of corruption in the public sector. The SNTG became an undersecretariat and was merged with the National Secretariat of Public Administration June 2013. President Moreno established the Anticorruption Secretariat within the Presidency in February 2019 but disbanded it in May 2020 for allegedly intervening in corruption investigations conducted by the Office of the Attorney General. The CPCCS can receive complaints and conduct investigations into alleged acts of corruption. Responsibility for prosecution remains with the Office of the Attorney General.

Egypt

9. Corruption

Egypt has a set of laws to combat corruption by public officials, including an Anti-Bribery Law (articles 103 through 111 of Egypt’s Penal Code), an Illicit Gains Law (Law 62 of 1975 and subsequent amendments in Law 97 of 2015), and a Governmental Accounting Law (Law 27 of 1981), among others.  Countering corruption remains a long-term focus. However, corruption laws have not been consistently enforced.  Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index ranked Egypt 117 out of 180 countries in its 2021 survey.  Past surveys from Transparency International reported that nearly half of Egyptians said they had paid a bribe to obtain a public service.

Some private companies use internal controls, ethics, and compliance programs to detect and prevent bribery of government officials. There is no government requirement for private companies to establish internal codes of conduct to prohibit bribery.

Egypt ratified the United Nations Convention against Corruption in 2005.  It has not acceded to the OECD Convention on Combating Bribery or any other regional anti-corruption conventions.

While NGOs are active in encouraging anti-corruption activities, dialogue between the government and civil society on this issue is almost non-existent. In a 2009 study demonstrating a trend that continues to this day, the OECD found that while government officials publicly asserted they shared civil society organizations’ goals, they rarely cooperated with NGOs, and applied relevant laws in a highly restrictive manner against NGOs critical of government practices.  Media was also limited in its ability to report on corruption, with Article 188 of the Penal Code mandating heavy fines and penalties for unsubstantiated corruption allegations.

U.S. firms have identified corruption as an obstacle to FDI in Egypt. Companies might encounter corruption in the public sector in the form of requests for bribes, using bribes to facilitate required government approvals or licenses, embezzlement, and tampering with official documents.  Corruption and bribery are reported in dealing with public services, customs (import license and import duties), public utilities (water and electrical connection), construction permits, and procurement, as well as in the private sector.  Businesses have described a dual system of payment for services, with one formal payment and a secondary, unofficial payment required for services to be rendered.

El Salvador

9. Corruption

U.S. companies operating in El Salvador are subject to the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA).

Corruption can be a challenge to investment in El Salvador. El Salvador ranks 115 out of 180 countries in Transparency International’s 2021 Corruption Perceptions Index. While El Salvador has laws, regulations, and penalties to combat corruption, their effectiveness is at times questionable. Soliciting, offering, or accepting a bribe is a criminal act in El Salvador. The Attorney General’s Anticorruption and Anti-Impunity Unit handles allegations of public corruption. The Constitution establishes a Court of Accounts that is charged with investigating public officials and entities and, when necessary, passing such cases to the Attorney General for prosecution. Executive-branch employees are subject to a code of ethics, including administrative enforcement mechanisms, and the government established an Ethics Tribunal in 2006.

In June 2021, El Salvador terminated its 2019 agreement with the organization of American States (OAS) to back the International Commission Against Impunity and Corruption (CICIES). CICIES audited pandemic spending in 2020. After receiving CICIES preliminary findings in November 2021, the Attorney General’s Office began criminal investigations in 17 government agencies for alleged procurement fraud and misuse of public funds. In May 2021, the Legislative Assembly passed the “Law for the Use of Products for Medical Treatments in Exceptional Public Health Situations Caused by the COVID-19 Pandemic” to protect vaccine manufacturers from liability, a precondition for Pfizer to sell vaccines to El Salvador. However, the law’s broad liability shield provisions, including civil and criminal immunity for a wide range of medical product manufacturers and healthcare providers, raised concerns about the future of investigations into fraudulent purchases of medical supplies and PPE. The law was subsequently amended in October 2021 to clarify there is no immunity for acts of corruption, fraud, bribery, theft, counterfeiting or piracy and trafficking of stolen goods. Even though the reforms removed some of the most controversial aspects of the bill, investigations stalled after the Attorney General appointed by the Bukele Administration removed prosecutors working on pandemic-related probe against GOES officials.

Corruption scandals at the federal, legislative, and municipal levels are commonplace and there have been credible allegations of judicial corruption. Three of the past four presidents have been indicted for corruption, a former Attorney General is in prison on corruption-related charges, and a former president of the Legislative Assembly, who also served as president of the investment promotion agency during the prior administration, faces charges for embezzlement, fraud, and money laundering. The former Minister of Defense during two FMLN governments is being prosecuted for providing illicit benefits to gangs in exchange for reducing homicides (an agreement known as the 2012-2014 Truce). In February 2020, the Attorney General’s Office indicted high-ranking members of the ARENA and FMLN parties under charges of conspiracy and electoral fraud for negotiating with gangs for political benefit during the run up to the 2014 presidential elections. In September 2020, the Attorney General’s Office launched a probe against the Director of Penal Centers, the Vice Minister of Justice, and the Chief of the Social Fabric Reconstruction Unit for covert dealings with gangs on a homicide reduction in exchange for better prison conditions. Since the appointment of the current Attorney General, the investigation into Bukele administration’s gang pacts has not progressed. U.S Treasury designated the two officials and Bukele’s Chief of Cabinet for financial sanctions in December 2021. The law provides criminal penalties for corruption, but implementation is generally perceived as ineffective. Former President Funes faces criminal charges for embezzlement, money laundering, and misappropriation of public funds. Although there are several pending arrest warrants against Funes, he has fled to Nicaragua and cannot be extradited because he was granted Nicaraguan citizenship. In 2018, former president Elias Antonio (Tony) Saca pleaded guilty to embezzling more than $300 million in public funds. The court sentenced him to 10 years in prison and ordered him to repay $260 million.

The NGO Social Initiative for Democracy stated that officials, particularly in the judicial system, often engaged in corrupt practices with impunity. Long-standing government practices in El Salvador, including cash payments to officials, shielded budgetary accounts, and diversion of government funds, facilitate corruption and impede accountability.  For example, the accepted practice of ensuring party loyalty through off-the-books cash payments to public officials (i.e., sobresueldos) persisted across five presidential administrations. President Bukele eliminated these cash payments to public officials and the “reserved spending account,” nominally for state intelligence funding. At his direction, in July 2019, the Court of Accounts began auditing reserve spending of the Sanchez Ceren administration. In July 2021, the Attorney General’s Office accused ten former FMLN legislators and former cabinet members who served in the Funes administration (2009-2014), including former President Salvador Sanchez, of money laundering, embezzlement, and illicit enrichment for allegedly receiving sobresueldos from the President’s Office reserved spending account.

El Salvador has an active, free press that reports on corruption. The Illicit Enrichment Law requires appointed and elected officials to declare their assets to the Probity Section. The declarations are not available to the public, and the law only sanctions noncompliance with fines of up to $500. In 2015, the Probity Section of the Supreme Court began investigating allegations of illicit enrichment of public officials. In 2017, Supreme Court Justices ordered its Probity Section to audit legislators and their alternates. In 2019, in observance of the Constitution, the Supreme Court instructed the Probity Section to focus its investigations only on public officials who left office within ten years. In 2020, the Supreme Court issued regulations to standardize the procedures to examine asset declarations of public officials and carry out illicit enrichment investigations, as well as to set clear rules for decision-making. At the end of 2021, the Probity Section had a total of 452 active investigations on illicit enrichment. Between 2015 and 2021, the office completed economic examinations in 58 cases, but the Supreme of Court recommended civil prosecution for illicit enrichment in only 21 of those cases. In an October 2021 interview, the President of the Criminal Chamber of the Supreme Court indicated that 127 illicit enrichment cases were nearing the end of the 10-year constitutional statute of limitations.

In 2011, El Salvador approved the Law on Access to Public Information. The law provides for the right of access to government information, but authorities have not always effectively implemented the law. The law gives a narrow list of exceptions that outline the grounds for nondisclosure and provide for a reasonably short timeline for the relevant authority to respond, no processing fees, and administrative sanctions for non-compliance. The Bukele administration has weakened the autonomy of the Access to Public Information Agency (IAIP) – charged with ensuring compliance with the law – by reforming IAIP’s regulations to increase the President’s Office control over the appointment of its commissioners. Enacted amendments also add requirements for accessing information, including for the release of restricted information. Civil society organizations claim it is common practice of the Bukele administration to declare information to be reserved (confidential) or deny information without justification and in violation of the law to avoid citizen oversight and accountability.

In 2011, El Salvador joined the Open Government Partnership. The Open Government Partnership promotes government commitments made jointly with civil society on transparency, accountability, citizen participation and use of new technologies ( http://www.opengovpartnership.org/country/el-salvador ).

Equatorial Guinea

9. Corruption

Corruption at all levels of government remains a serious issue, although the government has taken some steps to combat it. The government ratified the UN Convention against Corruption in May 2018 and the African Union Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption in October 2019. In July 2020, the President issued Decree-Law No. 1/2020 on the Prevention and Fight against Corruption to bring its existing anti-corruption laws up to international standards in compliance with requirements from the IMF. The decree requires public officials to disclose all assets and sources of income, sets new rules to prevent conflicts of interests, prohibits officials from receiving most types of gifts, establishes a National Commission on the Prevention and Fight Against Corruption, and establishes punishments for corruption offenses, as well as protections for whistleblowers.

As with the investment regulatory regime, however, anti-corruption enforcement remains weak. Some anti-corruption agencies, such as a Court of Accounts and a Commission on Ethics, have been created by law but have yet to be operationalized. Other offices, such as those of the anti-corruption prosecutor and the ombudsman, have been launched but remain weak and under-resourced. While some high-profile corruption cases against low- and mid-level officials were prosecuted in 2021, a culture of impunity remains among higher level leaders. Despite public disclosure of assets being included in both the anti-corruption law and the amended 2012 constitution, many public officials have yet to comply. Many high-level officials continue to have ownership of private sector businesses with no oversight of conflict of interest, contract negotiations, or anti-nepotism mechanisms.

Law No. 2/2014 on Civil Servants of the State sets forth responsibilities and prohibited actions of public workers, and some autonomous entities and SOEs have established their own codes of conduct. In 2019, the government called for the establishment of a Commission on Ethics to facilitate reporting by public officials of acts of corruption, but it is not yet operational.

Through harassment and intimidation, the government prevents civil society organizations from advocating on any issues that it considers to be political, and it does not offer protection for entities investigating corruption. NGOs of all kinds, but especially those engaging on issues of human rights and good governance, have difficulty obtaining legal registration through the Ministry of Interior and Local Corporations, some waiting for years without an official answer despite multiple attempts.

Corruption is reportedly present in many stages of the business cycle, including during procurement and awarding of licenses, as well as in regulatory enforcement and dispute settlement

Eritrea

9. Corruption

Eritrean laws criminalize corruption by public officials and by any who claim influence over public officials, which would include family members and political parties.  Due to limited transparency within the government, it is unclear the extent to which the GSE applies these laws, though evidence suggests little corruption among high-level government officials but significant petty corruption at the local level.

There are no specific provisions concerning conflicts of interest.

There is no available information to suggest that the GSE requires private companies to establish internal codes that prohibit bribery of public officials, and it is unlikely that the government does so.  It is likely that some, but not all, of the large foreign private companies use internal controls, ethics or compliance programs to detect and prevent bribery.

Eritrea is not a signatory to the United Nations Convention Against Corruption or any other international anti-corruption initiatives.  There are no independent NGOs in Eritrea, including those that investigate corruption.  There are no U.S. firms in Eritrea to provide an opinion on corruption as an impediment to FDI, but it is unlikely to be a serious impediment.

Estonia

9. Corruption

Estonia has laws, regulations, and penalties to combat corruption, and while corruption is not unknown, it has generally not been reported to pose a major problem for foreign investors. Both offering and taking bribes are criminal offenses which can bring imprisonment of up to five years. While “payments” that exceed the services rendered are not unknown, and “conflict of interest” is not a well-understood issue, surveys of American and other non-Estonian businesses have shown the issue of corruption is not a serious concern.

In 2021, Transparency International (TI) ranked Estonia 13th out of 180 countries on its Corruption Perceptions Index.

Anti-corruption policy and implementation are coordinated by the Ministry of Justice and the strategy is implemented by all ministries and local governments. The Internal Security Service is effective in investigating corruption offences and criminal misconduct, leading to the conviction of several high-ranking state officials. Until recently corruption was most commonly associated with public sector activities. Recently the government-initiated efforts to educate private sector businesses about the risks of business-to-business corruption, for example within procurement activities.

Estonia cooperates in fighting corruption at the international level and is a member of GRECO (Group of States Against Corruption). Estonia is a party to both the Council of Europe (CoE) Criminal Law Convention on Corruption and the Civil Law Convention. The Criminal Law Convention requires criminalization of a wide range of national and transnational conduct, including bribery, money-laundering, and accounting offenses. It also incorporates provisions on liability of legal persons and witness protection. The Civil Law Convention includes provisions on compensation for damage relating to corrupt acts, whistleblower protection, and validity of contracts, inter alia.

More info on the corruption level in different sectors in Estonia can be found at: Estonia – Transparency.org 

Eswatini

Ethiopia

9. Corruption

The Federal Ethics and Anticorruption Proclamation number 1236/2020 aims to combat corruption involving government officials and organizations, religious organizations, political parties, and international organizations. The Federal Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (FEACC) is accountable to parliament and charged with preventing corruption among government officials by providing ethics training and education. MOJ is responsible for investigating corruption crimes and prosecutions. The Office of the Ombudsman is responsible for ensuring good governance and preventing administrative abuses by public offices.

Transparency International’s 2022 Corruption Perceptions Index, which measures perceived levels of public sector corruption, rated Ethiopia’s corruption at 39 (the score indicates the perceived level of public sector corruption on a scale of zero to 100, with the former indicating highly corrupt and the latter indicating very clean). Its comparative rank in 2021 was 87 out of 180 countries, a seven-point improvement from its 2020 rank. In 2020 the American Chamber of Commerce in Ethiopia polled its members and asked what the leading business climate challenges were; transparency and governance ranked as the 4th leading business climate challenge, ahead of licensing and registration, and public procurement.

Ethiopian and foreign businesses routinely encounter corruption in tax collection, customs clearance, and land administration. Many past procurement deals for major government contracts, especially in the power generation, telecommunications, and construction sectors, were widely viewed as corrupt. Allegations of corruption in the allocation of urban land to private investors by government agencies are a major source of popular discontent in Ethiopia.

Ethiopia is not a party to the OECD Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions. Ethiopia is a signatory to the African Union Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption. Ethiopia is also member of the East African Association of Anti-Corruption Authorities. Ethiopia signed the UN Anticorruption Convention in 2003, which was eventually ratified in November 2007. It is a criminal offense to give or receive bribes, and bribes are not tax deductible.

Fiji

9. Corruption

The legal code provides criminal penalties for corruption by officials, but corruption cases often proceeded slowly. In 2021, parliament enacted the “high court amendment” law that created a specialized court to enable specific judges and magistrates to preside over and speedily resolve anticorruption cases.

The government established the Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption (FICAC), which has broad powers of investigation. FICAC’s public service announcements encouraging citizens to report corrupt government activities have had some effect on systemic corruption. The government adequately funded FICAC, but some observers questioned its independence and viewed some of its high-profile prosecutions as politically motivated. The media publishes articles on FICAC investigations into abuse of office, and anonymous blogs report on government corruption. FICAC in collaboration with the United Nations Pacific Regional Anti-corruption agency (UN-PRAC) launched a nationwide anti-bribery campaign. However, Fiji’s relatively small population and limited circles of power often lead to personal relationships playing a major role in business and government decisions. Fiji acceded to the UN Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC) in 2008.

Finland

9. Corruption

In April 2021, the Finnish Government adopted a government resolution on Finland’s national risk assessment and action plan on money laundering and terrorist financing. The assessment found that all sectors experience challenges in identifying signs of terrorist financing and sectors with the highest risk of money laundering are money remitters (hawala operators) and virtual currency providers.

Finland’s money laundering and terrorist financing national action plan (2021-2023) sets out measures to reduce the risks of money laundering and terrorist financing. More information here: https://valtioneuvosto.fi/en/-/10623/highest-risk-sectors-are-money-remittances-and-provision-of-virtual-currencies

The National Risk Assessment of 2018 does not list corruption as a risk in Finland, nor does the 2017 Security Strategy for Society.

Over the past decade, Finland has ranked in the top three on Transparency International’s (TI) Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI). In 2021, Finland was ranked first on the CPI, and ranked third in the world on the Democracy Index civil liberties score with an overall score of 9.27. Finland scored 10 in electoral process and pluralism, 9.29 in the functioning of the government, 8.89 in political participation, 8.75 in political culture and 8.41 in civil liberties. Corruption in Finland is covered by the Criminal Code and penalties range from fines to imprisonment of up to four years. The Criminal Code divides bribery offences into two categories, giving of bribes to public officials or acceptance of bribes and giving or acceptance of bribes in business. Finland has statutory tax rules concerning non-deductibility of bribes. Finland does not have an authority specifically charged to prevent corruption, instead several authorities and agencies contribute to anti-corruption work. The Ministry of Justice coordinates anti-corruption matters, but Finland’s EU anti-corruption contact is the Ministry of the Interior. The National Bureau of Investigation also monitors corruption, while the tax administration has guidelines obliging tax officials to report suspected offences, including foreign bribery, and the Ministry of Finance has guidelines on hospitality, benefits, and gifts. The Ministry of Justice describes its anti-corruption efforts at https://oikeusministerio.fi/en/anti-corruption-activities .

In 2020, Ministry of Employment and Economy released an Anti-Corruption guide intended for companies, especially SMEs, to provide them with guidance and support for promoting good business practices and corruption-free business relations both in Finland and abroad. For more see: https://tem.fi/en/-/guide-offers-smes-practical-anti-corruption-tips The Ministry of Justice is maintaining an Anti-Corruption.fi website, https://korruptiontorjunta.fi/en/combating-corruption-in-finland, providing both ordinary citizens and professional operators with impartial and fact-based information on corruption and its prevention in Finland. The goal is a transparent, impartial, and corruption-free culture and society.

The Act on a Candidate’s Election Funding (273/2009) delineates election funding and disclosure rules. The Act requires presidential candidates, Members of Parliament, and Deputy Members to declare total campaign financing, the financial value of each contribution, and donor names for donations exceeding EUR 1,500: https://www.finlex.fi/en/laki/kaannokset/2009/en20090273.pdf . The Act on Political Parties (10/1969) concerning the funding of political parties is at: https://www.finlex.fi/fi/laki/kaannokset/1969/en19690010.pdf . The National Audit Office of Finland keeps a register containing election-funding disclosures at: http://www.vaalirahoitusvalvonta.fi/en/index.html . Election funding disclosures must be filed with the National Audit Office of Finland within two months of election results being confirmed.

Finland does not regulate lobbying; there is no requirement for lobbyists to register or report contact with public officials. However, in March 2020, a parliamentary working group was set up to establish a transparency lobbying register. In December 2021, the working group report on the Transparency Register was sent out for comments, with the aim of having the government proposal before Parliament in spring 2022. The Finnish Association of Communications Professionals (ProCom) keeps a voluntary lobbyist registry (in Finnish).

The ethical Guidelines of the Finnish Prosecution Service can be found from a new website that was opened on October 1, 2019. https://syyttajalaitos.fi/en/the-ethical-guidelines .

The following are ratified or in force in Finland: the Convention on Laundering, Search, Seizure and Confiscation of the Proceeds from Crime; the Council of Europe Civil Law Convention on Corruption; the Criminal Law Convention on Corruption; the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime; and, the UN Anticorruption Convention. Finland is a member of the European Partners against Corruption (EPAC).

Finland is a signatory to the OECD Convention on Anti-Bribery. In October 2020, the OECD working group on bribery said it recognizes Finland’s commitment to combat corruption, but is concerned about lack of foreign bribery enforcement. For more see Finland’s 4th evaluation report: http://www.oecd.org/corruption/Finland-phase-4-follow-up-report-ENG.pdf .

In October 2020, the Council of Europe’s anticorruption body GRECO (Group of States against Corruption) addressed 14 recommendations to Finland on preventing corruption and promoting integrity in central governments (top executive functions) and compliance with these recommendations. For more see GRECO’s 5th evaluation round, Finland compliance report: https://rm.coe.int/fifth-evaluation-round-preventing-corruption-and-promoting-integrity-i/1680a0b0ca . The National Bureau of Investigation is responsible for the investigation of organized and international crimes, including economic crime and corruption, and operates an anti-corruption unit to detect economic offences. Finland adopted the first national anti-corruption strategy in May 2021. The Strategy is in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (2030 Agenda) and the recommendations issued by the UN, the OECD, the Council of Europe and the European Union to Finland to reinforce its anti-corruption work.

At the beginning of 2017, the Public Procurement Act based on the new EU directives on public procurement entered into force. Under the law, a foreign bribery conviction remains mandatory grounds for exclusion from public contracts (section 80: mandatory exclusion criteria).

Resources to Report Corruption

Contact at the government agency or agencies that are responsible for combating corruption:

Markku Ranta-Aho
Head of Financial Crime Division
National Board of Investigation
P.O. Box 285, 01310 Vantaa, Finland
markku.ranta-aho@poliisi.fi

Contact at a “watchdog” organization:

Mari Laakso
Chairperson
Transparency Finland
Mari.Laakso@transparency.fi

France and Monaco

9. Corruption

In line with President Macron’s campaign promise to clean up French politics, the French parliament adopted in September 2017 the law on “Restoring Confidence in Public Life.” The new law bans elected officials from employing family members, or working as a lobbyist or consultant while in office. It also bans lobbyists from paying parliamentary, ministerial, or presidential staff and requires parliamentarians to submit receipts for expenses.

France’s “Transparency, Anti-corruption, and Economic Modernization Law,” also known as the “Loi Sapin II,” came into effect on June 1, 2017. It brought France’s legislation in line with European and international standards. Key aspects of the law include: creating a new anti-corruption agency; establishing “deferred prosecution” for defendants in corruption cases and prosecuting companies (French or foreign) suspected of bribing foreign public officials abroad; requiring lobbyists to register with national institutions; and expanding legal protections for whistleblowers. The Sapin II law also established a High Authority for Transparency in Public Life (HATVP). The HATVP promotes transparency in public life by publishing the declarations of assets and interests it is legally authorized to share publicly. After review, declarations of assets and statements of interests of members of the government are published on the High Authority’s website under open license. The declarations of interests of members of Parliament and mayors of big cities and towns, but also of regions are also available on the website. In addition, the declarations of assets of parliamentarians can be accessed in certain governmental buildings, though not published on the internet.

France is a signatory to the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention. The U.S. Embassy in Paris has received no specific complaints from U.S. firms of unfair competition in France in recent years. France ranked 22rd of 180 countries on Transparency International’s (TI) 2021 corruption perceptions index. See  https://www.transparency.org/country/FRA .

Gabon

9. Corruption

The Gabonese penal code criminalizes abuse of office, embezzlement, passive and active bribery, trading in influence, extortion, offering or accepting gifts, and other undue advantages in the public sector, yet enforcement remains limited and official impunity is a problem. Private sector corruption is criminalized whenever a given company is related to a public entity. Punishments for public officials found guilty of soliciting or accepting bribes include prison sentences ranging from two to 10 years, and a fine of CFA 5 million (USD $8,572). Corruption is rarely prosecuted in Gabon, except in limited high-profile cases. In 2020, Transparency International listed Gabon at 129 of 179 countries.

The government established the Commission to Combat Illicit Enrichment (CNLCEI) in 2004; however, in the summer of 2018, the CNLCEI’s five-year mandate was not renewed. Its regulations did not extend to the family members of civil servants or to political parties.

There are no known laws or regulations to counter conflicts of interest in awarding contracts or government procurement. There is no information about any action on the part of the government to encourage or require private companies to establish codes of conduct that prohibit the bribery of public officials. Some private companies use internal controls, ethics, and compliance programs to detect and prevent bribery of government officials.

Gabon is a signatory to the United Nations Convention against Corruption and is a member of the Task Force on Money Laundering in Central Africa (Groupe daction contre le blanchiment dargent en Afrique Centrale, or GABAC). However, no international or regional watchdog organizations operate in Gabon. Local civil society lacks the capacity to play a significant role in highlighting cases of corruption.

Companies reportedly contend with a high risk of corruption when dealing with the Gabonese extractive industries. Gabon has vast oil, manganese, and timber resources; however, contracting and licensing processes lack transparency.

Georgia

9. Corruption

Georgia has laws, regulations, and penalties to combat corruption.  Georgia criminalizes bribery under the Criminal Code of Georgia. Chapter XXXIX of the Criminal Code, titled as Official Misconduct, among other crime, covers many corruption-related offenses committed by public servants including bribery, abuse of official powers, accepting a prohibited gift, forgery of official documentation, etc.  Senior public officials must file financial disclosure forms, which are publicly available online, and Georgian legislation provides for the civil forfeiture of undocumented assets of public officials who are charged with corruption-related offenses.

Penalties for accepting a bribe start at six years in prison and can extend to 15 years, depending on the circumstances.  Penalties for giving a bribe can include a fine, correctional labor, house arrest, or prison sentence up to three years.  In aggravated circumstances, when a bribe is given to commit an illegal act, the penalty is from four to seven years.  When bribe-giving is committed by the organized group, the sentence is imprisonment for 5 to 8 years. Abuse of authority by public servants are criminal acts under Articles 332 of the criminal code and carry a maximum penalty of eight years imprisonment.  The definition of a public official includes foreign public officials and employees of international organizations and courts.  White collar crimes, such as bribery, fall under the investigative jurisdiction of the Prosecutor’s Office. The laws extend to family members of officials.

Georgia is not a signatory to the OECD Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions. Georgia has, however, ratified the UN Convention against Corruption. Georgia cooperates with the Group of States against Corruption (GRECO) and the OECD’s Anti-Corruption Network for Transition Economies.

Following its assessment of Georgia in June 2016, the OECD released a report concluding that Georgia had achieved remarkable progress in eliminating petty corruption in public administration and should now focus on combating high-level and complex corruption. The report commends Georgia’s mechanism for monitoring and evaluating the implementation of its Anti-Corruption Strategy and Action Plan, as well as the role given to civil society in this process. It also welcomes the adoption of a new Law on Civil Service and recommends that the remaining legislation to implement civil service reforms is adopted without delay. The report notes that the Civil Service Bureau and Human Resources units in state entities should be strengthened to ensure the implementation of the required reforms. The report highlights Georgia’s good track record in prosecuting corruption crimes and in using modern methods to confiscate criminal proceeds. It recommends that Georgia increase enforcement of corporate liability and the prosecution of foreign bribery to address the perception of corruption among local government officials. The full report is available at: http://www.oecd.org/corruption/anti-bribery/Georgia-Round-4-Monitoring-Report-ENG.pdf .

In April 2021, GRECO released its Second Compliance Report of Fourth Evaluation Round on Georgia, which deals with corruption prevention with regards to members of parliament (MPs), judges, and prosecutors. According to the report, since  2019  Georgia implemented two additional recommendations – totaling seven of 16 recommendations – for preventing corruption among MPs, judges, and prosecutors. The Compliance Report said Georgia satisfactorily implemented measures to enforce objective criteria for the recruitment and promotion of prosecutors, ensured further updates of the “Code of Ethics for Employees of the Prosecution Service of Georgia,” and introduced measures for enforcing the rules. Out of the nine outstanding recommendations, two remain unaddressed while seven have been partly implemented. The sixteen recommendations were adopted in 2016, in the Fourth Round Evaluation Report on Georgia, by the Council of Europe’s anti-corruption monitoring body.

Since 2003, Georgia has significantly improved its ranking in Transparency International’s (TI) Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) report. TI ranked Georgia 45th out of 180 countries in the 2021 edition  of its CPI.

While Georgia has been successful in fighting visible, low-level corruption, Georgia remains vulnerable to what TI calls “elite” corruption: high-level officials exploiting legal loopholes for personal enrichment, status, or retribution. Although the evidence is mostly anecdotal, this form of corruption, or the perception of its existence, has the potential to erode public and investor confidence in Georgia’s institutions and the investment environment. Corruption remains a potential problem in public procurement processes, public administration practices, and the judicial system due to unclear laws and ethical standards.

Germany

9. Corruption

Among industrialized countries, Germany ranks 10th out of 180, according to Transparency International’s 2021 Corruption Perceptions Index. Some sectors including the automotive industry, construction sector, and public contracting, exert political influence and political party finance remains only partially transparent. Nevertheless, U.S. firms have not identified corruption as an impediment to investment in Germany. Germany is a signatory of the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention and a participating member of the OECD Working Group on Bribery.

Over the last two decades, Germany has increased penalties for the bribery of German officials, corrupt practices between companies, and price-fixing by companies competing for public contracts. It has also strengthened anti-corruption provisions on financial support extended by the official export credit agency and has tightened the rules for public tenders. Government officials are forbidden from accepting gifts linked to their jobs. Most state governments and local authorities have contact points for whistleblowing and provisions for rotating personnel in areas prone to corruption. There are serious penalties for bribing officials and price fixing by companies competing for public contracts.

To prevent corruption, Germany relies on the existing legal and regulatory framework consisting of various provisions under criminal law, public service law, and other rules for the administration at both federal and state levels. The framework covers internal corruption prevention, accounting standards, capital market disclosure requirements, and transparency rules, among other measures.

According to the Federal Criminal Office, in 2020, 50.6 percent of all corruption cases were directed towards the public administration (down from 73 percent in 2018), 33.2 percent towards the business sector (down from 39 percent in 2019), 13.4 percent towards law enforcement and judicial authorities (up from 9 percent in 2019), and 2 percent to political officials (unchanged compared to 2018).

Parliamentarians are subject to financial disclosure laws that require them to publish earnings from outside employment. Disclosures are available to the public via the Bundestag website (next to the parliamentarians’ biographies) and in the Official Handbook of the Bundestag. Penalties for noncompliance can range from an administrative fine to as much as half of a parliamentarian’s annual salary. In early 2021, several parliamentarians stepped down due to inappropriate financial gains made through personal relationships to businesses involved in the procurement of face masks during the initial stages of the pandemic.

Donations by private persons or entities to political parties are legally permitted. However, if they exceed €50,000, they must be reported to the President of the Bundestag, who is required to immediately publish the name of the party, the amount of the donation, the name of the donor, the date of the donation, and the date the recipient reported the donation. Donations of €10,000 or more must be included in the party’s annual accountability report to the President of the Bundestag.

State prosecutors are generally responsible for investigating corruption cases, but not all state governments have prosecutors specializing in corruption. Germany has successfully prosecuted hundreds of domestic corruption cases over the years, including large– scale cases against major companies.

Media reports in past years about bribery investigations against Siemens, Daimler, Deutsche Telekom, Deutsche Bank, and Ferrostaal have increased awareness of the problem of corruption. As a result, listed companies and multinationals have expanded compliance departments, tightened internal codes of conduct, and offered more training to employees.

Ghana

Greece

9. Corruption

Greece saw a slight increase in perceptions of corruption, as it went up one place to 59 on Transparency International’s 2019 Corruption Perception Index, from 60 in 2019 and 67 in 2018.  By contrast, the country had improved since 2012, partly due to mandatory structural reforms.  Despite these structural improvements, bureaucracy is reportedly slowing the progress.  Transparency International issued a report in 2018 criticizing the government for improper public procurement actions involving Greek government ministers and the recent appointment of the close advisor to the country’s prime minister to be the head of the Hellenic Competition Commission, which oversees the enforcement of anti-trust legislation.  Transparency International released another report in October 2018, warning of the corruption risks posed by golden visa programs, mentioning Greece as a top issuer of golden visas.  In Transparency International’s 2020 report, the organization outlined the costs directly stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic, including cases of foreign bribery occurring in the health care sector.

On March 19, 2015, the government passed Law 4320, which provides for the establishment of a General Secretariat for Combatting Corruption under the authority of a new Minister of State.  Under Article 12 of the Law, this entity drafts a national anti-corruption strategy, with an emphasis on coordination between anti-corruption bodies within various ministries and agencies, including the Economic Police, the Financial and Economic Crime Unit (SDOE), the Ministries’ Internal Control Units, and the Health and Welfare Services Inspection Body.  Based on Law 4320, two major anti-corruption bodies, the Inspectors-Controllers Body for Public Administration (SEEDD) and the Inspectors-Controllers Body for Public Works (SEDE), were moved under the jurisdiction of the General Secretariat for Combatting Corruption.  A Minister of State for combatting corruption was appointed to the cabinet following the January 2015 elections and given oversight of government efforts to combat corruption and economic crimes.  The minister drafted coordinated plans of action, monitored their implementation, and was given operational control of the Economic Crime division of the Hellenic Police, the SDOE, ministries’ internal control units, and the Health and Welfare Services’ inspection body.  Following the September 2015 national elections, the government abolished the cabinet post of Minister of State for combatting corruption and assigned those duties to a new alternate minister for combatting corruption in the Ministry of Justice, Transparency, and Human Rights.

Legislation passed on May 11, 2015, provides a wider range of disciplinary sanctions against state employees accused of misconduct or breach of duty, while eliminating the immediate suspension of an accused employee prior to the completion of legal proceedings.  If found guilty, offenders could be deprived of wages for up to 12 months and forced to relinquish their right to regain a senior post for a period of one to five years.  Certain offenders could also be fined from €3,000 to €100,000.  The law requires income and asset disclosure by appointed and elected officials, including nonpublic sector employees, such as journalists and heads of state-funded NGOs.  Several different agencies are mandated to monitor and verify disclosures, including the General Inspectorate for Public Administration, the police internal affairs bureau, the Piraeus appeals prosecutor, and an independent permanent parliamentary committee.  Declarations are made publicly available.  The law provides for administrative and criminal sanctions for noncompliance. Penalties range from two to ten years’ imprisonment and fines from €10,000 to €1 million.  On August 7, 2019, Parliament passed legislation establishing a unified transparency authority by transferring the powers and responsibilities of public administration inspection services to an independent authority.  In November 2019, laws addressing the bribery of officials were amended to include a specific definition of “public official” and to make active bribery of a public official a felony instead of a misdemeanor, punishable by a prison sentence of five to eight years (as opposed to three years).  On November 17, 2020, the government established the Financial Prosecutor’s Office to deal with financial crime in the wake of public complaints about an investigation by the Corruption Prosecutor’s Office into a case involving the pharmaceutical company Novartis.  The new office, headed by a senior prosecutor selected by the Supreme Judicial Council of the Supreme Court, included 16 prosecutors, and became operational in November 2020.

Bribery is a criminal act, and the law provides severe penalties for infractions, although diligent implementation and haphazard or uneven enforcement of the law remains an issue.  Historically, the problem has been most acute in government procurement, as political influence and other considerations are widely believed to play a significant role in the evaluation of bids.  Corruption related to the health care system and political party funding are areas of concern, as is the “fragmented” anti-corruption apparatus.  NGOs and other observers have expressed concern over perceived high levels of official corruption.  Permanent and ad hoc government entities charged with combating corruption are understaffed and underfinanced. There is a widespread perception that there are high levels of corruption in the public sector and tax evasion in the private sector, and many Greeks view corruption as the main obstacle to economic recovery.

The Ministry of Justice prosecutes cases of bribery and corruption.  In cases where politicians are involved, the Greek parliament can conduct investigations and/or lift parliamentary immunity to allow a special court action to proceed against the politician.  A December 2014 law does not allow high ranking officials, including the prime minister, ministers, alternate, and deputy ministers, parliament deputies, European Parliament deputies, general and special secretaries, regional governors and vice governors, and mayors and deputy mayors to benefit from more lenient sentences in cases involving official bribes.  In 2019, Parliament passed an amendment to Article 62 of the constitution, which limits parliamentary immunity to acts carried out in the course of parliamentary duties.  In addition, Parliament amended Article 86 of the constitution, abolishing the statute of limitations for crimes committed by ministers and to disallow postponements for trials of ministers.

Greece is a signatory to the UN Anticorruption Convention, which it signed on December 10, 2003, and ratified September 17, 2008.  As a signatory of the OECD Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Government Officials and all relevant EU-mandated anti-corruption agreements, the Greek government is committed in principle to penalizing those who commit bribery in Greece or abroad.  The OECD Convention has been in effect since 1999.  Greek accession to other relevant conventions or treaties:

Council of Europe Civil Law Convention on Corruption: Signed June 8, 2000.  Ratified February 21, 2002.  Entry into force: November 1, 2003.

Council of Europe Criminal Law Convention on Corruption: Signed January 27, 1999.  Ratified July 10, 2007.  Entry into force: November 1, 2007.

United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime: Signed on December 13, 2000.  Ratified January 11, 2011.

Grenada

9. Corruption

Grenada is a party to the Inter-American Convention against Corruption. The Integrity in Public Life Act (Act No.24 of 2013) requires that all public servants report their income and assets to the independent Integrity Commission for review. The Integrity in Public Life Commission monitors and verifies disclosures, although disclosures are not made public except in court. Failure to file a disclosure should be noted in the Official Gazette. If the office holder in question fails to file in response to this notification, the commission can seek a court order to enforce compliance.

The Office of the Ombudsman received 29 complaints in 2020, compared to 59 in 2019 and 64 in 2018. Of the 29 complaints, one was closed, 12 are ongoing, 7 received advice/referrals, and 9 were outside the jurisdiction of the ombudsman. Private entities received the highest number of complaints totaling 9, followed by the Ministry of Labor with 6. Of the 9 complaints, advice/referrals were given to 3, and 6 were beyond the jurisdiction of the Ombudsman. Of the 6 complaints against the Ministry of Labor, 3 are ongoing, 2 received advice/referrals and1 was beyond the jurisdiction of the Ombudsman.

Bribery is illegal in Grenada. For the most part, the enforcement of anti-bribery laws and procedures is effective and non-discriminatory.

Grenada is not party to the OECD Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions. The country accepted and acknowledged the UN Convention against Corruption but has not yet signed or ratified it.

U.S. firms have not identified corruption as an obstacle to FDI in Grenada.

Guatemala

9. Corruption

Bribery is illegal under Guatemala’s Penal Code. Guatemala scored 25 out of 100 points on Transparency International’s 2021 Corruption Perception Index, ranking it 150 out of 180 countries globally, and 28 out of 32 countries in the region. The law provides criminal penalties for official corruption, but the Public Ministry (MP) prosecuted very few government corruption cases.

Investors find corruption pervasive in government procurement, including payment of bribes in exchange for awarding public construction contracts. Investors and importers are frequently frustrated by opaque customs transactions, particularly at ports and borders. The Tax and Customs Authority (SAT) launched a customs modernization program in 2006, which implemented an advanced electronic manifest system and resulted in the removal of many corrupt officials. However, reports of corruption within customs’ processes remain. In 2021, SAT implemented additional customs reforms that route flagged shipments to a dedicated secondary inspection team for resolution, rather than assigning the case to the original inspector. The change eliminates opportunity for an inspector to impose deliberate delays.

From 2006 to 2019, the UN-sponsored International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG) undertook numerous high-profile official corruption investigations, leading to significant indictments. For example, CICIG unveiled a customs corruption scheme in 2015 that led to the resignations of the former president and vice president. Since then-President Morales terminated CICIG in 2019 and actions by Attorney General Consuelo Porras to impede anti-corruption prosecutors, impunity has increased and poses significant risks for potential new investors.

Guatemala’s Government Procurement Law requires most government purchases over $116,363 to be submitted for public competitive bidding. Since March 2004, Guatemalan government entities are required to use Guatecompras ( https://www.guatecompras.gt/ ), an Internet-based electronic procurement system to track government procurement processes. Guatemalan government entities must also comply with government procurement commitments under CAFTA-DR. In August 2009, the Guatemalan congress approved reforms to the Government Procurement Law, which simplified bidding procedures; eliminated the fee previously charged to receive bidding documents; and provided an additional opportunity for suppliers to raise objections over the bidding process. Despite these reforms, large government procurements are often subject to appeals and injunctions based on claims of irregularities in the bidding process (e.g., documentation issues and lack of transparency). In November 2015, the Guatemalan congress approved additional amendments to the Government Procurement Law that tried to improve the transparency of the procurement processes by barring government contracts for some financers of political campaigns and parties, members of congress, other elected officials, government workers, and their immediate family members. However, there continue to be multiple allegations corruption and nepotism in the procurement process. The 2015 reforms expanded the scope of procurement oversight to include public trust funds and all institutions (including NGOs) executing public funds. The U.S. government continues to advocate for the use of open, fair, and transparent tenders in government procurement as well as procedures that comply with CAFTA-DR obligations, which would allow open participation by U.S. companies.

Guatemala ratified the U.N. Convention against Corruption in November 2006, and the Inter-American Convention against Corruption in July 2001. Guatemala is not a party to the OECD Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions. In October 2012, the Guatemalan congress approved an anti-corruption law that increased penalties for existing crimes and added new crimes such as illicit enrichment, trafficking in influence, and illegal charging of commissions.

Guinea

9. Corruption

According to Transparency International’s 2021 Corruption Perception Index, Guinea lost 13 points and was ranked 150 out of 180 countries listed.

Guinea passed an Anti-Corruption Law in 2017, and in April 2019, a former director of the Guinean Office of Advertising was sentenced to five years in prison for embezzling GNF 39 billion (approximately USD four million), though in June 2019, he was acquitted by the Appeals Court and was elected a member of the National Assembly in March 2020.  It is not clear whether the Anti-Corruption Law was used to prosecute the case.  According to a 2019 Afrobarometer survey, at least 40 percent of Guineans reported having given a government official a bribe, while a 2016 World Bank Enterprise Survey reported that of 150 firms surveyed, 48.7 percent reported that they were expected to give “gifts” to public officials to get things done, but only 7.9 percent reported having paid a bribe.

The business and political culture, coupled with low salaries, have historically combined to promote and encourage corruption.  Requests for bribes are a common occurrence.  Though it is illegal to pay bribes in Guinea, there is little enforcement of these laws.  In practice, it is difficult and time-consuming to conduct business without giving “gifts” in Guinea, leaving U.S. companies, who must comply with the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, at a disadvantage.

Although the law provides criminal penalties for corruption, the law does not extend to family members of government officials. It does include provisions for political parties.  According to the World Bank’s 2018 Worldwide Governance Indicators, corruption continues to remain a severe problem, and Guinea is in the 13th percentile, down from being in the 15th percentile in 2012.  Public funds have been diverted for private use or for illegitimate public uses, such as buying vehicles for government workers.  Land sales and business contracts generally lack transparency.

Guinea’s Anti-Corruption Agency (ANLC) is an autonomous agency established by presidential decree in 2004.  The ANLC reports directly to the President and is currently the only state agency focused solely on fighting corruption, though it has been largely ineffective in its role with no successful convictions.  The ANLC’s Bureau of Complaint Reception fields anonymous tips forwarded to the ANLC. Investigations and cases must then be prosecuted through criminal courts.  According to the ANLC, during the past year there were no prosecutions as a result of tips.  The agency is underfunded, understaffed, and lacks computers and vehicles.  The ANLC is comprised of 52 employees in seven field offices, with a budget of USD 1.1 million in 2018.

Former President Conde’s administration named corruption in both the governmental and commercial spheres as one of its top agenda items.  In November 2019, Ibrahim Magu, the acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission of Nigeria, and President Alpha Conde reached an agreement through which the Commission will assist Guinea to establish an anti-corruption agency; however, it is not clear if that meant reforming the existing anti-corruption agency or establishing a new anti-corruption agency.

In January 2021, Beny Steinmetz, an Israeli businessman and billionaire was sentenced to five years in jail in Geneva for bribing the wife of Guinea’s late President Lansana Conté to gain the rights to one of the world’s richest iron-ore deposits.  He was also ordered to pay a 50 million Swiss franc (USD 56 million) fine.  Steinmetz has long claimed to be a victim of a vast international conspiracy to deprive him of the rights to the Simandou project.  He plans to appeal his case.

Transition President COL Doumbouya created the Court to Repress Economic and Financial Crimes (CRIEF) to handle cases involving embezzlement, corruption, and misuse of public funds over one billion GNF (approximately $110,000) in December 2021.  As of April 2022, the court has focused on collecting evidence for corruption cases against businesses tied to and officials that served in former President Conde’s government.

 

A 2016 survey by the ANLC, the Open Society Initiative-West Africa (OSIWA), and Transparency International found that among private households, 61 percent of the respondents stated they were asked to pay a bribe for national services and 24 percent for local services.  Furthermore, 24 percent claimed to have paid traffic-related bribes to police, 24 percent for better medical treatment, 19 percent for better water or electricity services, and 8 percent for better judicial treatment.

Guinea is a party to the UN Anticorruption Convention.  http://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/treaties/CAC/signatories.html

Guinea is not a party to the OECD Convention on Combatting Bribery.  http://www.oecd.org/daf/anti-bribery/countryreportsontheimplementationoftheoecdanti-briberyconvention.htm

Since 2012, Guinea has had a Code for Public Procurement (Code de Marches Publics et Delegations de Service Public) that provides regulations for countering conflicts of interest in awarding contracts or in government procurements.  In 2016, the government issued a Transparency and Ethics charter for public procurement that provides the main do’s and don’ts in public procurement, highlighting avoidance of conflict of interest as a priority.  The charter also includes a template letter that companies must sign when bidding for public contracts stating that they will comply with local legislation and public procurement provisions, including practices to prevent corruption.

Since April 2020, Government of Guinea officials and family must complete the asset declaration form which is available on the Court of Audit website.

Resources to Report Corruption

Contact at the government agency or agencies that are responsible for combating corruption:

National Agency to Fight Corruption (ANLC)
Cite des Nations, Villa 20, Conakry, Guinea
Korak Bailo Sow, Permanent Secretary
+224 622 411 796
ddiallo556@gmail.com
+224 620 647 878
cc@anlcgn.org

Contact at a “watchdog” organization:

Transparency International
Dakar, Senegal
+221-33-842-40-44
forumcivil@orange.sn  

Guinea Association for Transparency
Oumar Kanah Diallo, President
+224 622 404 142
okandiallo77@gmail.com
agtguinee224@gmail.com 

Guyana

9. Corruption

The law provides criminal penalties for corrupt practices by public officials. The relevant laws enacted include the Integrity Commission Act, State Assets Recovery Act, and the Audit Act. Notably, the Integrity Commission Board expired in February 2021, with no appointments made as of March 2022. Several media outlets reported on government corruption in recent years, and it remains a significant public concern.  Guyana has regulations to counter conflict of interests in the award of contracts. Media and civil society organizations continued to criticize the government for being slow to prosecute corruption cases.  The government passed legislation in 1997 that requires public officials to disclose their assets to an Integrity Commission prior to assuming office.  There are no significant compliance programs to detect bribery of government officials. Guyana’s Integrity Commission was re-constituted in February 2018 after a 12-year hiatus, but only collects reports of asset declarations and lacks any ability to investigate suspected irregularities, complaints, or issues. The Integrity Commission can only flag asst declarations for investigation by other authorities.

Widespread concerns remain about inefficiencies and corruption regarding the awarding of contracts, particularly with respect to concerns of collusion and non-transparency.  In his 2020 annual report, the Auditor General noted continuous disregard for the procedures, rules, and the laws that govern public procurement system.  There were reports of overpayments of contracts and procurement breaches.  Nevertheless, the country has made some improvements. According to Transparency International’s 2021 Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI), Guyana ranked 87 out of 180 countries for perceptions of corruption, falling 4 spots in comparison to 2020.

Companies interested in doing business in Guyana may contact a “watchdog” organization (international, regional, local nongovernmental organization operating in the country/economy that monitors corruption, such as Transparency International) for more information:

Haiti

9. Corruption

Corruption, including bribery, raises the costs and risks of doing business in Haiti. U.S. firms have complained that corruption is a major obstacle to effective business operation in Haiti. They frequently point to requests for payment by customs officials in order to clear import shipments as examples of solicitation for bribes.

Haitian law, applicable to individuals and financial institutions, criminalizes corruption and money laundering. Bribes or attempted bribes toward a public official are a criminal act and are punishable by the criminal code (Article 173) for one to three years of imprisonment. The law also contains provisions for the forfeiture and seizure of assets. In practice, however, the law is unevenly and rarely applied.

Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index for 2021 ranked Haiti in the second lowest spot in the Americas region and 164 out of 180 countries worldwide, with a score of 20 out of 100 in perceived levels of public corruption.

The Haitian government has made some progress in enforcing public accountability and transparency, but substantive institutional reforms are still needed. In 2004, the Government of Haiti established the Anti-Corruption Commission (ULCC), but the organization lacks the necessary resources and political independence to be effective. In 2008, parliament approved the law on disclosure of assets by civil servants and high public officials prepared by ULCC, but to date, compliance has been almost nonexistent.

In February 2022, the ULCC announced the launch of the anti-Corruption circuit at the Court of Cassation. Made up of magistrates from the Courts of First Instance and Courts of Appeal of Haiti, the anti-corruption circuit aims to strengthen judicial efficiency and put an end to impunity in relation to corruption cases.

Haiti’s Superior Court of Auditors and Administrative Disputes (CSCCA) is currently one of Haiti’s few independent government institutions, responsible for reviewing draft government contracts; conducting audits of government expenditures; and clearing all government officials, including those at the political level, to manage public funds. In November 2020, however, the Haitian government published a decree limiting the authority of the Audit Court. The CSCCA had issued three reports in January 2019, May 2019, and August 2020 citing improper management practices by the Haitian government and the alleged wastage of nearly $2 billion of the Petrocaribe funds. Public anger over the Petrocaribe scandal has since burgeoned into a grassroots movement against widespread corruption in Haiti.

The CSCCA publicly calls on Haitian authorities to take measures to influence public expenditure by implementing monitoring and evaluation and consolidating investment expenditure to better assess the effectiveness of public spending. For nearly a decade, the Haitian state has faced a structural deficit in the management of its public resources. Despite many efforts undertaken to improve fiscal performance, the Haitian State is still in a situation of insufficient resources to respond to the pressures exerted on public spending.

Haiti is not a party to the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention.

Honduras

9. Corruption

In February 2022, President Castro fulfilled her campaign promise to request support from the UN for an international anti-corruption commission (CICIH).  A UN Technical Assistance Mission visited Honduras in May 2022 to begin work on the request.  The commission would continue the work started by the OAS Mission Against Corruption and Impunity in Honduras (MACCIH) which left Honduras in 2020 after the former administration failed to renew its mandate. Though details are still under discussion, the commission would likely fill an investigative and prosecutorial role similar to MACCIH. Its mandate would likely extend beyond the current administration.  Several risks remain; notably, a broad amnesty law passed in February 2022 that would prevent the commission from investigating a significant number of cases, and unclear financing for the commission.

U.S. businesses and citizens report corruption in the public sector and the judiciary is a significant constraint to investment in Honduras.  Historically, corruption has been pervasive in government procurement, issuance of government permits, customs, real estate transactions (particularly land title transfers), performance requirements, and the regulatory system.  Civil society groups are critical of recent legislation granting qualified immunity to government officials and a 2019 law that gave the highly politicized government audit agency a first look at corruption cases.  Congress repealed the latter in 2022.  In 2018, Congress passed a revision of the 1984 penal code that lowered penalties for some corruption offenses. The new code went into effect in June 2020 and was retroactively applied to several high-profile corruption cases resulting in a spate of dismissals and retrials.  In late 2020, the GOH created a new Ministry of Transparency to act as the government’s lead institution in coordinating and implementing efforts to promote transparency and integrity and prevent government corruption. The Castro government further institutionalized the ministry’s anti-corruption mandate, naming it the Ministry of Transparency and the Fight against Corruption. The Castro administration’s Government by Results initiative should pay off in decreased vulnerability to corruption, and the ministers of Health and Economic Development both signed cooperation agreements with the country’s Anticorruption Council.

Honduras’s Rankings on Key Corruption Indicators:

Measure Year Index/Ranking
TI Corruption Index 2021 23/100, 157 of 180
MCC Government Effectiveness FY 2022 -0.12 (35 percent)
MCC Rule of Law FY 2022 -0.42 (10 percent)
MCC Control of Corruption FY 2022 -0.40 (16 percent)

The United States Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) deems it unlawful for a U.S. person, and certain foreign issuers of securities to make corrupt payments to foreign public officials for the purpose of obtaining or retaining business for directing business to any person. The FCPA also applies to foreign firms and persons who take any act in furtherance of such a corrupt payment while in the United States. For more information, see the FCPA Lay-Person’s Guide:  http://www.justice.gov/criminal/fraud/  .

Honduras ratified the UN Anticorruption Convention in December 2005. The UN Convention requires countries to establish criminal penalties for a wide range of acts of corruption. The UN Convention covers a broad range of issues from basic forms of corruption such as bribery and solicitation, embezzlement, trading in influence, and the concealment and laundering of the proceeds of corruption. The UN Convention contains transnational business bribery provisions that are functionally similar to those in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development Anti-Bribery Convention.

Honduras ratified the Inter-American Convention against Corruption (OAS Convention) in1998. The OAS Convention establishes a set of preventive measures against corruption; provides for the criminalization of certain acts of corruption, including transnational bribery and illicit enrichment; and contains a series of provisions to strengthen the cooperation between its states’ parties in areas such as mutual legal assistance and technical cooperation.

Hong Kong

9. Corruption

Mainland China ratified the United Nations Convention Against Corruption in January 2006, and it was extended to Hong Kong in February 2006. The Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) is responsible for combating corruption and has helped Hong Kong develop a track record for combating corruption. U.S. firms have not identified corruption as an obstacle to FDI. A bribe to a foreign official is a criminal act, as is the giving or accepting of bribes, for both private individuals and government employees. Offenses are punishable by imprisonment and large fines.

The Hong Kong Ethics Development Center (HKEDC), established by the ICAC, promotes business and professional ethics to sustain a level-playing field in Hong Kong. The International Good Practice Guidance – Defining and Developing an Effective Code of Conduct for Organizations of the Professional Accountants in Business Committee published by the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC) and is in use with the permission of IFAC.

Hungary

9. Corruption

The Hungarian Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Interior are responsible for combating corruption.  Although a legal framework exists to support their efforts, critics have asserted that the government has done little to combat grand corruption and rarely investigates cases involving politically connected individuals, even when recommended to do so by the European Antifraud Office (OLAF). Hungary is a party to the UN Anticorruption Convention and the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention and has incorporated their provisions into the penal code, as well as subsequent OECD and EU requirements on the prevention of bribery.  Parliament passed the Strasbourg Criminal Law Convention on Corruption of 2002 and the Strasbourg Civil Code Convention on Corruption of 2004. Hungary is a member of GRECO (Group of States against Corruption), an organization established by members of Council of Europe to monitor the observance of their standards for fighting corruption.  GRECO’s reports on evaluation and compliance are confidential unless the Member State authorizes the publication of its report.  For several years, the GOH has kept confidential GRECO’s most recent compliance reports on prevention of corruption with respect to members of parliament, judges, and prosecutors, and a report on transparency of party financing.

Following calls from the opposition, NGOs, and other GRECO Member States, and a March 2019 visit by senior GRECO officials to Budapest, the GOH agreed to publish the reports in August 2019. The reports revealed that Hungary failed to meet 13 out of 18 recommendations issued by GRECO in 2015; assessed that Hungary’s level of compliance with the recommendations was “globally unsatisfactory,” and concluded that the country would therefore remain subject to GRECO’s non-compliance procedure. The compliance report on transparency of party financing noted some progress but added that “the overall picture is disappointing.” A November 2020 GRECO report came to the same conclusion, adding that Hungary had made no progress since the prior year on implementing anticorruption recommendations for MPs, judges, and prosecutors.

In December 2016, the GOH withdrew its membership in the international anti-corruption organization the Open Government Partnership (OGP).  Following a letter of concern by transparency watchdogs to OGP’s Steering Committee in summer 2015, OGP launched an investigation into Hungary and issued a critical report.  The OGP admonished the GOH for its harassment of NGOs and urged it to take steps to restore transparency and to ensure a positive operating environment for civil society. The GOH, only the second Member State to be reprimanded by the organization, rejected the OGP report conclusions and withdrew from the organization.

In recent years, the GOH has amplified its attacks on NGOs including transparency watchdogs, accusing them of acting as foreign agents and criticizing them for allegedly working against Hungarian interests.  Observers assess that this anti-NGO rhetoric endangered the continued operation of anti-corruption NGOs crucial to promoting transparency and good governance in Hungary. In 2017 and 2018, Parliament passed legislations that many civil society activists criticized for placing undue restrictions on NGOs. In its June 2018 and November 2021 rulings, the European Court of Justice found both legislations in conflict with EU law.

Transparency International (TI) is active in Hungary.  TI’s 2021 Corruption Perceptions Index rated Hungary 73 out of 180 countries.  Out of the 27 EU member states, Hungary ranked 26th, outperforming only Bulgaria. TI has noted that state institutions responsible for supervising public organizations were headed by people loyal to the ruling party, limiting their ability to serve as a check on the actions of the GOH.  TI and other watchdogs note that data on public spending remains difficult to access since the GOH amended the Act on Freedom of Information in 2013 and 2015. Moreover, according to watchdogs and investigative journalists, the GOH, state agencies, and SOEs are increasingly reluctant to answer questions related to public spending, resulting in lengthy court procedures to receive answers to questions.  Even if the court orders the release of data, by the time it happens, the data has lost significance and has a weaker impact, watchdogs warn. In some cases, even when ordered to provide information, state agencies and SOEs release data in nearly unusable or undecipherable formats.

U.S. firms – along with other investors – identify corruption as a significant problem in Hungary.  According to the World Economic Forum’s 2017 Global Competitiveness Report, businesses considered corruption as the second most important obstacle to making a successful business in Hungary.

State corruption is also high on the list of EC concerns with Hungary.  The European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) has found high levels of fraud in EU-funded projects in Hungary and has levied fines and withheld development funds on several occasions.  Over the past few years, the EC has suspended payments of EU funds several times due to irregularities in Hungary’s procurement system.

TI and other anti-corruption watchdogs have highlighted EU-funded development projects as the largest source of corruption in Hungary.  A TI study found indications of corruption and overpricing in up to 90 percent of EU-funded projects. Reports by Corruption Research Center (CRCB) from April and May 2020 found – after analyzing more than 240,000 public procurement contracts from 2005-2020 – that companies owned by individuals with links to senior government officials enjoy preferential treatment in public tenders and face less competition than other companies. The studies also revealed that the share of single-bidder public procurement contracts was over 40 percent in 2020, and that the corruption risk reached its highest level since 2005. In a March 2022 report CRCB found that in the 2011-2021 period, more than 20 percent of the EU-funded public contracts were won by 42 companies owned by 12 entrepreneurs closely affiliated with the government. In 2020, a year which was particularly difficult for many businesses because of the Covid-crisis, this small group of entrepreneurs won almost one-third of the EU-funded public tenders.

Hungary has legislation in place to combat corruption.  Giving or accepting a bribe is a criminal offense, as is an official’s failure to report such an incident.  Penalties can include confiscation of assets, imprisonment, or both. Since Hungary’s entry into the EU, legal entities can also be prosecuted.  Legislation prohibits members of parliament from serving as executives of state-owned enterprises. An extensive list of public officials and many of their family members are required to make annual declarations of assets, but there is no specified penalty for making an incomplete or inaccurate declaration.  It is common for prominent politicians to be forced to amend declarations of assets following revelations in the press of omission of ownership or part-ownership of real estate and other assets in asset declarations. Politicians are not penalized for these omissions.

Transparency advocates claim that Hungarian law enforcement authorities are often reluctant to prosecute cases with links to high-level politicians.  For example, they reported that, in November 2018, Hungarian authorities dropped the investigation into $50 million in EU-funded public lighting tenders won by a firm co-owned by a relative of the prime minister, despite concerns raised by OLAF about evidence of conflict of interest and irregularities involving the deal. According to media reports, OLAF concluded that several of the tenders were won due to what it considered organized criminal activity. In December 2021, the Prosecutor General’s Office charged a senior government politician for accepting bribes to influence cases at the request of the president of the Court Bailiff Chamber. The senior government official resigned immediately but kept his position as an MP and was left at large for the time of the investigation.

Annual asset declarations for the family members of public officials are not public and only parliamentary committees can investigate them if there is a specified suspicion of fraud.  Transparency watchdogs warn that this makes the system of asset declarations inefficient and easy to circumvent as politicians can hide assets and revenues in their family members’ names.

The Public Procurement Act of 2015 initially included broad conflict of interest rules on excluding family members of GOH officials from participating in public tenders, but Parliament later amended the law to exclude only family members living in the same household.  While considered in line with the overarching EU directive, the law still leaves room for subjective evaluations of bid proposals and tender specifications to be tailored to favored companies.

While public procurement legislation is in place and complies with EU requirements, private companies and watchdog NGOs expressed concerns about pervasive corruption and favoritism in public procurements in Hungary.  According to their criticism, public procurements in practice lack transparency and accountability and are characterized by uneven implementation of anti-corruption laws.  Additionally, transparency NGOs calculate that government-allied firms have won a disproportionate percentage of public procurement awards.  The business community and foreign governments share many of these concerns.  Multinational firms have complained that competing in public procurements presents unacceptable levels of corruption and compliance risk.  A 2019 European Commission study found that Hungary had the second-highest rate (40 percent) of one-bidder EU funded procurement contracts in the European Union.  In addition, observers have raised concerns about the appointments of Fidesz party loyalists to head quasi-independent institutions such as the Competition Authority, the Media Council, and the State Audit Office. Because it is generally understood that companies without political connections are unlikely to win public procurement contracts, many firms lacking such connections do not bid or compete against politically connected companies.

The GOH does not require private companies to establish internal codes of conduct.

Generally, larger private companies and multinationals operating in Hungary have internal codes of ethics, compliance programs, or other controls, but their efficacy is not uniform.

Resources to Report Corruption

GOH Office Responsible for Combatting Corruption:

National Protective Service
General Director Zoltan Bolcsik
Phone: +36 1 433 9711
Fax: +36 1 433 9751
E-mail: nvsz@nvsz.police.hu  

Transparency International Hungary
1055 Budapest
Falk Miksa utca 30. 4/2
Phone: +36 1 269 9534
Fax: +36 1 269 9535
E-mail: info@transparency.hu  

Iceland

9. Corruption

Isolated cases of corruption have been known to occur but are not an obstacle to foreign investment in Iceland or a recognized issue of concern in the government. In 2021 Iceland ranked 13 out of 180 economies on the Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index. Iceland has signed the UN Convention against Corruption. Iceland is a member of the OECD Convention on Combatting Bribery.

The Council of Europe body Group of States Against Corruption (GRECO) published its fifth evaluation report on Iceland on April 12, 2018. GRECO found that Iceland had no dedicated government-wide policy plan on anti-corruption and that its agency and institution-specific codes of conduct were not sufficiently detailed and were often implemented in an ad hoc manner. For more information, see the GRECO report ( https://rm.coe.int/fifth-evaluation-round-preventing-corruption-and-promoting-integrity-i/16807b8218 ). The Icelandic Parliament introduced a new law in 2020 on measures against conflict of interests for ministers, assistance to ministers, director generals at ministries, and ambassadors, concerning receiving gifts, additional job positions, and supervision of the aforementioned law.

In the wake of the financial collapse in Iceland in 2008, a Code of Conduct for Staff in the Government Offices of Iceland was established in 2012, “with the purpose of promoting professional methods and of confidence in public administration.” The code of conduct addresses workplace relations and procedures; behavior and conduct; conflicts of interest and shared interests; communication with the media, public and surveillance bodies; and responsibility and monitoring for Government Offices staff. For more information see the Government of Iceland’s website ( https://www.government.is/ministries/prime-ministers-office/code-of-conduct-for-staff/ ). The code does not extend to family members of officials or political parties.

India

9. Corruption

India is a signatory to the United Nation’s Conventions Against Corruption and is a member of the G20 Working Group against corruption. India, with a score of 40, ranked 86 among 180 countries in Transparency International’s 2020 Corruption Perception Index.

Corruption is addressed by the following laws: The Companies Act, 2013; the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002; the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988; the Code of Criminal Procedures, 1973; the Indian Contract Act, 1872; and the Indian Penal Code of 1860. Anti- corruption laws amended since 2004 have granted additional powers to vigilance departments in government ministries at the central and state levels and elevated the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) to be a statutory body. In addition, the Comptroller and Auditor General is charged with performing audits on public-private-partnership contracts in the infrastructure sector based on allegations of revenue loss to the exchequer.

Other statutes approved by parliament to tackle corruption include:

The Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Amendment Act of 2016

The Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act, 2016, enacted in 2017

The Whistleblower Protection Act, 2011 was passed in 2014 but has yet to be operationalized

The Companies Act, 2013 established rules related to corruption in the private sector by mandating mechanisms for the protection of whistleblowers, industry codes of conduct, and the appointment of independent directors to company boards. However, the government has not established any monitoring mechanism, and it is unclear the extent to which these protections have been instituted. No legislation focuses particularly on the protection of NGOs working on corruption issues, though the Whistleblowers Protection Act, 2011 may afford some protection once implemented.

In 2013, Parliament enacted the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, which created a national anti- corruption ombudsman and required states to create state-level ombudsmen within one year of the law’s passage. A national ombudsman was appointed in March 2019.

Indonesia

9. Corruption

President Jokowi was elected on a strong good-governance platform, but his performance on this remains inconsistent. Corruption remains a serious problem in the view of many, including some U.S. companies. The Indonesian government has issued detailed directions on combating corruption in targeted ministries and agencies, and the 2018 release of the updated and streamlined National Anti-Corruption Strategy mandates corruption prevention efforts across the government in three focus areas (licenses, state finances, and law enforcement reform). The Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) was established in 2002 as the lead government agency to investigate and prosecute corruption. KPK is one of the most trusted and respected institutions in Indonesia. The KPK has taken steps to encourage companies to establish effective internal controls, ethics, and compliance programs to detect and prevent bribery of public officials. By law, the KPK is authorized to conduct investigations, file indictments, and prosecute corruption cases involving law enforcement officers, government executives, or other parties connected to corrupt acts committed by those entities; attracting the “attention and the dismay” of the general public; and/or involving a loss to the state of at least IDR 1 billion (approximately USD 66,000). The government began prosecuting companies that engage in public corruption under new corporate criminal liability guidance issued in a 2016 Supreme Court regulation, with the first conviction of a corporate entity in January 2019. Giving or accepting a bribe is a criminal act, with possible fines ranging from USD 3,850 to USD 77,000 and imprisonment up to a maximum of 20 years to life, depending on the severity of the charge. Presidential decree No. 13/2018 issued in March 2018 clarifies the definition of beneficial ownership and outlines annual reporting requirements and sanctions for non-compliance.

Indonesia’s ranking in Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index in 2021 rose to 96 out of 180 countries surveyed, compared to 102 out of 180 countries in 2020. Indonesia’s score of public corruption in the country, according to Transparency International, rose to 38 in 2020 from 37 in 2020 (scale of 0/very corrupt to 100/very clean). Indonesia ranks below neighboring Timor Leste, Malaysia, and Brunei.

Corruption reportedly remains pervasive despite laws to combat it.  In September 2019, the Indonesia House of Representatives (DPR) passed Law No. 19/2019 on the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) which revised the KPK’s original charter, reducing the Commission’s independence and limiting its ability to pursue corruption investigations without political interference. The current KPK Commissioner has stated that KPK’s main role will no longer be prosecution, but education and prevention. Although there have been some notable successful prosecutions including against members of the President’s cabinet, the 2019 changes to the KPK have led to a significant decline in investigations and prosecutions.

Indonesia ratified the UN Convention against Corruption in September 2006. However, Indonesia is not yet compliant with key components of the convention, including provisions on foreign bribery. Indonesia has not yet acceded to the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention but attends meetings of the OECD Anti-Corruption Working Group. Several civil society organizations function as vocal and competent corruption watchdogs, including Transparency International Indonesia and Indonesia Corruption Watch.

Resources to Report Corruption

Komisi Pemberantasan Korupsi (Anti-Corruption Commission)
Jln. Kuningan Persada Kav 4, SetiabudiJakarta Selatan 12950
Email:  informasi@kpk.go.id 

Indonesia Corruption Watch
Jl. Kalibata Timur IV/D
No. 6 Jakarta Selatan 12740
Tel: +6221.7901885 or +6221.7994015
Email:  info@antikorupsi.org 

Iraq

9. Corruption

Iraq ranked 157 out of 180 in Transparency International’s 2021 Corruption Perception Index, a slight improvement from its ranking of 160 in 2020.  Public corruption is a major obstacle to economic development and political stability.  Corruption is pervasive in government procurement, in the awarding of licenses or concessions, dispute settlement, and customs imports and exports.

While large-scale investment opportunities exist in Iraq, public and private corruption remain a significant impediment to conducting business.  Foreign investors can expect to contend with corruption in many forms, at all levels.  While the GOI is trying to reduce procurement corruption in sectors such as electricity, oil, and gas, credible reports of corruption in government procurement are widespread, with examples ranging from bribery and kickbacks to awards involving companies connected to political leaders.  Investors may come under pressure to take on well-connected local partners to avoid systemic bureaucratic hurdles to doing business.  Similarly, there are credible reports of corruption involving large-scale problems with government payrolls, ranging from “ghost” employees and salary skimming to nepotism and patronage in personnel decisions.

Importing and exporting goods remains difficult, and bribery of or extortion by port officials is commonplace. Iraq ranked 181 out of 190 countries in the category of “Trading Across Borders” in the World Bank’s 2020 Doing Business report.

U.S. firms frequently identify corruption resulting from Iraq’s opaque business regulatory environment as a significant obstacle to FDI, particularly in government contracts and procurement, as well as performance requirements and performance bonds.  U.S. companies are obligated to follow U.S. laws such as the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA).

Several institutions have specific mandates to address corruption in Iraq.  The Commission of Integrity (COI), initially established under the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA), is an independent government agency responsible for pursuing anti-corruption investigations, upholding the enforcement of laws, and preventing crime.  The COI investigates government corruption allegations and refers completed cases to the Iraqi judiciary.

After an unsuccessful Inspector General program, the GOI attempted several anti-corruption initiatives from 2004-2022.  However, anti-corruption oversight remains with the Board of Supreme Audit (BSA), established in 1927.  BSA is an analogue to the U.S. government’s General Accountability Office.  It is a financially and administratively independent body that derives its authority from Law 31 of 2011, the Law of the Board of Supreme Audit.  It is charged with fiscal and regulatory oversight of all publicly funded bodies in Iraq and auditing all federal revenues, including any revenues received from the IKR.

The Kurdistan Board of Supreme Audit is responsible for auditing regional revenues with IKP and GOI oversight.  The IKP established a regional Commission of increasing its jurisdiction in 2014 to include other branches of the KRG and money laundering.  In 2021, the IKP ordered the establishment of a Kurdistan Anti-Corruption Court.  However, the KRG has not implemented the order, which falls to the Judicial Council.

Iraq is a party but not a signatory to the UN Anticorruption Convention.  Iraq is not a party to the OECD Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions.

Ireland

9. Corruption

Corruption is not a serious problem for foreign investors in Ireland. The principal Irish legislation relating to anti-bribery and corruption is the Criminal Justice (Corruption Offences) Act of 2018. The Act consolidates all previous legislation for the prevention of corruption. The legislation makes it illegal for Irish public servants to accept bribes. The Ethics in Public Office Act, 1995, provides for the written annual disclosure of interests of people holding public office or employment.

The law on corruption in Ireland gives effect in domestic law to the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention and other conventions concerning criminal corruption and corruption involving officials of the European Union and officials of EU member states. Irish legislation ensures there are strong penalties in place with prison terms of up to ten years and an ‘unlimited’ fine, for those found guilty of offenses under the Act, including convictions of bribery of foreign public officials by Irish nationals and companies that takes place outside of Ireland.

Irish police (An Garda Siochana, or Garda) investigate all allegations of corruption. The Director of Public Prosecutions is responsible for preparing files for prosecution, on detection of sufficient evidence of criminal activity. The government has, in the past, convicted a small number of public officials for corruption and/or bribery. In 1996, Ireland established the Criminal Asset Bureau (CAB), an independent body responsible for seizing illegally acquired assets. CAB has the powers to focus on the illegally acquired assets of criminals involved in organized crime by identifying criminally acquired assets of persons and taking the appropriate action to deny such people of these assets. Any CAB action is primarily taken through the application of the Proceeds of Crime Act, 1996 legislation. Ireland is a member of the Camden Asset Recovery Inter-Agency Network (CARIN).

UN Anticorruption Convention, OECD Convention on Combatting Bribery

Ireland signed the UN Convention on Corruption in December 2003 and ratified it in 2011. Ireland is also a participating member of the OECD Working Group on Bribery.

Resources to Report Corruption
Government agency responsible for combating corruption:

Department of Justice and Equality, Crime and Security Directorate
94 St. Stephen’s Green
Dublin 2
Telephone: + 353 1 602-8202
E-mail: info@justice.ie 
Website: www.justice.ie 

Contact at Transparency International:

John Devitt
Chief Executive

Transparency International
Floor 2
69 Middle Abbey St
Dublin 2
Telephone: +353 1 554 3938
E-mail: Admin@transparency.ie 

 

Israel

9. Corruption

Bribery and other forms of corruption are illegal under several Israeli laws and Civil Service regulations. Israel is a signatory to the OECD Convention on Combatting Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions. Israel ranks 36 out of 175 countries in Transparency International’s 2021 Corruption Perceptions Index, dropping one place from its 2020 ranking. Several Israeli NGOs focus on public sector ethics in Israel and Transparency International has a local chapter.

The Israeli National Police, state comptroller, Attorney General, and Accountant General are responsible for combating official corruption. These entities operate effectively and independently and are sufficiently resourced. NGOs that focus on anticorruption efforts operate freely without government interference.

Italy

9. Corruption

Jamaica

9. Corruption

Jamaican law provides criminal penalties for corruption by public officials, however, there is at least circumstantial evidence that some officials engage in corrupt practice.  There were also reports of government corruption in the last couple years and it remained a significant cause of public concern.  Media and civil society organizations continued to criticize the government for being slow and at times reluctant to tackle corruption.

Under the Corruption Prevention Act, public servants can be imprisoned for up to 10 years and fined as much as USD 100,000 if found guilty of engaging in acts of bribery, including bribes to foreign public officials.  

In 2017, Jamaica passed an Integrity Commission Act that consolidated three agencies with anti-corruption mandates into a single entity, the Integrity Commission, which now has limited prosecutorial powers.  The three agencies are the precursor Integrity Commission, which received and monitored statutory declarations from parliamentarians; the Office of the Contractor General (OCG), which monitored government contracts; and the Commission for the Prevention of Corruption, which received the financial filings of specified public servants.  A key area of concern for corruption is in government procurement.  However, successful prosecutions – particularly for high-level corruption – are rare.  Three Ministers of government demitted office between 2018 and March 2022, in the wake of corruption allegations.

Corruption, and its apparent linkages with organized crime, appear to be one of the root causes of Jamaica’s high crime rate and economic stagnation.  In 2021, Transparency International gave Jamaica a score of 44 out of a possible 100 on the Corruption Perception Index (CPI). 

Japan

9. Corruption

Japan’s penal code covers crimes of official corruption, and an individual convicted under these statutes is, depending on the nature of the crime, subject to prison sentences and possible fines. With respect to corporate officers who accept bribes, Japanese law also provides for company directors to be subject to fines and/or imprisonment, and some judgments have been rendered against company directors.

The direct exchange of cash for favors from government officials in Japan is extremely rare. However, the web of close relationships between Japanese companies, politicians, government organizations, and universities has been criticized for fostering an inwardly “cooperative”—or insular—business climate that is conducive to the awarding of contracts, positions, etc. within a tight circle of local players. This phenomenon manifests itself most frequently and seriously in Japan through the rigging of bids on government public works projects. However, instances of bid rigging appear to have decreased over the past decade. Alleged bid rigging between construction companies was discovered on the Tokyo-Nagoya-Osaka maglev high-speed rail project in 2017, and the case was prosecuted in March 2018.

Japan’s Act on Elimination and Prevention of Involvement in Bid-Rigging authorizes the Japan Fair Trade Commission to demand that central and local government commissioning agencies take corrective measures to prevent continued complicity of officials in bid rigging activities and to report such measures to the JFTC. The Act also contains provisions concerning disciplinary action against officials participating in bid rigging and compensation for overcharges when the officials caused damage to the government due to willful or grave negligence. Nevertheless, questions remain as to whether the Act’s disciplinary provisions are strong enough to ensure officials involved in illegal bid rigging are held accountable.

Japan ratified the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) Anti-Bribery Convention, which bans bribing foreign government officials, in 1999. Japan detected only 46 allegations of foreign bribery, half of which the OECD brought to Japan’s attention, through 2019.

For vetting potential local investment partners, companies may review credit reports on foreign companies available from many private-sector sources, including, in the United States, Dun & Bradstreet and Graydon International.  Additionally, a company may inquire about the International Company Profile (ICP), which is a background report on a specific foreign company that is prepared by the U.S. Commercial Service at the U.S. Embassy, Tokyo.

Jordan

9. Corruption

Courts convicted a former Minister of Public Works and Housing, Customs Director General, and several local elected officials for corruption in separate trials during 2021. In September 2021, the State Security Court issued verdicts in a case related to the illegal production and smuggling of tobacco. A three-judge panel convicted 23 defendants and sentenced the chief suspect to 20 years’ imprisonment. The judges also acquitted four defendants and dismissed charges on two defendants who died during the trial. The verdict was subject to appeal at the Court of Cassation. The State Security Court also imposed fines of JD 179 million ($252 million) on multiple defendants in the case, requiring additional hearings.

Jordan was the first Middle Eastern country to sign and ratify the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) in 2005. In 2006, Jordan issued a code of conduct for the public sector, enacted an Illicit Gains Law, and Anti-Corruption Law. Jordanian law defines corruption as any act that violates official duties, all acts related to favoritism and nepotism that could deprive others from their legitimate rights, economic crimes, and misuse of power.

The Illicit Gains Law requires designated officials, their spouses, and minor children to file financial disclosures with the Integrity and Anti-Corruption Commission (IACC). Designated officials include the prime minister, cabinet members, members of parliament, senior government officials, as well as municipal-level council members and executives.

In 2019, Parliament amended the IACC Law granting the IACC more authority to access asset disclosure filings of officials exhibiting unexplained wealth. The amendment empowers the commission to request asset seizures, international travel bans, and suspension of officials under investigation for corruption. The amendment also increases the IACC’s administrative autonomy by enabling the commission to update its own regulations and protecting IACC board members and the chairperson from arbitrary dismissal.

In 2018, the government issued the Code of Governance Practices of Policies and Legislative Instruments in Government Departments, to improve the predictability of legal and regulatory framework governing the business environment.

A new Audit Bureau Law was enacted in 2018 to strengthen audit performance, capacity and independence in line with International Organization of Supreme Audit Institutions (INTOSAI) standards. Other related laws include the Penal/Criminal Code, Anti-Money Laundering Law, Right to Access Information Law, and the Economic Crimes Law.

Jordan is not a party to the OECD Convention on Combatting Bribery.

Kazakhstan

9. Corruption

Kazakhstan’s rating in Transparency International’s 2021 Corruption Perceptions Index is 37/100, where 100 is very clean and 0 is highly corrupt. According to Transparency International, the January civil unrest underscored the dangers of ignoring corruption. The Anti-Corruption Agency has focused on sectors like agriculture and healthcare, leaving out the largest industries. President Tokayev announced in January that the government would do more to combat corruption. Within months, several investigations began against wealthy and powerful individuals, including relatives of First President Nazarbayev.

According to the State Department’s Human Rights Report, the government selectively prosecuted officials who committed abuses, especially in high-profile corruption cases. Nonetheless, corruption remained widespread, and impunity existed for many in positions of authority as well as for those connected to law enforcement entities. The law provides criminal penalties for corruption by officials, but the government did not implement the law effectively. Corruption was widespread in the executive branch, law enforcement agencies, local government administrations, the education system, and the judiciary, according to human rights NGOs. Journalists and advocates for fiscal transparency report frequent harassment and administrative pressure.

The Criminal Code imposes criminal liability and punishment for corruption, forbids suspended sentences for corruption-related crimes, and provides for lifelong bans on employment in the civil service with mandatory forfeiture of title, rank, grade, and state awards for those convicted of corruption-related crimes. The Law on Public Service mandates public servants adhere to rule of law principles including anti-corruption and professionalism of civil service. However, the Law on the First President of the Republic of Kazakhstan—Leader of the Nation establishes blanket immunity for First President Nursultan Nazarbayev and members of his household from arrest, detention, search, or interrogation.

Kazakhstan’s Anti-Corruption Agency prepares an annual report on countering corruption. Kazakhstan ratified the UN Convention against Corruption. It participates in the Istanbul Anti-Corruption Action Plan of the OECD Anti-Corruption Network, the International Association of Anti-Corruption Agencies, and the International Counter-Corruption Council of CIS member-states. Kazakhstan is a member of the Group of States against Corruption (GRECO).

Corruption continues to be observed in nearly all sectors, including extractive industries, infrastructure projects, state procurements, and banking. The International Finance Corporation’s Enterprise Survey for Kazakhstan, conducted in 2019 with over 1,400 small, medium, and large enterprises, found that 12 percent of respondents had experienced at least one bribe payment request across six different transactions including paying taxes, obtaining permits or licenses, and obtaining utility connections.

Kenya

9. Corruption

Corruption is pervasive and entrenched in Kenya and international corruption rankings reflect its modest progress over the last decade.  The Transparency International (TI) 2021 Global Corruption Perception Index ranked Kenya 128 out of 180 countries, its second-best ranking, and a marked improvement from its 2011 rank of 145 out of 176.  Kenya’s score of 30, however, remained below the global average of 43 and below the sub-Saharan Africa average of 33.  TI cited lack of political will, limited progress in prosecuting corruption cases, and the slow pace of reform in key sectors as the primary drivers of Kenya’s relatively low ranking.  Corruption has been an impediment to FDI, with local media reporting allegations of high-level corruption related to health, energy, ICT, and infrastructure contracts.  Numerous reports have alleged that corruption influenced the outcome of government tenders, and some U.S. firms assert that compliance with the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act significantly undermines their chances of winning public procurements.

In 2018, President Kenyatta began a public campaign against corruption.  While GOK agencies mandated to fight corruption have been inconsistent in coordinating activities, particularly regarding cases against senior officials, cabinet, and other senior-level arrests in 2019 and 2020 suggested a renewed commitment by the GOK to fight corruption.  In 2020, the judiciary convicted a member of parliament to 67 years in jail or a fine of KES 707 million (approximately USD 7 million) for defrauding the government of KES 297 million (approximately USD 2.9 million).  The Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC), in 2019, secured 44 corruption-related convictions, the highest number of convictions in a single year in Kenya’s history.  The EACC also recovered assets totaling more than USD 28 million in 2019 – more than the previous five years combined.  Despite these efforts, much work remains to battle corruption in Kenya.

Relevant legislation and regulations include the Anti-Corruption and Economic Crimes Act (2003), the Public Officers Ethics Act (2003), the Code of Ethics Act for Public Servants (2004), the Public Procurement and Disposal Act (2010), the Leadership and Integrity Act (2012), and the Bribery Act (2016).  The Access to Information Act (2016) also provides mechanisms through which private citizens can obtain information on government activities; however, government agencies’ compliance with this act remains inconsistent.  The EACC monitors and enforces compliance with the above legislation.

The Leadership and Integrity Act (2012) requires public officers to register potential conflicts of interest with the relevant commissions.  The law identifies interests that public officials must register, including directorships in public or private companies, remunerated employment, securities holdings, and contracts for supply of goods or services, among others.  The law requires candidates seeking appointment to non-elective public offices to declare their wealth, political affiliations, and relationships with other senior public officers.  This requirement is in addition to background screening on education, tax compliance, leadership, and integrity.

The law requires that all public officials, and their spouses and dependent children under age 18, declare their income, assets, and liabilities every two years.  Information contained in these declarations is not publicly available, and requests to obtain and publish this information must be approved by the relevant commission.  Any person who publishes or makes public information contained in a public officer’s declarations without permission may be subject to fine or imprisonment.

The Access to Information Act (2016) requires government entities, and private entities doing business with the government, to proactively disclose certain information, such as government contracts, and comply with citizens’ requests for government information.  The act also provides a mechanism to request a review of the government’s failure to disclose requested information, along with penalties for failures to disclose.  The act exempts certain information from disclosure on grounds of national security.  However, the GOK has yet to issue the act’s implementing regulations and compliance remains inconsistent.

The private sector-supported Bribery Act (2016) stiffened penalties for corruption in public tendering and requires private firms participating in such tenders to sign a code of ethics and develop measures to prevent bribery.  Both the constitution and the Access to Information Act (2016) provide protections to NGOs, investigative journalism, and individuals involved in investigating corruption.  The Witness Protection Act (2006) establishes protections for witnesses in criminal cases and created an independent Witness Protection Agency.  A draft Whistleblowers Protection Bill has been stalled in Parliament since 2016.

President Kenyatta directed government ministries, departments, and agencies to publish all information related to government procurement to enhance transparency and combat corruption.  While compliance is improving, it is not yet universal.  The information is published online (https://tenders.go.ke/website/contracts/Index).

Kenya is a signatory to the UN Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC) and in 2016 published the results of a peer review process on UNCAC compliance:  (https://www.unodc.org/documents/treaties/UNCAC/CountryVisitFinalReports/2015_09_28_Kenya_Final_Country_Report.pdf).  Kenya is also a signatory to the UN Anticorruption Convention and the OECD Convention on Combatting Bribery, and a member of the Open Government Partnership.  Kenya is not a signatory to the OECD Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions.  Kenya is also a signatory to the East African Community’s Protocol on Preventing and Combating Corruption.

Kosovo

9. Corruption

Opinion polls attest to the public perception that corruption is widespread in public procurement and local and international businesses regularly cite corruption, especially in the form of political interference, as one of Kosovo’s largest obstacles to attracting investment. Kosovo has enacted strong legislation to combat corruption, but the government has thus far been unsuccessful in efforts to investigate, prosecute, jail, and confiscate the assets of corrupt individuals. The government has enacted other measures to address corruption, including a requirement to conduct all public procurement electronically and to publish the names of contract winners. The Anti-Corruption Agency and the Office of Auditor General are the government agencies mandated to fight corruption.

The Law on Prevention of Conflict of Interest and Discharge in Public Function as well as the Law on Declaration, Origin, and Control of Property of Public Officials are intended to combat nepotism. They require senior public officials and their family members to disclose their property and its origins. The Criminal Code also punishes bribery and corruption.

The U.S. Embassy in Pristina is unaware of any government activity to encourage private companies to establish internal codes of conduct, or off local industry or non-profit groups that offer services for vetting potential local investment partners.

In 2016, the Kosovo Assembly approved amendments to the Law on Anti-Money Laundering. The EU-compliant law supported Kosovo’s membership in the Egmont Group, a network of 152 Financial Intelligence Units (FIU) where the members exchange expertise to combat money laundering and terrorist financing. Money laundering is believed to be most common in the real estate and construction sectors. Kosovo’s FIU is an independent governmental agency that leads Kosovo’s efforts to investigate economic crimes.

U.S. companies operating in Kosovo must adhere to Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) requirements. Kosovo participated in 2013 as an observer member in the anti-corruption conference organized by the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC) and has attended several international conferences on anti-corruption with the support of the Council of Europe and UNDP. Kosovo’s laws protect NGOs that investigate corruption.

Kuwait

9. Corruption

In recent years, Kuwaiti authorities have increased their focus on combatting corruption and several investigations and trials involving current or former government officials accused of malfeasance are active.

Transparency International’s 2021 Corruption Perceptions Index ranked Kuwait 73 out of 180 countries, an improvement from 78 in 2020.  Kuwait ranked behind all other GCC countries except for Bahrain.  According to Transparency International, Kuwait’s numeric score is 43 out of 100.

The often-lengthy procurement process in Kuwait occasionally results in accusations of attempted bribery or the offering of other inducements by bidders.  In 1996, the government passed Law No. 25, which required all companies securing contracts with the government valued at KD 100,000 (USD 330,000) or more to report all payments made to Kuwaiti agents or advisors while securing the contract.  The law similarly requires entities and individuals to report any payments they received as compensation for securing government contracts.

Kuwait signed the UN Convention Against Corruption in 2003 and ratified it in 2007.  In 2016, the National Assembly passed legislation to establish the Anti-Corruption Authority, also known as Nazaha (integrity).  The legislation was passed to comply with the United Nations Convention Against Corruption. Nazaha has sent several cases to the Public Prosecution Office for failure to comply with financial disclosure requirements.

Kyrgyz Republic

9. Corruption

Corruption remains a serious problem at all levels of Kyrgyz society and in all sectors of the economy.  All companies are recommended to establish internal codes of conduct, above all, to prohibit the bribery of public officials. There are laws criminalizing the giving and accepting of bribes, establishing penalties ranging from a small administrative fine to a prison sentence. However, the government’s enforcement of anti-corruption legislation has been notoriously uneven and often politically motivated.

According to Transparency International’s 2021 Corruption Perception Index, the Kyrgyz Republic ranked 144 out of 180 countries with a score of 27 out of 100 – a lower ranking than 2020 (124) and below the global average score of 43. Kyrgyz politicians and citizens alike are aware of the systemic corruption, but the problem has been difficult to fight. Moreover, many in the Kyrgyz Republic view paying of bribes as the most efficient way to receive government assistance and many, albeit indirectly, gain benefits from corrupt practices. The Kyrgyz Republic is a signatory of the UN Anticorruption Convention but is not party to the OECD Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions. Since 2020, the State Committee on National Security (GKNB) has arrested and detained dozens of public figures including former ministers and current and former members of parliament on suspicion of corruption, most of whom were released after paying a fine. In 2021, the government launched an extensive corruption investigation against former government officials involved in past deals with Centerra Gold related to the Kumtor gold mine. The investigation is ongoing. In recent years, including in 2022, anti-corruption campaigners and Kyrgyz journalists involved in investigating corruption have been subject to intimidation and physical assault, as well as detention on unrelated charges. Such incidents are rarely investigated thoroughly by law enforcement.

In October 2020, the government instituted a policy of “economic amnesty” for corruption, if the perpetrator returns stolen assets. The legality of such amnesty has been disputed by international experts, and a number of high-profile arrests have resulted in swift release following payment of fines. The government is still considering legislation to legalize illicit assets:  a working group is currently developing draft laws that would allow individuals to avoid criminal liability for any assets they declare to the government, order the destruction of any financial disclosure statements filed in the past, and end publication of future financial disclosure statements.

President Japarov established the Anti-Corruption Business Council by decree in July 2021, to develop a strategy and action plan to institute government-wide policies to combat systemic corruption (still in draft form as of March 18, 2021). The President is the Chair of the Council and Nuripa Mukanova is the Secretary General. Its membership is comprised of government officials, business associations, representatives from the diplomatic community, NGOs, and development partners.

U.S. companies seeking to do business in the Kyrgyz Republic, regardless of their size, should assess the business climate in the relevant sector in which they will be operating or investing, and conduct due diligence to ensure full compliance with measures to prevent and detect corruption, including bribery. U.S. individuals and firms operating or investing in foreign markets should take the time to become familiar with the relevant anticorruption laws of both the Kyrgyz Republic and the United States in order to properly comply with them, and where appropriate, should seek the advice of legal counsel.

Laos

9. Corruption

Corruption is a serious problem in Laos that affects all levels of the economy. The Lao government has developed several anti-corruption laws, but enforcement remains weak. When he assumed office in early 2016, then Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith focused on government anti-corruption efforts. Lao media and the National Assembly now regularly report on corruption challenges and the sacking or disciplining of corrupt officials. In September 2009, Laos ratified the United Nations Convention against Corruption. In March 2021, Thongloun was named President of the Lao PDR. He and newly appointed Prime Minister PhankhamViphavanh indicated they will continue to prioritize good governance in their new administration. Laos is ranked 128th out of 180 countries on Transparency International’s 2021 Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI), advancing six spots since 2020.

Domestic and international firms have repeatedly identified corruption as a problem in the business environment and a major detractor for international firms exploring investment or business activities in the local market.

The Lao State Inspection and Anti-Corruption Authority (SIAA), an independent, ministry-level body, oversees analyzing corruption at the national level and serves as a central office for gathering evidence of suspected corruption. Additionally, each ministry and province has a SIAA office independent from the organization in which it is housed. These SIAA offices feed into the SIAA’s central system.

According to Lao law, both giving and accepting bribes are criminal acts punishable by fine and/or imprisonment. Nonetheless, foreign businesses frequently cite corruption as an obstacle to operating in Laos. Often characterized as a fee for urgent service, officials commonly accept bribes for the purpose of approving or expediting applications. Laos is not a signatory to the OECD Convention on Combating Bribery.

In 2014, an asset declaration regime entered into force for government officials, which required them to declare income, assets, and debts for themselves and their family members; this was further strengthened in 2017 and 2018. Officials are now required to file a declaration on any assets valued over $2,500, including land, structures, vehicles, and equipment, as well as cash, gold, and financial instruments. These declarations are reportedly held privately and securely by the government. If a corruption complaint is made against an official, the SIAA can compare the sealed declaration with the official’s current wealth. Whether this program has worked or is working remains unclear.

Resources to Report Corruption

Contact at government agency or agencies responsible for combating corruption:

Mr. ViengkeoPhonasa
Director General
AntiCorruption Department, State Inspection and AntiCorruption Authority
Sivilay Village, Xaythany District, Vientiane Capital, 13th South Road
Tel: office: 021 715032; Fax: 021 715006; cell: 020 2222 5432

Latvia

9. Corruption

Latvian law enforcement institutions, foreign business representatives, and non-governmental organizations have identified corruption and the perception of corruption as persistent problems in Latvia. According to the 2021 Corruption Perception Index by Transparency International, Latvia ranks 36th out of 180 countries (in order from the lowest perceived level of public sector corruption to the highest).

To strengthen its anti-corruption programs, the Latvian government has adopted several laws and regulations, including the Law on the Prevention of Money Laundering and Terrorism and Proliferation Financing and the Law on Prevention of Conflicts of Interest in the Work of Public Officials. The Conflicts of Interest Law imposes restrictions and requirements on public officials and their relatives. Several provisions of the law deal with the previously widespread practice of holding several positions simultaneously, often in both the public and private sector. The law includes a comprehensive list of state and municipal jobs that cannot be combined with additional employment. Moreover, the law expanded the scope of the term state official to include members of boards and councils of companies with state or municipal capital exceeding 50 percent. Additionally, Latvia is a member of the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention and the Council of Europe’s Group of States Against Corruption (FRECO). In line with OECD and GRECO recommendations, the government is working to strengthen anti-corruption policy and enforcement while improving the functioning of the independent Corruption Prevention and Combatting Bureau (KNAB).

Under Latvian law, it is a crime to offer, accept, or facilitate a bribe. Although the law stipulates heavy penalties for bribery, a limited number of government officials have been prosecuted and convicted of corruption to date. The law also provides the possibility of withdrawing charges against a person giving a bribe in cases where the bribe has been extorted or in cases where the person voluntarily reports these incidents and actively assists the investigation. In addition, the Latvian government has adopted a whistleblower law that requires all government agencies and large companies to establish protocols to accept whistleblower disclosures and protect whistleblowers from reprisals.

KNAB is the institution with primary responsibility for preventing and combating corruption and carrying out enforcement activities in response to suspected or alleged corruption. It is subordinated to the Cabinet of Ministers and supervised by the Prime Minister.

KNAB has also established a Public Consultative Council to help increase public participation in implementing its anti-corruption policies, increasing public awareness, and strengthening connections between the agency and the public. More information is available at: https://www.knab.gov.lv/en/knab/consultative/public/ . The Prosecutor General’s Office also plays an important role in fighting corruption.

There is a perceived lack of fairness and transparency in the public procurement process in Latvia. Several companies, including foreign companies, have complained that bidding requirements are sometimes written with the assistance of potential contractors or couched in terms that exclude all but preferred contractors.

A Cabinet of Ministers regulation provides for public access to government information, and the government generally provided citizens such access. There have been no reports the government has denied noncitizens or foreign media access to government information.

Lebanon

9. Corruption

U.S. firms have identified corruption as an obstacle to FDI, including in government procurement, award of contracts, dispute resolution, customs, and taxation.  A key demand of the anti-government protest movement that led to resignation of the previous government in October 2019 was stricter anti-corruption measures. Corruption is reportedly more pervasive in government contracts (primarily in procurement and public works), taxation, and real estate registration, than in private sector transactions.  Lebanese law provides criminal penalties for official corruption, but they are not implemented effectively.  For instance, Lebanon does not effectively enforce its Illicit Wealth Law.  The Illicit Wealth Law applies to all state employees, government and senior officials, and municipality members and extends to family members. The law does not extend to political parties.  The legislation has articles to counter conflict-of interest in awarding contracts and government procurement, but they are not enforced. An amendment to this law from October 2020 obliges the declaration of wealth every three years. The Access to Information Law is not effectively implemented.

In April 2020, Parliament approved several laws seen as key to anti-corruption efforts: an anti-corruption law targeting public sector employee and creating a National Committee to Combat Corruption, and a law to lift immunity of (low-level) public service employees. Implementations of these laws will be critical to their success. In January 2022, the government appointed six commissioners to the National Anti-Corruption Commission. In May 2020, the government approved its National Anti-Corruption Strategy, while Parliament approved a law allowing the committee and Lebanon’s Financial Intelligence Unit to lift bank secrecy for top government officials. It also approved a law changing appointments of top civil servants to a merit-based system. In December 2020, Parliament approved lifting bank secrecy for one year for all those who have dealt with the public sector. Parliament extended this law for an additional year in February 2022. Parliament also passed a landmark public procurement law in June 2021, which will create a new public procurement authority and publish public tenders online. However, implementation remains key to determining how these laws will combat entrenched corruption.

Lebanon ratified the UN Anticorruption Convention in April 2009.  Lebanon is not a signatory to the OECD Convention on Combatting Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions.

As for civil society, the Lebanese Transparency Association (LTA) is a key advocate for stronger anti-corruption enforcement. The LTA also established the Lebanese Advocacy and Legal Advice Center (LALAC) to inform citizens of their rights and to encourage victims and witnesses to take action against cases of corruption.  LALAC operates a hotline for victims and witnesses to report cases of corruption and receive free legal advice and assistance with their case.  The program is currently funded by Transparency International (TI) and the German Foreign Office.  LTA also conducted several workshops targeting municipalities, public servants, investigative journalists, and civil society groups promoting access to information right in Lebanon.

Resources to Report Corruption

Lebanese Transparency Association

Sami El Solh Avenue, Kaloot Bldg, 9th Floor
Badaro, Beirut
P.O. Box 50-552, Lebanon
Tel/Fax: +961-1-388113/4/5
Cell: 70-035777
Email: info@transparency-lebanon.org  

Lesotho

9. Corruption

Lesotho’s Directorate on Corruption and Economic Offences (DCEO) is mandated to prevent and to combat corruption.  The country has laws, regulations, and penalties to combat corruption of public officials.  Parliament passed anticorruption legislation in 1999 that provides criminal penalties for official corruption.  The DCEO is the primary anticorruption organ and investigates corruption complaints against public sector officials.  The Amendment of Prevention of Corruption and Economic Offences Act of 2006 enacted the first financial disclosure laws for public officials.  On February 5, 2016, the government issued regulations to initiate implementation of the financial disclosure laws for public officials who must file their declarations annually by April 30.  The law may also be applied to private citizens if deemed necessary by the DCEO.  The law prohibits direct or indirect bribery of public officials, including payments to family members of officials and political parties.  On June 25, 2020, the parliament passed the amendment on Prevention of Corruption and Economic Offences Act of 2006, which will allow the DCEO to investigate money laundering issues beyond national boundaries. This amendment provides the DCEO with the power to work together with similar institutions from other countries in combating corruption.

The Money Laundering and Proceeds of Crime Act of 2008 (amended in 2017) and Public Financial Management and Accountability Act of 2011 serve as additional anti-corruption laws.  The Prevention of Corruption and Economic Offences Act (section 14 (1)) and Public Procurement Regulations of 2007 have provisions that address conflicts-of-interest in awarding government procurement contracts.  Section 6 (g) (h) (i) of the Prevention of Corruption and Economic Offences Act of 1999 encourages private companies to develop internal controls to prevent corruption.  Corruption is most pervasive in government procurement, awarding licenses, and customs fraud.

While the GOKL has made significant efforts to implement its laws, many officials continue to engage in corruption with impunity.  The DCEO claims it cannot effectively undertake its mission because it lacks adequate resources. The country does not have instruments to protect NGOs investigating corruption. Corruption is pervasive in government procurement, provision of licenses, work permits, and residence permits. The 2020 Afrobarometer survey reflected increasing perceptions of government official corruption from 28% in 2017 to 46% in 2020. The study also showed increasing perception of members of parliament corruption increasing from 22% in 2017 to 45% in 2020.

To prevent corruption and economic offences, the DCEO encourages companies to establish internal codes of conduct that, among other things, prohibit bribery of public officials.  Many companies have effective internal controls, ethics, and programs to detect and prevent bribery.

No U.S. firms have identified corruption as an obstacle to foreign direct investment in Lesotho.  Giving or accepting a bribe is a criminal act under the Prevention of Corruption and Economic Offences Act of 2006, the penalty for which is a minimum of 10,000 maloti (USD 667) or 10 years imprisonment.  Local companies cannot deduct a bribe to a foreign official from taxes.

UN Anticorruption Convention, OECD Convention on Combatting Bribery

Lesotho acceded to the UN Anticorruption Convention in 2005, but it is not yet a signatory to the OECD Convention on Combating Bribery.  Lesotho acceded to the African Union Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption in 2003.  The country is also a member of the Southern African Development Community Protocol against corruption, the Southern African Forum against corruption, the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM), and the Eastern and Southern Africa Anti-Money Laundering Group (ESAAMLG).

Liberia

9. Corruption

Liberia has laws against economic sabotage, mismanagement of funds, bribery, and other corruption-related acts, including conflicts of interest. However, Liberia suffers from corruption in both the public and private sectors. The government does not implement its laws effectively and consistently, and there have been numerous reports of corruption by public officials, including some in positions of responsibility for fighting corrupt practices. On December 9, 2021, the United States Treasury Department sanctioned Nimba County Senator Prince Yormie Johnson under the Global Magnitsky Act for personally enriching himself through pay-for-play funding schemes with government ministries and organizations. In 2021, Liberia ranked 136 out of 180 countries on Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index . See http://www.transparency.org/research/cpi/overview .

The  Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission     (LACC) currently cannot directly prosecute corruption cases without first referring cases to the  Ministry of Justice     (MOJ) for prosecution. If the MOJ does not prosecute within 90 days, the LACC may then take those cases to court, although it has not exercised this right to date. The LACC continues to seek public support for the establishment of a specialized court to exclusively try corruption cases.

In October 2021 the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC), with the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA) and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), launched “The Anti-Corruption Innovation Initiative Project.” LACC will hire at least 15 officers around the country who will report on corruption to the LACC. LACC is also developing a national digital platform for the public to report corruption.

Foreign investors generally report that corruption is most pervasive in government procurement, contract and concession awards, customs and taxation systems, regulatory systems, performance requirements, and government payments systems.  Multinational firms often report paying fees not stipulated in investment agreements. Private companies do not have generally agreed and structured internal controls, ethics, or compliance programs to detect and prevent bribery of public officials. No laws explicitly protect NGOs that investigate corruption.

Liberia is signatory to the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Protocol on the Fight against Corruption, the African Union Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption (AUCPCC), and the UN Convention against Corruption (UNCAC), but Liberia’s association with these conventions has done little to reduce rampant government corruption.

Libya

9. Corruption

Foreign firms have identified corruption as an obstacle to FDI; corruption is pervasive in virtually all sectors of the economy, especially in government procurement. Officials frequently engage with impunity in corrupt practices such as graft, bribery, nepotism, money laundering, human smuggling, and other criminal activities. Although Libyan law provides some criminal penalties for corruption by officials, the government does not enforce the law effectively. Internal conflict and the weakness of public institutions further undermine enforcement. No financial disclosure laws, regulations, or codes of conduct require income and asset disclosure by appointed or elected officials.

The Libyan Audit Bureau, the highest financial regulatory authority in the country, has made minimal efforts to improve transparency. The Audit Bureau has investigated mismanagement at the General Electricity Company of Libya that had lowered production and led to acute power cuts. Other economic institutions such as the Ministry of Finance and the Central Bank published some economic data during the year.

Libya has signed and ratified the UN Anticorruption Convention. It is not party to the OECD Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions.

Lithuania

9. Corruption

A 2019 Eurobarometer study on Businesses’ attitudes towards corruption in the EU shows that corruption is becoming less of an obstacle for business in Lithuania. Only 15 percent of business executives identified corruption as a problem in Lithuania, twice fewer than in 2015. Out of 27 EU countries, Lithuania was ranked seventh for corruption being the least pressing issue in business. Additionally, the Lithuanian Map of Corruption 2019 survey initiated by the Special Investigations Service (STT) – Lithuania’s anti-corruption law enforcement agency – also showed the positive anti-corruption trends in business environment over the past decades. However, nepotism and cronyism – hiring relatives and friends – are still the most prevalent forms of corruption that hinder business development.

More than 50 governmental institutions regulate commerce in one way or another, creating opportunities for corrupt practices. Large foreign investors report few problems with corruption. On the contrary, most large investors report that high-level officials are often very helpful in solving problems fairly. In general, foreign investors say that corruption is not a significant obstacle to doing business in Lithuania and describe most of the bureaucrats they deal with in Lithuania as reasonable and fair. Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) perceive themselves as more vulnerable to petty bureaucrats and commonly complain about extortion. SMEs often complain that excessive red tape virtually requires the payment of “grease money” to obtain permits promptly. Business owners maintain that some government officials, on the other hand, view SMEs as likely tax-cheats and smugglers, and treat the owners and managers accordingly.

Paying or accepting a bribe is a criminal act. Lithuania established in 1997 the Special Investigation Service (Specialiujų Tyrimų Tarnyba) specifically to fight public sector corruption. The agency investigates approximately 100 cases of alleged corruption every year. The STT has a strong track record in investigating and prosecuting corruption cases, but has identified corruption prevention as an area for improvement, which Lithuania’s new anti-corruption law that entered into effect in 2022 aims to address. The law codifies the responsibilities of public institutions to enforce stricter standards of openness and transparency. The law also establishes a network of trained anti-corruption officials throughout all levels and areas of government, implements stricter personnel screening procedures, and standardizes metrics to measure anti-corruption performance.

Transparency International (TI)has a national chapter in Lithuania. TI ranked Lithuania 34th out of 180 in its 2021 Perceptions of Corruption Index with a score of 61 out of 100 (TI considers countries with a score below 50 to have serious problems with corruption.). Medical personnel and local government officials, among others, were cited by TI as prone to corruption.

Lithuania ratified the UN Anticorruption Convention in 2006 and acceded to the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention in 2017.

Resources to Report Corruption

Special Investigation Service
Jakšto g. 6, 01105 Vilnius, Lithuania
Tel: 370-5266333
Fax: 370-70663307
Email: pranesk@stt.lt 

Sergejus Muravjovas, Executive Director
Transparency International
Didžioji st. 5, LT–01128, Vilnius, Lithuania
Tel: 370 5 212 69 51
info@transparency.lt  | skype: ti_lithuania

Luxembourg

9. Corruption

Regulations are enforced by the strong but flexible Financial Sector Surveillance Commission (CSSF, which is equivalent to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission). U.S. firms have not identified corruption as an obstacle to FDI in Luxembourg. There are no known areas or sectors where corruption is pervasive, whether in Government procurement, transfers, performance requirements, dispute settlement, regulatory system, or taxation.

Giving or accepting a bribe, including between a local company and a public official, is a criminal act subject to the penal code. Recently, a mayor was implicated in abusing his office for personal purposes. Senior Government officials take anti-corruption efforts seriously. International, regional, or local nongovernmental watchdog organizations do not operate in the country, given the low risk.

Luxembourg has laws, regulations, and penalties to combat corruption effectively, and they are enforced impartially with no disproportionate attention to foreign investors or any other group. The country ranks very favorably on the World Bank’s corruption index.

Luxembourg has made anti-money laundering and suppression of terrorism financing a priority, given its status as a leading world financial center. The government has taken the lead in freezing bank accounts suspected to be connected to terrorist networks, and since 2004 extended the law against money-laundering and terrorist financing to additional professional groups (including auditors, accountants, attorneys, and notaries).

On February 14, 2018, a new law implementing a substantial part of the fourth anti-money laundering (AML) directive was published in the Official Journal of Luxembourg. The law entered into force on February 18, 2018. Local police, responsible for combating corruption, also work closely with neighboring countries’ law enforcement officials, as well as with Interpol and Europol.

Macau

9. Corruption

Mainland China extended in February 2006 the United Nations Convention Against Corruption to Macau. Macau has laws to combat corruption by public officials and the private sector. Anti-corruption laws are applied in a non-discriminatory manner and effectively enforced. One provision stipulates that anyone who offers a bribe to foreign public officials (including officials from mainland China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan) and officials of public international organizations in exchange for a trade deal could receive a jail term of up to three years or fines.

The CCAC is a member of the International Association of Anti-Corruption Authorities and a member of the Anti-Corruption Action Plan for Asia and the Pacific. The CCAC’s guidelines on prevention and repression of corruption in the private sector and a booklet Corruption Prevention Tips for Private Companies provide rules of conduct that private companies must observe. In January 2019, the GOM completed a public consultation on public procurement to create a legal framework through which the GOM will seek to promote an efficient and transparent regime.

Resources to Report Corruption

CHAN Tsz King, CommissionerCommission Against Corruption105, Avenida Xian Xing Hai, 17/F, Centro Golden Dragon, Macau+853- 2832-6300 ccac@ccac.org.mo 

Malawi

9. Corruption

Corruption remains a major challenge for firms operating in Malawi. Corruption, fraud, bribery of public officials, illicit payments, misuse of funds, and conflicts of interest are not uncommon. A number of high-profile government scandals have occurred during all recent presidential administrations. President Lazarus Chakwera dissolved his cabinet in January 2022 over a corruption scandal. Corruption in all forms is illegal in Malawi. However, enforcement is insufficient and slow. The Corrupt Practices Act established the independent Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) which works with other anti-corruption bureaus in the region but is consistently under-staffed and under-resourced. The Act widened the definition of corruption to include offences for abuse of office and possession of unexplained wealth. The Act also provides protection for whistleblowers. The ACB encourages private sector companies and institutions to develop and implement corruption prevention policies as a way of mainstreaming anti-corruption initiatives into their operations. The business sector may join forces to collectively engage in the fight against corruption, but no formal mechanism currently exists. Some companies employ their own fraud controls, but to date fraud identified through internal controls has failed to result in any high-level prosecutions.

Malawian law requires all public officials from all levels of government to declare their assets and business interests. However, access to view or obtaining copies of the declarations is difficult at best. However, the law does not extend to family members. The Political Parties Act requires all political parties to disclose source of funds. If corruption evidence implicates family members or members of a political party the ACB has the power to build a case against accomplices and bring them to court. All public officials are required to disclose any conflict of interest and to recuse themselves from any deliberation or decision-making process in relation to the conflict. However, there is no clear definition of what constitutes conflict of interest. Despite have the legal framework in place, in practice the requirements for public asset declarations, political party financial reporting, and conflict of interest disclosures are rarely enforced, and noncompliance is high.

Malawi is party to the UN Convention Against Corruption and the African Union Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption. According to Malawi law, citizens have a right to form NGOs focused on anti-corruption or good governance and these NGOs are free to accept funding from any domestic or foreign sources. Malawi’s civil society and the media play an important and visible role in fighting corruption, investigating, and uncovering cases of corruption. Specific firms with U.S. affiliations have noted irregularities in tender processes and mining licensing but have nonetheless continued to pursue business opportunities. Although some progress has been made, corruption remains a major obstacle to businesses in Malawi.

Maldives

9. Corruption

Maldives made significant progress in its efforts to increase its transparency, jumping from 130 out of 180 countries in the Transparency International Corruption Perception index in 2019 to 75th in 2020. Its score increased from 29 out of 100 to 43 out of 100, surpassing that of regional competitors like Sri Lanka, India, and Pakistan. In 2021, Maldives fell ten spots in the rankings and saw its score fall to 40. Still, corruption practices exist at all levels of society, threatening inclusive and sustainable economic growth.

The Solih administration has publicly pledged to tackle widespread corruption and judicial reform.  As part of President Solih’s first 100 business day agenda, he established a Presidential Commission on Corruption and Asset Recovery to investigate corruption cases originating between February 2012 and November 2018.  As of March 2022, the commission had not issued a report of its findings.  Additional measures towards increased transparency include requiring public financial disclosures for cabinet members, political appointees, and all members of parliament. On December 15, 2021, the Parliament voted to dismiss all members of the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) following a performance audit, which found that more than 16,000 cases were still pending.

Maldives law provides criminal penalties for corruption by officials, but enforcement is weak.  The law on prevention and punishment of corruption (2000) defines bribery and improper pecuniary advantage and prescribes punishments.  The law also outlines procedures for the confiscation of property and funds obtained through the included offenses.  Penalties range from six months to 10 years banishment, or jail terms.  According to non-governmental organizations, a narrow definition of corruption in the law, and the lack of a provision to investigate and prosecute illicit enrichment, limited the Anti-Corruption Commission’s work.

Maldives acceded to the United Nations Convention against Corruption in March 2007, and under the 2008 Constitution, an independent Anti-Corruption Commission was established in December 2008.  The responsibilities of the Commission include inquiring into and investigating all allegations of corruption by government officials; recommending further inquiries and investigations by other investigatory bodies; and recommending prosecution of alleged offenses to the prosecutor general, where warranted.  The Commission does not have a mandate to investigate cases of corruption of government officials by the private sector.

Maldives is a party to the UN Anticorruption Convention.  Maldives is not a party to the OECD Convention on Combatting Bribery.

A number of domestic human rights groups generally operated without government restriction, investigating and publishing their findings on human rights cases.  Government officials, however, often have not been cooperative or responsive to their views.  Upon assumption of office, President Solih’s administration pledged to submit a new NGO bill that would increase protections for non-government organizations. The bill completed parliamentary debate and is undergoing committee review as of March 2022.

Mali

9. Corruption

Many companies claim corruption is the most significant obstacle to foreign investment and economic development in Mali. While corruption is a crime punishable under the penal code, bribery is frequently reported in many large contracts and investment projects. Some investors report government officials often solicit bribes to complete otherwise routine procedures. The transition government has pledged to prioritize anti-corruption efforts. In 2021, Transparency International’s global corruption ranking for Mali decreased to 136th of 180 ranked countries (from 129th of 180 in 2020). Mali’s perceived public corruption score from Transparency International was 29 out of 100 in 2020 (with 0 being “highly corrupt” and 100 being “very clean”). Relative to other developing countries, Mali was rated at the 67th percentile for control of corruption on the FY2020 MCC Scorecard (based on World Bank and Brookings Worldwide Governance Indicators reports).

Corruption is reportedly common in government procurement and dispute settlement. The government has addressed this issue by requiring procurement contracts to be inspected by the Directorate General for Public Procurement with the Ministry of Economy and Finance, which determines whether the procedure meets fairness, price competitiveness, and quality standards. However, there are allegations of significant political interference in procurement. In addition, both foreign and domestic companies complain about harassment and requests for bribes from officials involved in tax collection. Mali’s international donor community has been working with the government to reduce corruption.

Investors have found the judicial sector to be neither independent nor transparent. Questionable judgments in commercial cases have occasionally been successfully overturned at the supreme court. However, there is a general perception among the populace that while prosecution of minor economic crimes is routine, official corruption, particularly at the higher levels, goes largely unpunished.

In 2004, then-president of Mali Amadou Toumani Touré created the Office of the Auditor General (BVG) as an independent agency tasked with auditing public spending. Since its inception, the BVG has uncovered several significant cases of corruption, including in the customs directorate. However, few findings of corruption have resulted in prosecutions.

Growing pressure from international donors for more transparency in public resource management led to changing the appointment process for directors of finance and equipment across many ministries. As a result, in March 2017, the Minister of Economy and Finances dismissed 15 Directors of Finance and Equipment. Eighteen others were moved to other ministries. The government opened OCLEI in 2017 to combat illicit enrichment by government officials. OCLEI has the authority to collect asset declarations from public servants, to conduct investigations of government officials suspected of corruption, and to refer cases for prosecution if sufficient evidence is gathered against the defendant. However, OCLEI’s operations were suspended following civil servants’ union protests against asset declaration requirements. Negotiations between the unions, the government, and donors eventually yielded a satisfactory solution that enabled the office to resume operations, and the office has begun registering asset declarations for certain categories of civil servants. According to its 2017-2018 report, OCLEI received asset declarations from approximately 1,000 civil servants (nearly 70 percent of all civil servants in Mali are subject to assets declaration) over 2017-2018 and referred three suspected cases of corruption to the justice system. However, OCLEI came under significant pressure in 2020 when Mali’s main workers union requested the government close OCLEI.

Following a cabinet reshuffle in 2019, the newly appointed Minister of Justice took measures to address corruption by appointing a new prosecutor in the Economic and Financial Specialized Judicial Office of Bamako, a court in charge of prosecution of corruption. Since these changes, many high-profile business and political leaders have been arrested due to corruption allegations. In 2021, Mali’s Auditor General released 11 financial audit reports, two performance audit reports, four reports of conformity, and four reports on the level of implementation of recommendations it made in previous audit reports. The Auditor General refers cases of fraud or other unlawful practices to the Economic and Financial Specialized Judicial Office of Bamako. Since the beginning of the transition government in 2020, reports from the Auditor General have led to the arrest of many high-profile former government officials for alleged involvement in corruption business dealings. Though these are welcome developments for some observers, others have highlighted the political motivations behind these arrests and the failure of the judicial branch to prosecute them properly and in a timely manner. In sum, the results of recent anti-corruption efforts remain a mixed bag.

In September 2021, the National Transition Council (CNT) passed the law on the creation of the national court dedicated to combating economic and financial crimes. The Act amends provisions of the Criminal Procedure Code and provides the legal basis for establishing a much-needed institution to prosecute economic and financial crimes wherever they occur in Mali.  The new Criminal Procedure Code established three specialized anti-corruption chambers under the jurisdictions of appellate courts in Kayes, Bamako, and Mopti.

The new, national anti-corruption court establishes a comprehensive system to fight corruption and to coordinate across numerous specialized agencies such as CENTIF, OCLEI, and BVG. It is also the single judicial point of contact for economic and financial crimes with authority to liaise on cooperation requests for international mutual assistance on corruption related criminal matters.

Mali’s transition authorities have prioritized messaging about anti-corruption and the need for enhanced financial transparency in governance. The creation of a national anti-corruption court that is professionally staffed and empowered to aggressively prosecute economic and financial crimes is an important step toward real progress on this issue.

Malta

9. Corruption

Maltese law provides criminal penalties for official corruption, and the government generally implements these laws effectively. The Malta Police Force and the Permanent Commission against Corruption are responsible for combating official corruption. Past news reports suggest a number of government corruption allegations, which have resulted in legal action and resignations.

While corruption remains an area of concern more broadly, public sector corruption, including bribery of public officials, is not a significant challenge for U.S. firms operating in Malta. The Council of Europe’s Group of States against Corruption (GRECO) completed its fifth evaluation of Malta in the autumn of 2018 and its findings were published in September 2019. Following the four previous rounds of evaluation and a follow-up compliance review, Malta introduced a number of legislative measures to combat corruption and is currently in the process of introducing further measures to improve its financial oversight.

In 2019, the Committee of the Experts on the Evaluation of Anti Money Laundering Measures and the Financing of Terrorism (MONEYVAL) identified several shortcomings an gaps within the local AML/CFT framework, which triggered an assessment by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF). FATF placed Malta on the Jurisdictions under Increased Monitoring list, also known as the grey list in June 2021.

In May 2021, MONEYVAL conducted their follow-up report on Malta, where they found that the country made considerable effort in its fight against money laundering and terrorist financing, giving the country a clean bill of health.

In March 2022, the FATF plenary noted positive developments in Malta’s efforts on AML/CFT and announced that an evaluation team would visit the country to assess the implemented reforms up close, with an eye to discuss the country’s position on the grey list during the June 2022 Plenary.

The latest MONEVAL follow up report is available at https://rm.coe.int/moneyval-2021-7-fur-malta/1680a29c70 

In the wake of the FATF greylisting, Malta has taken significant steps over the years to combat corruption, including the establishment in 2002 of the Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit (FIAU) to support domestic and international law enforcement investigative efforts. The Prevention of Money Laundering and Funding of Terrorism Regulations were transposed into Maltese law in July 2008, and conform to EU Directive 2005/60/EC (the Third Directive) and Directive 2006/70/EC. Malta transposed the Fourth Anti-Money Laundering Directive in December 2017 and, in April 2018, announced its first national Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Funding of Terrorism (AML/CFT) Strategy.

Local Laws: U.S. firms should familiarize themselves with local anti-corruption laws, and, where appropriate, seek legal counsel. While the U.S. Department of Commerce cannot provide legal advice on local laws, the Department’s Foreign Commercial Service (FCS) can provide assistance with navigating the host country’s legal system and obtaining a list of local legal counsel.

Assistance for U.S. Businesses: The U.S. Department of Commerce offers several services to aid U.S. businesses seeking to address business-related corruption issues. For example, the FCS can provide services that may assist U.S. companies in conducting due diligence as part of the company’s overarching compliance program when choosing business partners or agents overseas. The FCS can be reached directly through its offices in major U.S. and foreign cities or through its website at www.trade.gov/cs . The Departments of Commerce and State provide worldwide support for qualified U.S. companies bidding on foreign government contracts through the Department of Commerce’s Advocacy Center and Department of State’s Office of Commercial and Business Affairs. Problems, including alleged corruption by foreign governments or competitors, encountered by U.S. companies in seeking such foreign business opportunities can be brought to the attention of appropriate U.S. government officials, including local embassy personnel and through the Department of Commerce Trade Compliance Center “Report a Trade Barrier” website at http://tcc.export.gov/Report_a_Barrier/index.asp .

Guidance on the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA): The Department of Justice’s (DOJ) FCPA Opinion Procedure enables U.S. firms and individuals to request a statement of DOJ’s present enforcement intentions under the anti-bribery provisions of the FCPA regarding any proposed business conduct. The details of the opinion procedure are available on DOJ’s Fraud Section website: http://www.justice.gov/criminal/fraud/fcpa . Although the Department of Commerce has no enforcement role with respect to the FCPA, it supplies general guidance to U.S. exporters who have questions about the FCPA and about international developments concerning the FCPA. For further information, see the Office of the Chief Counsel for International Counsel, U.S. Department of Commerce website at https://ogc.commerce.gov/collection/office-chief-counsel-international-commerce .

Additional Anti-Corruption Resources

Useful resources for individuals and companies regarding combating corruption in global markets include the following:

Information about the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention, including links to national implementing legislation, good practice guidance and country monitoring reports, is available at: http://www.oecd.org/daf/anti-bribery/oecdantibriberyconvention.htm .

Transparency International (TI) publishes an annual Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI). The CPI measures the perceived level of public-sector corruption in 180 countries and territories around the world. http://www.transparency.org/cpi2015 .

TI also publishes an annual Global Corruption Report that provides a systematic evaluation of the state of corruption around the world. It includes an in-depth analysis of a focal theme, a series of country reports that document major corruption related events and developments from all continents and an overview of the latest research findings on anti-corruption diagnostics and tools.

The World Bank Institute publishes Worldwide Governance Indicators (WGI). These indicators assess six dimensions of governance in 212 countries, including Voice and Accountability, Political Stability and Absence of Violence, Government Effectiveness, Regulatory Quality, Rule of Law and Control of Corruption. http://info.worldbank.org/governance/wgi/index.aspx#home .

The World Bank Business Environment and Enterprise Performance Surveys are available at http://www.enterprisesurveys.org/ .

The World Economic Forum publishes the Global Enabling Trade Report, which presents the rankings of the Enabling Trade Index and includes an assessment of the transparency of border administration (focused on bribe payments and corruption) and a separate segment on corruption and the regulatory environment. The latest reports are available at: http://reports.weforum.org/global-enabling-trade-report-2016/ .

Additional country information related to corruption can be found in the U.S. State Department’s annual Human Rights Report available at http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/.

Global Integrity, a nonprofit organization, publishes its annual Global Integrity Report, which provides indicators for 92 countries with respect to governance and anti-corruption. The report highlights the strengths and weaknesses of national level anti-corruption systems. https://www.globalintegrity.org/annual-reports/ .

UN Anticorruption Convention, OECD Convention on Combatting Bribery

Malta signed the UN Anticorruption Convention in 2005 and ratified it in 2008, but it has not signed the OECD Convention on Combatting Bribery.

Mauritania

Mauritius

9. Corruption

The prevalence of corruption in Mauritius is low by regional standards, but graft and nepotism nevertheless remain concerns and are increasingly a source of public frustration. Several high-profile cases involving corruption have reinforced the perception that corruption exists at the highest political levels, despite the fact that Mauritian law provides for criminal penalties for corruption by officials. According to Transparency Mauritius, the absence of a law regulating the financing of political parties fuels corruption. A former prime minister was arrested in 2015 on allegations of money laundering, though courts have since dismissed all charges. The state prosecutors appealed the last dismissal in late 2019 and court proceedings are ongoing, with the latest hearing held in February 2022. A minister in the previous government stepped down in 2016 after allegations of bribery. In March 2017, allegations surfaced concerning possible political interference in the Financial Services Commission’s issuance of an investment banking license to Angolan billionaire Alvaro Sobrinho, who is being investigated for alleged corruption in Portugal. In March 2018, the president of Mauritius resigned after press reported that she bought apparel, jewelry, and a laptop computer with a credit card provided by an NGO financed by the same Angolan businessman. In June 2020, the prime minister dismissed his deputy prime minister following allegations of bribery and corruption in a public energy contract. In February 2021, the minister of commerce stepped down amid allegations of corruption and abuse of power.

Investors should know that while the constitution and law require arrest warrants to be based on sufficient evidence and issued by a magistrate, police may detain an individual for up to 21 days under a “provisional charge” based on a reasonable suspicion, with the concurrence of a magistrate. Two French businessmen claimed that, in February 2015, authorities held them against their will. A U.S. investor has been unable to leave Mauritius since February 1, 2020, without charges filed against him.

In 2002, the government adopted the Prevention of Corruption Act, which led to the establishment of an Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC). ICAC has the power to investigate corruption and money laundering offenses and can also seize the proceeds of corruption and money laundering. The director and board members of ICAC are nominated by the prime minister. The Good Governance and Integrity Reporting Act of 2015 was announced as a measure to recover “unexplained wealth” and came into force in early 2016. Critics of the act dislike its presumption of guilt, which requires the accused to demonstrate a lawful source of questionable assets, as well as the application of the law retroactively for seven years. The 2018 Declaration of Assets Act (DoA) entered into force in June 2019 and defines which public officials are required to declare assets and liabilities to the ICAC. These public officials include members of the National Assembly, mayors, chairpersons and chief executive officers of state-owned enterprises and statutory bodies, among others. This declaration is published on the website of ICAC: https://www.icac.mu/declaration-of-assets/disclosure-of-declarations/ .

Mauritius’ rating by the Corruption Perceptions Index of Transparency International improved in 2021. The country was rated the 49th least-corrupt nation out of 180 countries, compared to 52nd in 2020 and 56th in 2019. However, Mauritius retained its first rank in overall governance in Africa for the 10th consecutive year, according to the 2020 Ibrahim Index of African Governance.

U.S. investors, in conversations with embassy personnel, have not identified corruption as an obstacle to investment in the country. They have, however, encountered attempts for bribery.

Although the country lacks laws on political party financing, Mauritius has legislation to combat corruption by public officials. These include laws dealing with the declaration of assets, asset recovery, prevention of corruption, anti-money laundering, and criminal offenses related to abuse of office by public officials.

However, legal loopholes exist, and enforcement is weak. Allegations of corruption and misallocation of government contracts by public entities occurred in 2020, namely the use of emergency procurement procedures during the pandemic to allegedly enrich friends and family of those in power.

According to Transparency Mauritius, more companies have introduced control and risk management protocols and adopted code of ethics and good business conduct, even if these do no target government officials. The Prevention of Corruption Act targets mainly the public sector, but there is no whistleblower protection law.

Mauritius has ratified the UNCAC, but has not yet adopted all the recommendations, such as the criminalization of corruption in the private sector. According to Transparency Mauritius, NGOs involved in fighting corruption are not given enough protection and funding.

Mexico

9. Corruption

Corruption exists in many forms in the GOM and society, including corruption in the public sector (e.g., demand for bribes or kickbacks by government officials) and private sector (e.g., fraud, falsifying claims, etc.), as well as conflict of interest issues, which are not well defined in the Mexican legal framework.

Government and law enforcement officials are sometimes complicit with criminal elements, posing serious challenges for the rule of law.  Some of the most common reports of official corruption involve government officials stealing from public coffers, creating fake companies to divert public funds, or demanding bribes in exchange for not prosecuting criminal activity or awarding public contracts.  The current administration supported anti-corruption reforms (detailed below) and judicial proceedings in several high-profile corruption cases, including former governors.  However, Mexican civil society asserts that the government must take more systematic, effective, and frequent action to address corruption at the institutional level.

Mexico adopted a constitutional reform in 2014 to transform the current Office of the Attorney General into an Independent Prosecutor General’s office to increase its independence.  President Lopez Obrador’s choice for Prosecutor General was confirmed by the Mexican Senate January 18, 2019.  In 2015, Mexico passed a constitutional reform creating the National Anti-Corruption System (SNA) with an anti-corruption prosecutor and a citizens’ participation committee to oversee efforts.  The system is designed to provide a comprehensive framework for the prevention, investigation, and prosecution of corruption cases, including delineating acts of corruption considered criminal acts under the law.  The legal framework establishes a basis for holding private actors and private firms legally liable for acts of corruption involving public officials and encourages private firms to develop internal codes of conduct.  After seven years of operation, commentators attribute few successes to the SNA.  The implementation status of the mandatory state-level anti-corruption legislation varies.

The reform mandated a redesign of the Secretariat of Public Administration to give it additional auditing and investigative functions and capacities in combatting public sector corruption.  Congress approved legislation to change economic institutions, assigning new responsibilities and in some instances creating new entities.  Reforms to the federal government’s structure included the creation of a General Coordination of Development Programs to manage the federal-state coordinators (“superdelegates”) in charge of federal programs in each state.  The law also created the Secretariat of Public Security and Citizen Protection, and significantly expanded the power of the president’s Legal Advisory Office (Consejería Jurídica) to name and remove each federal agency’s legal advisor and clear all executive branch legal reforms before their submission to Congress.  The law eliminated financial units from ministries, with the exception of the Secretariat of Finance, SEDENA, and SEMAR, and transferred control of contracting offices in other ministries to the Hacienda.  Separately, the law replaced the previous Secretariat of Social Development (SEDESOL) with a Welfare Secretariat in charge of coordinating social policies, including those developed by other agencies such as health, education, and culture.  The Labor Secretariat gained additional tools to foster collective bargaining, union democracy, and to meet International Labor Organization (ILO) obligations.

Mexico ratified the OECD Convention on Combating Bribery and passed its implementing legislation in May 1999.  The legislation includes provisions making it a criminal offense to bribe foreign officials.  Mexico is also a party to the Organization of American States (OAS) Convention against Corruption and has signed and ratified the United Nations Convention against Corruption.  The government has enacted or proposed laws attacking corruption and bribery, with average penalties of five to 10 years in prison.

Mexico is a member of the Open Government Partnership and enacted a Transparency and Access to Public Information Act in 2015, which revised the existing legal framework to expand national access to information.  Transparency in public administration at the federal level improved noticeably but expanding access to information at the state and local level has been slow.  According to Transparency International’s 2021 Corruption Perception Index, Mexico ranked 124 of 180 nations.  Civil society organizations focused on fighting corruption are high-profile at the federal level but are few in number and less powerful at the state and local levels.

Business representatives, including from U.S. firms, believe public funds are often diverted to private companies and individuals due to corruption and perceive favoritism to be widespread among government procurement officials.  The GAN Business Anti-Corruption Portal states compliance with procurement regulations by state bodies in Mexico is unreliable and that corruption is extensive, despite laws covering conflicts of interest, competitive bidding, and company blacklisting procedures.

The U.S. Embassy has engaged in a broad-based effort to work with Mexican agencies and civil society organizations in developing mechanisms to fight corruption and increase transparency and fair play in government procurement.  Efforts with specific business impact include government procurement best practices training and technical assistance under the U.S. Trade and Development Agency’s Global Procurement Initiative.  Mexico ratified the UN Convention Against Corruption in 2004.  It ratified the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention in 1999.

Micronesia

9. Corruption

The FSM has laws prohibiting corruption and there are penalties for corrupt acts.  The National Office of the Public Auditor, with support from the Department of Justice, is the entity most active in anti-corruption activities.  Several senior ex-FSM Government officials were convicted of corruption under the FSM Financial Management Act, usually involving procurement fraud.  An FSM government transportation official pled guilty April 3, 2019, in U.S. District Court to conspiring to launder bribe money he accepted from a U.S.-citizen president of a Honolulu civil engineering company.  The official was then-FSM President Christian’s son-in-law who served 18 months in prison in the United States and was subsequently deported back to the FSM in 2021.  Corruption is not a predicate offense under the money laundering statute.  Bribery is punishable by imprisonment for not more than 10 years in addition to disqualification from holding any government position.  Traditional custom permits a lawbreaker to ask and receive forgiveness by paying a fine to those victimized.  Given many FSM national, state, and municipal government officials also own businesses, there exists significant potential for conflicts of interest.

The degree to which government officials accept direct bribes is unknown but believed to be commonplace, especially deriving from state actors.  Pohnpei State and Yap State are currently prosecuting corruption cases. The Yap State governor and lieutenant governor reported receiving cash envelopes in inauguration presents which they promptly handed to Yap State’s Acting Attorney General who conducted an investigation.  The FSM has not signed or ratified the UN Convention on Corruption or the OECD Convention on Combating Bribery.

Moldova

9. Corruption

While Moldova has taken steps to adopt European and international standards to combat corruption and organized crime, corruption remains a major problem.

Since winning a majority in Parliament in July 2021 elections, the ruling Action and Solidarity Party (PAS) has focused on several facets of the fight against corruption. The government has replaced or suspended under-performing or corrupt officials. In its first months in office, the government increased transparency regarding beneficial ownership by offshore interests, amended the constitution to increase judicial independence, enacted investment screening legislation, passed a bill to vet judicial and prosecutorial oversight bodies for integrity issues, and implemented measures to increase accountability in the Prosecutor General’s office. A Constitutional Court ruling allowed for confiscation of unjustified assets from government officials with a lower burden of proof. The government announced plans to implement extraordinary vetting of judges and prosecutors, and reform anti-corruption agencies.

In 2012-13, the government enacted a series of anti-corruption amendments. This package included new legislation on “integrity testing” related to a disciplinary liability law for judges. It also extended confiscation and illicit enrichment statutes in the Moldovan Criminal Code as per the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC). The Constitutional Court subsequently restricted integrity testing (e.g., excluding random testing as “entrapment”), but enactment of these reforms substantially augmented Moldova’s corruption-fighting toolkit.

The National Anticorruption Center (NAC), created in 2012, focuses on investigating public corruption and bribery crimes, and is subordinated to the Parliament (the CCECC had been organized under the executive branch). Moldovan judges, who had previously enjoyed full immunity from corruption investigations, can now be prosecuted for crimes of corruption without prior permission from their self-governing body, although the Superior Council of Magistrates still must approve any search or arrest warrant against a judge.

The government has developed and enacted a series of laws designed to address legislative gaps such as the Law on Preventing and Combating Corruption, the Law on Conflict of Interests, and the Law on the Code of Conduct for Public Servants. The Criminal Code criminalizes two forms of public sector corruption: passive and active. These statutes apply only to corrupt acts and bribery committed by public officials. In 2016, part of the reform of the prosecution system, Moldova adopted the Law on the Prosecution Service, and created two specialized prosecution agencies – the Anticorruption Prosecution Office (APO) and the Prosecution Office for Combating Organized Crime and Special Cases (PCCOCS). Beginning in 2015, specialized prosecution offices began to investigate and prosecute individuals allegedly involved in the “billion dollar” banking theft and a series of high-profile bribery, corruption, and tax evasion cases, though with only limited progress. These offices face multiple challenges, including lack of independent budgets, high workload, external interference, and serious questions about their independence, transparency and impartiality.

In 2018, APO and PCCOCS started recruitment for seconding investigators to their offices. According to the 2016 prosecution reform law, these investigators are responsible for supporting prosecutors to investigate complex corruption cases. However, even with a nearly full complement of seconded investigators, APO still relies on NAC investigators to conduct many corruption-related investigations and prosecutions. In 2018, a new statutorily created agency, the Criminal Assets Recovery Agency (CARA), began operating as a specialized unit within NAC. The selection and appointment of the agency’s leadership is coordinated through a competitive process by the NAC.

In 2016, Parliament passed the Law on the National Integrity Authority (NIA) and the Law on Disclosure of Assets and Conflict of Interest by public officials. The NIA became operational in 2018. The director, deputy director, and all inspectors are hired in competitive processes, but the agency has not yet hired a full complement of inspectors. NIA continues to lack staff and sufficient resources to fulfill its mission. The issuance of “integrity certificates” to individuals with well-known ties to the billion-dollar heist further degraded the organization’s reputation. The transparency and efficiency of NIA needs further improvement.

Moldova’s 2017-2020 National Integrity and Anticorruption Strategy was drafted and passed following public consultations and is structured along the “integrity pillars” concept that aims to strengthen the integrity climate among civil servants at all levels. It includes a role for civil society organizations (CSOs) through alternative monitoring reports and promoting integrity standards in the private sector. The strategy addresses the complexity of corruption by employing sector-based experts to evaluate specific integrity problems encountered by different vulnerable sectors of public administration. The deadline for the strategy had to be extended as many actions were not implemented.

Moldovan law requires private companies to establish internal codes of conduct that prohibit corruption and corrupt behavior. Moldova’s Criminal Code also includes articles addressing private sector corruption, combatting economic crime, criminal responsibility of public officials, active and passive corruption, and trading of influence. This largely aligns Moldovan statutory law with international anti-bribery standards by criminalizing the acts of promising, offering, or giving a bribe to a public official. Anticorruption laws also extend culpability to family members. A new illicit enrichment law allows a simplified procedure for unjustified asset confiscation. The Anticorruption Prosecution Office has initiated three illicit enrichment cases against judges to date.

The country has laws regulating conflicts of interest in awarding contracts and the government procurement process; however these laws are not assessed as widely or effectively enforced. In 2016, Parliament added two new statutes to the Criminal Code criminalizing the misuse of international assistance funds. These provisions provide a statutory basis for prosecutors to investigate and prosecute misuse of international donor assistance by Moldovan public officials in public acquisitions, technical assistance programs, and grants.

Despite the established anticorruption framework, the number of anticorruption prosecutions has not met international expectations (given corruption perceptions), and enforcement of existing legislation is widely deemed insufficient. In 2021, Moldova ranked 105 out of 180 (from 115 the prior year) among countries evaluated in the Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index.

In 2021, Moldova ranked 105 out of 180 countries in Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index. Opinion polls show the fight against corruption is a top priority for the Moldovan public. The 2021 edition of the Economist Intelligence Unit’s Democracy Index elevated Moldova from the “hybrid regime” to “flawed democracy” category with an overall score of 6.10, the first upgrade since 2017. Moldova’s score jumped from 5.78 to 6.10 thanks to “improvements in the functioning of the government and in political participation,” with scores of 7.0 for electoral process and pluralism (on a scale of 0 to 8), 6.76 for civil liberties, 6.67 for political participation, 5.71 for functioning of government, and 4.38 for democratic political culture. Moldova rose 11 positions and is now ranked 69 out of 167 countries. The Freedom House Moldova “Nations in Transit Report” 2021 noted the commitment by President Sandu to implementing anti-corruption policies, which she had begun to do during a brief period as PM in 2019. Public competitions have been mostly non-transparent and based on controversial regulations or political loyalty to, or membership in, the ruling political group, rather than on the basis of merit. The investigation into the “billion-dollar” banking sector has been progressing relatively slowly despite the government’s renewed efforts to persecute the organizers. Official data reported that as of March 2022, only USD 187 million has been recovered, mainly from taxes, credits, and the sale of assets belonging to the three banks liquidated following the theft. The stolen assets have not been recovered, there remains no assurance that significant remaining funds will be recovered.

Freedom House’s most recent report, Democracy in Retreat: Freedom in the World 2021, found Moldova continues to be only “partially free,” earning 62.5/100 points for political rights/civil liberties. Its overall score has increased by 0.5 point, primarily because of an improvement in the tax burden score. Moldova is ranked 41st among 45 countries in the Europe region, and its overall score is below the regional average but above the world average. The Moldovan economy remains in the moderately free category. Economic freedom is constrained by post-Soviet Moldova’s ongoing vulnerability to corruption, political uncertainty, weak administrative capacity, vested bureaucratic interests, a rigid labor code, and dependence on energy imports. The rule of law in particular remains very weak, especially in the judicial system.

Opinion surveys conducted by reputable pollsters like the International Republican Institute (IRI) show that a majority of Moldovans see corruption as a major problem for the country, though it ranks below other economic issues. Perceptions of corruption improved between 2019 and 2021, with fewer numbers of respondents in 2021 saying they had paid a bribe in the past 12 months or had been impacted personally by corruption. Respondents were by far most likely to be asked for a bribe by health care professionals, followed by education and the police officials.

In 2007, Moldova ratified the United Nations Convention Against Corruption, subsequently adopting amendments to its domestic anticorruption legislation. Moldova does not adhere to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Convention on Combating Bribery. However, Moldova is part of two regional anticorruption initiatives: the Stability Pact Anticorruption Initiative for South East Europe (SPAI), and the Group of States against Corruption (GRECO) of the Council of Europe. Moldova cooperates closely with the OECD through SPAI and with GRECO, especially on country evaluations. In 1999, Moldova signed the Council of Europe’s Criminal Law Convention on Corruption and Civil Law Convention on Corruption. Moldova ratified both conventions in 2003. In 2020, Moldova joined OECD’s Istanbul Anticorruption Action Plan.

Moldova is one of the participating countries in the Anti-Corruption Network for Eastern Europe and Central Asia (ACN), a driver of anticorruption reforms in the region.

In October 2020, Moldova’s second Compliance Report, adopted by the Group of States against Corruption (GRECO) in the fourth round of evaluation, concluded the current level of compliance of Moldova with the GRECO recommendations is generally insufficient. Following the evaluation, 18 recommendations were addressed to Moldova. Subsequently, out of 18 recommendations, four were rated as satisfactorily treated or implemented, and 10 were partially implemented, and four remain unimplemented.

Mongolia

9. Corruption 

Investors have acknowledged that corruption is widespread in Mongolia, leading some to curtail additional investments or to exit Mongolia entirely.  Given the level of corruption, U.S. businesses are advised to be especially diligent in complying with the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.  Although Mongolian law penalizes corrupt officials, the government does not always implement the law effectively or evenhandedly.  Private enterprises report instances where officials and political operatives demand bribes to transfer-use rights, settle disputes, clear customs, ease tax obligations, act on applications, obtain permits, and complete registrations.  NGOs and private businesses report judicial corruption is also present.  Factors contributing to corruption include conflicts of interest, lack of transparency, limited access to information, an underfunded civil-service system, low salaries, and limited government control of key institutions.

Mongolia does not require companies to establish internal codes of conduct that, among other things, prohibit bribery of public officials.  U.S. and other foreign businesses have reported that they accept the need for and have adopted internal controls, ethics, and compliance programs to detect and prevent bribery of government officials.  (For Mongolia anti-corruption efforts:   https://www.state.gov/reports/2020-country-reports-on-human-rights-practices/mongolia/.

The Independent Agency Against Corruption (IAAC) has primary responsibility for investigating corruption, assisted at times by the National Police Agency’s Organized Crime Division.

Mongolia has signed and ratified the UN Anticorruption Convention ( UNAC ) but not the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention.

Montenegro

9. Corruption

Corruption and the perception of corruption are significant problems in Montenegro’s public and private sectors.  Corruption routinely places high on the list of citizen concerns in opinion polls, in addition to risks cited by foreign investors.  Montenegro placed 64th out of 180 countries in the Transparency International (TI) 2021 Corruption Perception Index list. An improved legal framework to help combat corruption and organized crime has been in force since the adoption of the Law on Prevention of Corruption in 2014 and the Law on the Special State Prosecution in 2015.  The government has also taken substantial steps to strengthen the Rule of Law, including the establishment of a special police unit focused on corruption and organized crime, the creation of an Agency for the Prevention of Corruption, the creation of a new independent Office of the Special State Prosecutor that handles major cases including organized crime and corruption, and the appointment of the Chief Special State Prosecutor.  In line with these laws, the Special Prosecution, the Special Police Team, and the Agency for Prevention of Corruption became operational in 2015 and 2016.

In 2015, Montenegro’s Parliament adopted the Law on the Confiscation of Proceeds from Criminal Activities, which provides for expanded procedures for the freezing, seizure, and confiscation of illicit proceeds.  It also authorizes the creation of multi-disciplinary financial investigation teams.  In February 2019, a multi-institutional operational team for fight against commercial crime was founded. The Head of Crime Police presides over the team, and it consists of representatives of the police, Customs Authority, Tax Authority, and Administration for Inspection Affairs. A focus of the team’s work is on the prevention, investigation, and fight against misuse in commercial activity.  The Parliament also adopted the Law on the Center for Training of the Judiciary and State Prosecution which created a new independent judicial training institute, with greatly expanded powers and autonomy.  Over the past year, the government has made some progress in the fight against corruption by opening investigations against a few representatives at both the local and national government level.  The adoption of the Law on Courts has created one centralized Special Department for Organized Crime, Corruption, War Crimes, Terrorism and Money Laundering in the Podgorica High Court.

The government encourages state institutions and the private sector to establish internal codes of conduct.  They are encouraged to have ethical codes, as well as obliged to have preventive integrity plans.

Montenegro is a signatory to the UN Anti-Corruption Convention. It also succeeded to the OECD Convention on Combatting Bribery, formally signed by the State Union of Serbia and Montenegro prior to Montenegro’s independence. To date, no foreign firms have lodged complaints against the government under any of these agreements. Several U.S. firms have specifically noted corruption as an obstacle to direct investment in Montenegro, and corruption is seen as one of the typical hurdles to be overcome when doing business in the country. The government procurement sector remains vulnerable to corruption, according to reputable NGOs that analyze the issue. The purchase and sale of government property generally continues to be conducted in a non-transparent environment with frequent allegations of cronyism.

In December 2020, the government established the High-Level National Anti-Corruption Council. The members of the Council are the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance and Social Welfare, as well as representatives of the academia and the NGOs MANS and Institute Alternativa. The Council’s task is to collect documentation related to all suspicious government activities, and then submit any questionable findings to the relevant authorities, including the Prosecutor’s Office in all cases where there is a suspicion of corrupt activities and damage to the budget of Montenegro. However, in January 2022, due to the political instability facing the country, the NGO representatives and several other Council members left the body, putting its survival in doubt.

Morocco

9. Corruption

In February 2021, Morocco was placed on the Financial Action Task Force’s (FATF’s) “grey list” of countries of concern regarding money laundering and terrorist financing. Following the grey list designation, Morocco made a high-level commitment to work with the FATF and Middle East and North Africa FATF to strengthen the effectiveness of its Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Combating Financing of Terrorism (CFT) regime. Morocco has taken steps towards improving its AML/CFT regime, including passing new AML legislation, but significant challenges remain.

In Transparency International’s 2021 Corruption Perceptions Index  , Morocco’s score dropped by one point causing its ranking to fall one additional position to 87th out of 180 countries. According to the State Department’s 2020 Country Report on Human Rights Practices, Moroccan law provides criminal penalties for corruption by officials, but the government generally did not implement the law effectively. Officials sometimes engaged in corrupt practices with impunity. There were reports of government corruption in the executive, judicial, and legislative branches during the year.

According to the Global Corruption Barometer Africa 2019 report published in July 2019, 53 percent of Moroccans surveyed think corruption increased in the previous 12 months, 31 percent of public services users paid a bribe in the previous 12 months, and 74 percent believe the government is doing a bad job in tackling corruption.

The 2011 constitution mandated the creation of a national anti-corruption entity. Morocco formally established the National Authority for Probity, Prevention, and Fighting Corruption (INPLCC) but it did not become operational until 2018 when its board was appointed by the king. The INPLCC is tasked with initiating, coordinating, and overseeing the implementation of policies for the prevention and fight against corruption, as well as gathering and disseminating information on the issue. In 2021 parliment passed Law No 19-46 to strengthen INPPLC’s effectiveness in its fight against corruption, creating an integrated framework aimed at improving cooperation and coordination, criminalizing corruption, and improving prevention efforts. Additionally, Morocco’s anti-corruption efforts include enhancing the transparency of public tenders and implementation of a requirement that senior government officials submit financial disclosure statements at the start and end of their government service, although their family members are not required to make such disclosures. Few public officials submitted such disclosures, and there are no effective penalties for failing to comply. Morocco does not have conflict of interest legislation. In 2018, thanks to the passage of an Access to Information (AI) law, Morocco joined the Open Government Partnership, a multilateral effort to make governments more transparent. As part of its 2021-2023 Open Government National Action Plan, Morocco launched a national portal for open government , to share its various commitments and allow its citizens to monitor progress and submit their suggestions and concerns. Although the Moroccan government does not require that private companies establish internal codes of conduct, the Moroccan Institute of Directors (IMA) was established in June 2009 with the goal of bringing together individuals, companies, and institutions willing to promote corporate governance and conduct. IMA published the four Moroccan Codes of Good Corporate Governance Practices. Some private companies use internal controls, ethics, and compliance programs to detect and prevent bribery of government officials. Morocco signed the UN Convention against Corruption in 2007 and hosted the States Parties to the Convention’s Fourth Session in 2011. However, Morocco does not provide any formal protections to NGOs involved in investigating corruption. For more information on corruption issues, please view the Human Rights Report. Although the U.S. Mission is not aware of cases involving corruption regarding customs or taxation issues, American businesses report encountering unexpected delays and requests for documentation that is not required under the FTA or standardized shipping norms.

Resources to Report Corruption

National Authority for Probity, Prevention, and Fighting Corruption (INPPLC)

Avenue Annakhil, Immeuble High Tech, Hall B, 3eme etage, Hay Ryad-Rabat
+212-5 37 57 86 60
Contact@inpplc.ma

Transparency International National Chapter 
24 Boulevard de Khouribga, Casablanca 20250
Telephone number: +212-22-542 699
Contact@transparencymaroc.ma

Mozambique

9. Corruption

While corruption remains a major concern in Mozambique, the GRM has undertaken some steps to address the problem. Working with the IMF, it published the July 2019 Diagnostic Report on Transparency, Governance and Corruption , which identifies 29 anti-corruption reform measures. The March 2022 IMF agreement intends to use these measures as benchmarks for subsequent reforms.

The Mozambican judicial system conducted a trial for 19 defendants in the “hidden debts” case, hearing from more than 70 witnesses. The trial was aired publicly in a positive step to counter the perception that senior Mozambican government officials can commit crimes with impunity. The Maputo City Court has set sentences for August 1, 2022; the court has announced it is considering seizing assets of the accused to partially compensate the nation for the over $2 billion in fraudulent state-backed loans.

Mozambique’s civil society and journalists remain vocal on corruption-related issues.  Action related to the “hidden debts” scandal is being led by a civil society umbrella organization known as the Budget Monitoring Forum (Forum de Monitoria de Orcamento, FMO) that brings together around 20 different organizations for collective action on transparency and corruption issues.  A civil society organization that participates in the FMO, the Center for Public Integrity (CIP), also continues to publicly pressure the GRM to act against corrupt practices.  CIP finds that many local businesses are closely linked to the GRM and have little incentive to promote transparency.

Namibia

9. Corruption

The Anti-Corruption Act of 2003 created an Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC), which began operations in 2006. The ACC attempts to complement civil society’s anti-corruption programs and support existing institutions such as the Ombudsman’s Office and the Office of the Attorney

General. Anti-corruption legislation is in place to combat public corruption, but often is not well-implemented due to budgetary constraints. In a nationwide survey commissioned by the ACC and released in 2016, corruption was listed at the third-most important development challenge facing Namibia (6 percent, after unemployment at 37 percent and poverty at 30 percent). 78 percent of survey respondents rated corruption as “very high” in Namibia. The highest result comes from those in rural areas. Namibia’s 2021 rating by Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index worsened to 58 out of 180 from a score of 57 in 2020. Afrobarometer has also reported a downward trend regarding perception of corruption in Namibia over the past decade.

In 2019, Namibia was embroiled in a fishing industry corruption scandal in which government ministers and business leaders were charged and imprisoned for allegedly co-opting the national fishing quota system for personal gain. The scandal allegedly cost Namibia billions of U.S. dollars and has tarnished the reputation of the ruling political party. The accused are in prison awaiting trial. The scandal has resulted in Namibia and its ACC taking a closer look at other industries susceptible to corruption, but many Namibians criticize the government for not doing enough to combat corruption

Namibia has signed and ratified the UN Convention against Corruption and the African Union’s African Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption. Namibia has also signed the Southern African Development Community’s Protocol against Corruption.

Nepal

9. Corruption

Some report that corruption is rampant in Nepal.  In the words of a World Bank official, corruption in Nepal is “endemic, institutionalized, and driven from the top.”  Corruption takes many forms but is pervasive in the awarding of licenses, government procurement, and revenue management.  The primary law used to combat corruption in Nepal is the Prevention of Corruption Act 2002.  This law prohibits corruption, bribery, money laundering, abuse of office, and payments to facilitate services, both in the public and private sector.  According to a report by GAN Integrity, a company that works with businesses to mitigate corporate risk, “implementation and enforcement [of the Prevention of Corruption Act] is inadequate, leaving the levels of corruption in the country unchallenged.”  The report goes on to note that Nepal’s judicial system is “subject to pervasive corruption and executive influence,” that “corruption is rife among low-level [police] officers,” and that “Nepali tax officials are prone to corruption, and some seek positions in the sector specifically for personal enrichment.”  The full report is available at:  https://www.ganintegrity.com/portal/country-profiles/nepal.

The CIAA is Nepal’s constitutional body for corruption control.  The 2015 constitution empowers the CIAA to conduct “investigations of any abuse of authority committed through corruption by any person holding public office.”  In practice, CIAA arrests and investigations tend to focus on lower-level government bureaucrats.  According to the 2020 Corruption Perception Index released by Transparency International (TI), Nepal ranked 117th among 180 countries, placing it in the range of “highly corrupt” countries.  In January 2018, local media reported that the CIAA is drafting a bill to replace the Prevention of Corruption Act, with the goal of making the new law compatible with the UN Convention against Corruption that Nepal signed in 2011.  Nepal is not a member of the OEDC Anti-Bribery Convention.

While anti-corruption laws extend to family members of officials and to political parties, there are no laws or regulations that are specifically designed to counter conflict-of-interest in awarding contracts or government procurement.  GoN officials are aware that there should be no conflict of interest when contracts are awarded, but how this is implemented is left to the discretion of the concerned government agency.

The GoN does not require companies to establish codes of conduct.  Post is not aware of private companies that use internal controls, ethics, and compliance programs to detect and prevent bribery of government officials, however, this does not mean that there are no companies that use such programs.  American consulting firm Frost and Sullivan (www.frost.com) maintains an office in Kathmandu and investigates local investment partners for a fee.  NGOs involved in investigating corruption do not receive special protections.

New Zealand

9. Corruption

New Zealand is renowned for its efforts to ensure a transparent, competitive, and corruption-free government procurement system. The country consistently achieves top ratings in Transparency International’s Perceptions of Corruption Perception Index. Stiff penalties against bribery of government officials as well as those accepting bribes are strictly enforced. The Ministry of Justice provides guidance on its website for businesses to create their own anti-corruption policies, particularly improving understanding of the New Zealand laws on facilitation payments. U.S. firms have not identified corruption as an obstacle to investing in New Zealand.

New Zealand supports multilateral efforts to increase transparency of government procurement regimes. The country joined the WTO Government Procurement Agreement (GPA) in 2012, citing benefits for exporters, while noting that there would be little change for foreign companies bidding within New Zealand’s totally deregulated government procurement system. New Zealand’s accession to the GPA came into effect in August 2015.

New Zealand also engages with Pacific Island countries in capacity building projects to bolster transparency and anti-corruption efforts. The country has signed and ratified the OECD Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions, and the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime. In 2003, New Zealand signed the UN Convention against Corruption and ratified it in 2015.

The legal framework for combating corruption in New Zealand consists of domestic and international legal and administrative methods. Domestically, New Zealand’s criminal offences related to bribery are contained in the Crimes Act 1961 and the Secret Commissions Act 1910. If the acts occur outside New Zealand, proceedings may be brought against them under the Crimes Act if they are a New Zealand citizen, resident, or incorporated in the country. Penalties include imprisonment up to 14 years and foreign bribery offences can incur fines up to the greater of NZD 5 million (USD 3.4 million) or three times the value of the commercial gain obtained.

The New Zealand government has a strong code of conduct, the Standards of Integrity and Conduct, which applies to all State Services employees and is rigorously enforced. The Independent Police Conduct Authority considers complaints against New Zealand Police and the Office of the Judicial Conduct Commissioner was established in August 2005 to deal with complaints about the conduct of judges. New Zealand’s Office of the Controller and Auditor-General and the Office of the Ombudsman take an active role in uncovering and exposing corrupt practices. The Protected Disclosures Act 2000 was enacted to protect public and private sector employees who engage in “whistleblowing.”

The Ministry of Justice is responsible for drafting and administering the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) legislation and regulations. The AML/CFT Amendment Act 2017 extends the 2009 Act to cover a wider group of professionals, such as lawyers and accountants, along with businesses that deal in high-value goods. The New Zealand Police Financial Intelligence Unit estimate that NZD 1.3 billion (USD 910 million) of criminal proceeds is laundered in New Zealand annually, driven in part by the ease of forming a business in the country. The Department of Internal Affairs is working on a solution for businesses that are facing difficulty meeting their AML/CFT obligations during COVID-19.

After a standard review of the 2017 general election and 2016 local body elections, the Justice Select Committee conducted an inquiry in 2019 on the issue of foreign interference through politicized social media campaigns and from foreign donations to political candidates standing in New Zealand elections. New Zealand intelligence agencies acknowledged political donations as a legally sanctioned form of participation in New Zealand politics but raised concerns when aspects of a donation are obscured or are channeled in a way that prevents scrutiny of the origin of the donation, when the goal is to covertly build and project influence. In December 2019 the government passed the Electoral Amendment Act under urgency to ban donations from overseas persons to political parties and candidates over NZD 50 (USD 35) down from the previous NZD 1,500 (USD 1050) maximum, to reduce the risk of foreign money influencing the election process.

Nicaragua

9. Corruption

Nicaragua has a legal framework criminalizing corruption, but there is no expectation that the framework will be enforced. A general state of permissiveness, lack of strong institutions, ineffective system of checks and balances, and the Ortega-Murillo regime’s complete control of government institutions, create conditions for rampant corruption. The judicial system remained particularly susceptible to bribes, manipulation, and political influence. Businesses reported that corruption is an obstacle to investment, particularly in government procurement, licensing, and customs and taxation.

The government does not require private companies to establish internal controls. However, Nicaraguan banks have robust compliance and monitoring programs that detect corruption. Multiple government officials and government-controlled entities have been sanctioned for corruption.

Nicaragua ratified the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) in 2006 and the Inter-American Convention Against Corruption in 1999. It is not party to the OECD Convention on Combatting Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions.

Niger

9. Corruption

The constitution, adopted in 2010, contains provisions for greater transparency in government reporting of revenues from the extractive industries, as well as the declaration of personal assets by government officials, including the President. On April 6th, 2021 President Bazoum Mohamed submitted a written sworn statement of his assest to the National Court of Auditors and made the fight against corruption central to his five-year term program.

The High Authority for the Fight against Corruption and Related Offenses (HALCIA) has the authority to investigate corruption charges within all government agencies. HALCIA is limited by a lack of resources and a regulatory process that is still developing. Despite the limitations, HALCIA was able to conduct a number of successful investigations during 2020-2021. Laws related to anti-corruption measures are in place and apply to government officials, their family members, and all political parties.

Legislation on Prevention and Repression of Corruption was passed into law in January 2018; a strategy for implementation was still pending in 2022. Niger has laws in place designed to counter conflict of interest in awarding contracts and/or government procurements. Bribery of public officials by private companies is officially illegal, but occurs regularly despite GoN denunciations of such conduct.

Law number 2017-10 of March 31, 2017, prohibits bribery of public officials, international administrators, and foreign agents, bribes within the private sector, illicit enrichment and abuse of function by public authorities. The High Authority Against Corruption and Relating Crimes (HALCIA) is further tasked with working with private companies on internal anti-corruption efforts. Bribery of public officials, however, occurs on a regular basis. Though most companies officially discourage such behavior, internal controls are rare except among the largest (mostly foreign) enterprises. The government/authority encourages or requires private companies to establish internal codes of conduct that, among other things, prohibit bribery of public officials. Some private companies use internal controls, ethics, and compliance programs to detect and prevent bribery of government officials.

The government does not provide any additional protections to NGOs involved in investigating corruption.

The government/authority encourages or requires private companies to establish internal codes of conduct that, among other things, prohibit bribery of public officials. Some private companies use internal controls, ethics, and compliance programs to detect and prevent bribery of government officials.

Niger has joined several international and regional anti-corruption initiatives including the UN Convention against Corruption in 2008, the African Union Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption in 2005, and the Protocol on Combating Corruption of the economic community of the states of West Africa (ECOWAS) in 2006. Niger is alsoa member state of the GIABA, which is an institution of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) responsible for facilitating the adoption and implementation of Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Counter-Financing of Terrorism (CFT) in West Africa.

As of April 2022, there is only one large U.S. telecommunications firm invested in Niger, although it gained its assets through acquisition of a U.K. company. This low number is due to reasons that include, but are not limited to, the perception of corruption. Cases of suspected corruption occasionally appear in media reports concerning GoN procurement, the award of licenses and concessions and customs.

Resources to Report Corruption

Maï Moussa Elhadji Basshir, President
High Authority to Combat Corruption and Related Infractions (HALCIA)
BP 550 Niamey – Niger
(227) 20 35 20 94/ 95/ 96/ 97
contact@halcia.ne 

Wada Maman
President
Transparency International Niger (TI-N)
BP 10423, Niamey – Niger
(227) 20 32 00 96 / 96 28 79 69
anlcti@yahoo.fr 

Nigeria

9. Corruption

Domestic and foreign observers identify corruption as a serious obstacle to economic growth and poverty reduction.  Nigeria ranked 154 out of 180 countries in Transparency International’s 2021 Corruption Perception Index.  

Businesses report that bribery of customs and port officials remains common and often necessary to avoid extended delays in the port clearance process, and that smuggled goods routinely enter Nigeria’s seaports and cross its land borders. 

Since taking office in 2015, President Buhari has focused on implementing a campaign pledge to address corruption, though his critics contend his anti-corruption efforts often target political rivals.  

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission Establishment Act of 2004 established the EFCC to prosecute individuals involved in financial crimes and other acts of economic “sabotage.”  Traditionally, the EFCC has achieved the most success in prosecuting low-level internet scam operators.  A relatively few high-profile convictions have taken place, such as a former governor of Adamawa State, a former governor of Bayelsa State, a former Inspector General of Police, and a former Chair of the Board of the Nigerian Ports Authority.  The EFCC also arrested a former National Security Advisor (NSA), a former Minister of State for Finance, a former NSA Director of Finance and Administration, and others on charges related to diversion of funds intended for government arms procurement.  EFCC investigations have led to 5,562 convictions since 2010, with 2,200 in 2021.  In 2020 the EFCC announced that the Buhari administration convicted 1,692 defendants and recovered over $2.6 billion in assets over the previous four-year period.  In 2021, EFCC’s investigation of a former petroleum minister resulted in seizure of properties valued more than $80M.  

The Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act of 2001 established an Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) to prosecute individuals, government officials, and businesses for corruption.  The Corrupt Practices Act punishes over 19 offenses, including accepting or giving bribes, fraudulent acquisition of property, and concealment of fraud.  Nigerian law stipulates that giving and receiving bribes constitute criminal offences and, as such, are not tax deductible.  Between 2019-2020 the ICPC filed 178 cases in court and secured convictions in 51 cases.  The ICPC announced in early 2022 that it had recovered cash and assets valued at 166.51 billion naira (about $400 million at the official exchange rate) from corrupt persons in the preceding two and half years.  

In 2021, the Deputy Commissioner of the Nigerian Police Force (NPF) and Chief of the Intelligence Response Team (IRT), Abba Kyari, often publicly referred to as “Nigeria’s Supercop,” was suspended from the NPF and arrested for drug dealing, evidence tampering, and corruption for reportedly accepting bribes from a Nigerian internet fraudster Ramon Abbas, popularly known as “Hushpuppi,” who pleaded guilty to money laundering in the United States.  The Nigeria Police Service Commission finalized the suspension of Kyari on July 31, following the release of unsealed court documents filed in a U.S. District Court ordering the arrest of Kyari for his involvement in a $1.1 million fraud scheme with Abbas.  Kyari is alleged to have solicited payment for the detainment and arrest of Abbas at Abbas’s behest.  

In 2016, Nigeria announced its participation in the Open Government Partnership, a significant step forward on public financial management and fiscal transparency.  The Ministry of Justice presented Nigeria’s National Action Plan for the Open Government Partnership.  

Implementation of its 14 commitments has made some progress, particularly on the issues such as tax transparency, ease of doing business, and asset recovery.  The National Action Plan, which ran through 2019, covered five major themes:  ensuring citizens’ participation in the budget cycle, implementing open contracting and adoption of open contracting data standards, increasing transparency in the extractive sectors, adopting common reporting standards like the Addis Tax initiative, and improving the ease of doing business.  Full implementation of the National Action Plan would be a significant step forward for Nigeria’s fiscal transparency, although Nigeria has not fully completed any commitment to date. 

The Buhari administration created a network of agencies intended to work together to achieve anticorruption goals – the EFCC, the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON), the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) – and which are principally responsible for the recovery of the ill-gotten assets and diverted tax liabilities.  The government launched the Financial Transparency Policy and Portal, commonly referred to as Open Treasury Portal, in 2019, to increase transparency and governmental accountability of funds transferred by making the daily treasury statement public.  The Open Treasury Portal mandates that all ministries, departments, and agencies publish daily reports of payments in excess of N5m ($13,800).  Agencies are also required to publish budget performance reports and other official financial statements monthly. Anticorruption activists demand more reforms and increased transparency in defense, oil and gas, and infrastructure procurement.   

The Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) Act of 2007 provided for the establishment of the NEITI organization, charged with developing a framework for transparency and accountability in the reporting and disclosure by all extractive industry companies of revenue due to or paid to the Nigerian government.  NEITI serves as a member of the international Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, which provides a global standard for revenue transparency for extractive industries like oil and gas and mining.  Nigeria is party to the United Nations Convention Against Corruption.  Nigeria is not a member of the OECD and not party to the OECD Convention on Combating Bribery.

Foreign companies, whether incorporated in Nigeria or not, may bid on government projects and generally receive national treatment in government procurement, but may also be subject to a local content vehicle (e.g., partnership with a local partner firm or the inclusion of one in a consortium) or other prerequisites which are likely to vary from tender to tender.  Corruption and lack of transparency in tender processes have been a far greater concern to U.S. companies than discriminatory policies based on foreign status.  Government tenders are published in local newspapers, a “tenders” journal sold at local newspaper outlets, and occasionally in foreign journals and magazines.  The Nigerian government has made modest progress on its pledge to conduct open and competitive bidding processes for government procurement with the introduction of the Nigeria Open Contracting Portal in 2017 under the Bureau of Public Procurement.  

The Public Procurement Law of 2007 established the Bureau of Public Procurement as the successor agency to the Budget Monitoring and Price Intelligence Unit.  It acts as a clearinghouse for government contracts and procurement and monitors the implementation of projects to ensure compliance with contract terms and budgetary restrictions.  Procurements above 100 million naira (approximately $243,000) reportedly undergo full “due process,” but government agencies routinely flout public procurement requirements.  Some of the 36 states of the federation have also passed public procurement legislation.

Certain such reforms have also improved transparency in procurement by the state-owned NNPC.  Although U.S. companies have won contracts in numerous sectors, difficulties in receiving payment are not uncommon and can deter firms from bidding.  Supplier or foreign government subsidized financing arrangements appear in some cases to be a crucial factor in the award of government procurements.  Nigeria is not a signatory to the WTO Agreement on Government Procurement.

North Macedonia

9. Corruption

North Macedonia has laws intended to counter bribery, abuse of official position, and conflicts-of-interest, and government officials and their close relatives are legally required to disclose their income and assets. However, enforcement of anti-corruption laws has often been weak and selectively targeted government critics and low-level offenders. There have been credible allegations of corruption in law enforcement, the judiciary, and many other sectors.

In April 2021, Parliament adopted the 2021-2025 National Strategy for the Prevention of Corruption and Conflict of Interest and related Action Plan, consolidating the country’s commitment to prevent corruption and sanction corrupt behavior. The State Commission for the Prevention of Corruption (SCPC) ( https://www.dksk.mk/index.php?id=home ), was proactive in opening and following up on number of corruption-related inquiries focused on high-level officials from across the political spectrum for alleged nepotism and conflict of interest. The cases initiated by the former Special Prosecutor’s Office (SPO) (which emanated from a wiretapping scandal which revealed extensive abuse of office by former public officials and corruption involving public tenders) continued to move forward through the court system. A number of cases were subject to final rulings resulting in prison sentences, and new cases were opened on the basis of investigative material from the former Special Prosecutor’s Office. Transparency International ranked North Macedonia 87th out of 180 countries in the 2021 Corruption Perceptions Index, a climb of 24 places, for a lack of government efforts to combat corruption and conflict of interest in public administration.

To deter corruption, the government uses an automated electronic customs clearance process, which allows businesses to monitor the status of their applications. In order to raise transparency and accountability in public procurement, the Bureau for Public Procurement introduced an electronic system which allows publication of notices from domestic and international institutions, tender documentation previews without registering in the system, e-payments for system use, electronic archiving, and electronic complaint submission ( https://www.e-nabavki.gov.mk/PublicAccess/Home.aspx#/home). 

The government does not require private companies to establish internal codes of conduct prohibiting bribery of public officials. A number of domestic NGOs focus on anti-corruption and transparency in public finance and tendering procedures. There are frequent reports of nepotism in public tenders. The government does not provide any special protections to NGOs involved in investigating corruption. North Macedonia has ratified the UN Convention against Corruption and the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and has signed the OECD Convention on Combating Bribery.

Many businesses operating in North Macedonia, including some U.S. businesses, identified corruption as a problem in government tenders, in efforts to secure licenses, and in the judiciary. No local firms or non-profit groups provide vetting services of potential local investment partners. Foreign companies often hire local attorneys, who have knowledge of local industrial sectors and access to the Central Registry and business associations, who can provide financial and background information on local businesses and potential partners.

Norway

9. Corruption

Business is generally conducted “above the table” in Norway, and Norway ranks fourth out of 180 countries on Transparency International’s 2021 Corruption Perceptions Index.  Corrupt activity by Norwegian or foreign officials is a criminal offense under Norway’s Penal Code. Norway’s anti-corruption laws cover illicit activities overseas, subjecting Norwegian nationals/companies who bribe officials in foreign countries to criminal penalties in Norwegian courts. In 2008, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs launched an anti-corruption initiative, focused on limiting corruption in international development efforts.

Norway is a member of the Council of Europe’s anti-corruption watchdog Group of States against Corruption (GRECO) and ratified the Criminal Law Convention on Corruption in 2004, without any reservations. Norway has ratified the UN Anticorruption Convention (2006) and is a signatory of the OECD Convention on Combating Bribery.

Oman

9. Corruption 

U.S. businesses do not generally identify corruption as one of the top concerns of operating in Oman.

The Sultanate has the following legislation in place to address corruption in the public and private sectors:

1) The Law for the Protection of Public Funds and Avoidance of Conflicts of Interest (the “Anti-Corruption Law” promulgated by Royal Decree 112/2011). The law predominantly concerns employees working within the public sector.  It is also applicable to private-sector companies if the government holds at least a 40-percent share in the company, or in situations where a private-sector company engages in punishable offenses with government bodies or officials.

2) Minimum sentencing guidelines for public officials guilty of embezzlement are three years, per the Omani Penal Code.  The definition of “public officials” includes officers of parastatal corporations in which the Omani government has at least a 40-percent controlling interest.  The new penal code may make Oman seem more investment friendly, by virtue of modern references to corporations as legal entities, as an example.  However, its language on money laundering remains ambiguous and descriptions of licit and illicit banking are unclear, potentially contributing to confusion about investment regulations.

A lack of domestic whistleblower-protection legislation in Oman has resulted in the private sector taking the lead in enacting internal anti-bribery and whistleblowing programs.  Omani and international companies doing business in Oman that plan to implement anti-corruption measures will likely find it difficult to do so without also putting in place an effective whistleblower-protection program and a culture of zero tolerance.

Ministers are not allowed to hold offices in public shareholding companies or serve as the chairperson of a closely held company.  However, many influential figures in government maintain private business interests and some are also involved in public-private partnerships.  These activities either create or have the potential to create conflicts of interest.  Oman’s Tender Law precludes Tender Board officials from adjudicating projects involving interested relatives to “the second degree of kinship.”

Oman has stiff laws, regulations, and enforcement against corruption, and authorities have pursued several high-profile cases.  The Courts have signaled that they will not tolerate corruption.  In its annual report released in February 2021, the State Audit Institution (SAI) reported that, pursuant to its annual audit of government departments, Oman’s Public Prosecution sentenced several government employees to imprisonment, fines, dismissal from jobs and permanent bans on holding further public jobs due to charges of bribery. SAI reported 2,767 cases of administrative and financial irregularities in 2020, a 51-percent increase over 2019.

Oman joined the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (the “UNCAC”) in 2013.  Oman is not a party to the OECD Convention on Combating Bribery.

Pakistan

9. Corruption

Pakistan ranked 140 out of 180 countries on Transparency International’s 2021 Corruption Perceptions Index. The organization noted significant and persistent corruption within Pakistan due to gaps in accountability and enforcement of penalties, along with the lack of merit-based promotions and relatively low salaries.

Bribes are classified as criminal acts under the Pakistani legal code and are punishable by law, but are widespread across most levels of government. While higher courts are widely viewed as credible, lower courts are generally considered corrupt, inefficient, and subject to pressure from prominent wealthy, religious, political, and military figures. Political interference in judicial appointments increases the government’s influence over the court system.

The National Accountability Bureau (NAB), Pakistan’s anti-corruption body, suffers from insufficient funding and professionalism, and is viewed by many as politically biased. NAB prosecutions alleging bureaucratic malfeasance deter agencies from acting on legitimate regulatory concerns affecting the business sector.

Palau

9. Corruption

Corruption remains a challenge to doing business in Palau, despite a robust legal mechanism to detect and prosecute corruption. The Code of Ethics regulates transactions by national and state public employees, officials, and elected officials, as well as persons making campaign contributions. The law prohibits personal gain through governmental transactions, prohibits conflict of interest, restricts incompatible outside employment, prohibits solicitation of gifts and severely restricts the size of campaign contributions, limiting such contributions to Palauan citizens.

The Special Prosecutor Act established the Office of the Special Prosecutor, who has the power to investigate and prosecute the national and state governments, and its officials, for violations of the Constitution and laws of the Republic or for failure to implement such laws. Local media often reports on alleged corruption cases and serves as an informal watchdog. Palau does not appear in Transparency International’s Index of Corruption. There are no formal anti-corruption NGOs or international watchdogs based in Palau.

Panama

9. Corruption

Papua New Guinea

9. Corruption

Corruption is widespread in Papua New Guinea, particularly the misappropriation of public funds, “skimming” of inflated contracts, and nepotism. In January 2021 Transparency International ranked PNG 124 out of 180 countries and rated it the most corrupt of the Pacific Island nations. The country’s improvement in corruption rankings is attributed to the establishment of the Independent Corruption Advisory Committee in 2021.

Although giving or accepting a bribe is a criminal act, penalties differ for Members of Parliament (MPs), public officials, and ordinary citizens. For MPs the penalty is imprisonment for no more than seven years; for public officials the penalty is imprisonment for no more than seven years and a fine at the discretion of the court; for ordinary citizens the penalty is a fine not exceeding US$ 123 or imprisonment of no more than one year. A bribe by a local company or individual to a foreign official is a criminal act. A local company cannot deduct a bribe to a foreign official from taxes. The government encourages companies to establish internal codes of conduct that, among other things, prohibit bribery of public officials. However, overall enforcement of existing laws is insufficient.

Most of the larger domestic companies and international firms from Europe, North America, Japan, Australia, and New Zealand have effective internal controls, ethics, and compliance programs to detect and prevent bribery. Many firms from elsewhere in East and Southeast Asia, particularly those in the resource extraction sectors, lack such programs.

Papua New Guinea has signed and ratified the UN Convention against Corruption. Papua New Guinea is not a party to the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime or the OECD Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions.

PNG’s Ombudsman Commission and the Police Fraud & Anti-Corruption Directorate are generally the main avenues to report and seek protection to matters pertinent to investigating corruption. The Ombudsman Commission is mandated to investigate and recommend to concerned authorities to take action, while the Police Fraud & Anti-Corruption Directorate has the powers to prosecute.

U.S. firms routinely identify corruption as a challenge to foreign direct investment. Some critical areas in which corruption is pervasive include budget management, forestry, fisheries, and public procurement. In addition, the findings from the recent business survey, “Results of the 2017 Survey of Businesses in Papua New Guinea,” highlighted that “corruption is becoming an increasing problem with most firms reporting that they make ‘irregular payments’ to government officials.” A considerable number of those surveyed indicated that problems lay in either Lands or Customs/Finance/Tax institutions.

Resources to Report Corruption

Twain Pambuai
Director of Corporate Services
Ombudsman Commission
+675 308 2618
Twain.pambuai@ombudsman.gov.pg 

Arianne Kassman,
Executive Director
Transparency International
+675 320 2188
exectipng@gmail.com 

Lawrence Stephens,
ChairmanTransparency International
+675 320 2188
taubadasaku@gmail.com 

Paraguay

9. Corruption

Paraguayan law provides criminal penalties for official corruption; however, impunity impedes effective implementation. Historically, officials in all branches and at all levels of government have engaged in corrupt practices. Furthermore, the Comptroller Office estimates 90 percent of public institutions have deficiencies in their oversight systems. Judicial insecurity and corruption mar Paraguay’s investment climate. Many investors find it difficult to enforce contracts and are frustrated by lengthy bureaucratic procedures, limited transparency and accountability, and impunity. A recent trend is for private companies to insist on arbitration for dispute resolution and bypass the judicial system completely.

The Paraguayan government has taken several steps in recent years to increase transparency and accountability, including the creation of an internet-based government procurement system, the disclosure of government payroll information, the appointment of nonpartisan officials to key posts, and increased civil society input and oversight. Notwithstanding, corruption and impunity continue to affect the investment climate.

In December 2020 President Abdo Benitez signed a decree approving a National Integrity, Transparency, and Anti-Corruption Plan (NITAP) that was developed with USAID´s technical assistance and has been reviewed by key stakeholders, including the private sector, NGOs, and academia. The NITAP is Paraguay’s five-year (2021-2025) road map to foster integrity and transparency, and fight corruption and impunity. The document includes more than 70 actions and commitments that involve all levels of the three branches of government, as well as the private sector, academia and NGOs, among other key stakeholders. USAID is supporting several actions of the NITAP. Although the DNCP has a Good Governance Code that provides internal controls, ethic principles and addresses conflict-of-interest in government procurements, it remains one of the areas where corruption in most pervasive.  DNCP issued a resolution in January 2021 creating a committee that would work on identifying and eliminating discriminatory conditions and requirements that would limit participants and free competition in government procurement.

The constitution requires all public employees, including elected officials and employees of independent government entities, to disclose their income and assets at least 15 days after taking office and again within 15 days after finishing their term or assignment, but at no point in between, which is problematic for congressional representatives that are re-elected numerous times. Public employees are required to include information on the assets and income of spouses and dependent children. Officials are not required to file periodically when changes occur in their holdings.

Civil Society groups and NGOs noted an increase of tools and regulations over the past years to promote access to information, transparency and combat corruption. However, impunity remains the main challenge as political parties dominate the Judicial System.

UN Anticorruption Convention, OECD Convention on Combating Bribery:

Paraguay signed and ratified the UN Anti-corruption Convention in 2005.

Resources to Report Corruption:

General Auditors Office
Bruselas 1880, Asuncion, Paraguay
+ 595 21 620 0260
atencion@contraloria.gov.py 

Public Ministry
Nuestra Señora de la Asunción c/ Haedo, Asuncion, Paraguay
+ 595 21 454 611
comunicaciones@ministeriopublico.gov.py 

Anti-Corruption Secretariat
General Santos 698 c/ Siria, Asunción + 595 21 220 002/3
info@senac.gov.py

Seeds for Democracy
Roma 1055 casi Colón, Asuncion, Paraguay
+ 595 21 420 323
semillas@semillas.org.py 

Peru

9. Corruption

Corruption in Peru is widespread and systematic, affecting all levels of government and the whole of society, which, until recently, had developed a high tolerance to corruption. Embezzlement, collusion, bribery, extortion, and fraud in the justice system, politics, and public works by high-level authorities and key public officers is common. Corruption in public procurement is relatively common due to weak control and risk management systems, lack of ethical or integrity values among some public officials, lack of transparency and accountability in procurement processes, social tolerance of corruption, and minimal enforcement. This embedded dynamic has eroded trust in public entities and the private sector.

In 2021, Peru fell to 105 (from 94 in 2020) among 180 countries in Transparency International’s annual Corruption Perceptions Index, below Chile (27), Colombia (87), and Argentina (96), and tied with Ecuador. According to Transparency International, this backsliding reflected, in part, continued problems with structural corruption, impunity, and political instability. National surveys on corruption by Proética, Transparency International’s National Chapter in Peru, identified corruption as one of the leading public issues in the country. The OECD’s January 2022 decision to open accession discussions with Peru may provide momentum for anti-corruption efforts.

It is illegal in Peru for a public official or an employee to accept any type of outside remuneration for the performance of his or her official duties. The law extends to family members of officials and to political parties. In 2019, Peru made the irregular financing of political campaigns a crime, carrying penalties up to eight-years jail time. Peru has ratified both the UN Convention against Corruption and the OAS’ Inter-American Convention against Corruption. Peru has signed the OECD Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions and has adopted OECD public sector integrity standards through its National Integrity and Anticorruption Plan.

The Public Auditor (Contraloria) oversees public administration. In January 2017, Peru passed legislative decrees extending the scope of civil penalties for domestic acts of bribery, including by NGOs, corporate partners, board members, and parent companies if subsidiaries acted with authorization.  Penalties include an indefinite exclusion from government contracting and substantially increased fines. The Public Auditor also began auditing construction projects in real time, rather than after project implementation, in an effort to improve transparency. It is also auditing the government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Poland

9. Corruption

Poland has laws, regulations, and penalties aimed at combating corruption of public officials and counteracting conflicts of interest.  Anti-corruption laws extend to family members of officials and to members of political parties who are members of Parliament.  There are also anti-corruption laws regulating the finances of political parties.  According to a local NGO, an increasing number of companies are implementing voluntary internal codes of ethics.  In 2021, the Transparency International (TI) index of perceived public corruption ranked Poland as 42nd least corrupt among 180 countries/territories (three places higher than on the 2020 TI index).

Portugal

9. Corruption

U.S. firms do not identify corruption as an obstacle to foreign direct investment. Portugal has made legislative strides toward further criminalizing corruption. The government’s Council for the Prevention of Corruption, formed in 2008, is an independent administrative body that works closely with the Court of Auditors to prevent corruption in public and private organizations that use public funds. Transparencia e Integridade Associacao Civica, the local affiliate of Transparency International, also actively publishes reports on corruption and supports would-be whistleblowers in Portugal.

In 2010, the country adopted a law criminalizing violation of urban planning rules and increasing transparency in political party funding. In 2015, Parliament unanimously approved a revision to existing anti-corruption laws that extended the statute of limitations for the crime of trading in influence to 15 years, and criminalized embezzlement by employees of state-owned enterprises with a prison term of up to eight years. The laws extend to family members of officials and to political parties.

Despite being seen as generally aligned with the best international practices in terms of preventing and combating corruption, a June 2019 interim report by the Council of Europe’s Group of States against Corruption (GRECO) concluded that only one of the fifteen recommendations contained in GRECO´s Fourth Round Evaluation Report had been implemented satisfactorily or dealt in a satisfactory manner by Portugal at end-2019 in terms of compliance with GRECO anti-corruption recommendations addressed to lawmakers, judges and prosecutors.

Portugal ranked 32nd out of 180 countries in Transparency International (TI)’s 2021 Corruption Perception Index (CPI), an improvement of one position from the previous year.

Portugal approved a national anti-corruption strategy in December 2021. This legislative package includes a working group that prepares a national report, revises the whistle-blower protection framework, fraud-proofs legislation, improves public procurement processes, reinforces the transparency of political party financing, and ensures that companies have corruption prevention plans in place.

Portugal has laws and regulations to counter conflict-of-interest in awarding contracts or government procurement. Parliamentarians are required to declare their income, assets, and interests to the Authority for Transparency attached the Constitutional Court.

The Portuguese government encourages (and in some cases requires) private companies to establish internal codes of conduct that, among other things, prohibit bribery of public officials. Most private companies use internal controls, ethics, and compliance programs to detect and prevent bribery of government officials. As described above, the Competition Authority operates a leniency program for companies that self-identify infringements of competition rules, including ethical lapses.

Portugal has ratified and complies with both the UN Convention against Corruption and the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention.

Qatar

9. Corruption

Corruption in Qatar does not generally affect the conduct of business, although the power of personal connections plays a significant role in business culture. Qatar ranked as the second least corrupt country in the Middle East and North Africa, according to Transparency International’s 2021 Corruption Perceptions Index, and ranked 31st out of 180 nations globally with a score of 63 out of 100, with 100 indicating full transparency.

Qatari law imposes criminal penalties to combat corruption by public officials, and the government actively implements these laws. Corruption and misuse of public money are a focus of the executive office. Law 22/2015 imposes hefty penalties for corrupt officials. Decree 6/2015 restructured the Administrative Control and Transparency Authority, granting it juridical responsibility, a budget, and direct affiliation with the Amir’s office. The authority’s objectives are to prevent corruption and ensure that ministries and public employees operate with transparency. Transparency is also mandated when investigating alleged crimes against public property or finances perpetrated by public officials.

Law 11/2016 grants the State Audit Bureau more financial authority and independence, allowing it to publish parts of its findings (provided that confidential information is removed), a power it did not previously have. Individuals convicted of embezzlement are subject to prison terms of no less than five and up to ten years. The penalty can be extended to a minimum term of seven and a maximum term of fifteen years if the perpetrator happens to be a public official in charge of collecting taxes or exercising fiduciary responsibilities over public funds. Qatar State Security Bureau and the Office of the Public Prosecutor handle investigations of alleged corruption charges. The Criminal Court makes final judgments.

Bribery is a crime in Qatar, and the law imposes penalties on public officials convicted of acting in return for monetary or personal gain and on other parties who take actions to influence or attempt to influence a public official through monetary or other means. The current Penal Code (Law 11/2004) governs corruption regulations and stipulates that individuals convicted of bribery may be sentenced up to ten years in prison and fines amounts equal to the amount of the bribe but no less than $1,374.

To promote a fairer, more transparent, and more expeditious public-sector tendering process, the government issued Procurement Law 24/2015, which abolished the Central Tendering Committee and established in its stead a Procurement Department within the Ministry of Finance that has oversight over most government tenders. The new department has an online portal that consolidates all government tenders and provides relevant information to interested bidders, facilitating the process for foreign investors ( https://monaqasat.mof.gov.qa ).

Qatar is not a party to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s (OECD) Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials. However, Qatar ratified the UN Convention for Combating Corruption (by Amiri Decree 17/2007) and established a National Committee for Integrity and Transparency (by Amiri Decree 84/2007). The permanent committee is headed by the Chairman of the State Audit Bureau. In 2013, Qatar opened the Anti-Corruption and Rule of Law Center in Doha in partnership with the United Nations. The center’s purpose is to support, promote, and disseminate legal principles to fight corruption (https://rolacc.qa/).

Despite these efforts, some American businesses cite a lack of transparency in government procurement and customs as recurring issues when operating in the Qatari market. U.S. investors and Qatari nationals who happen to be agents of U.S. firms are subject to the provisions of the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

Republic of the Congo

9. Corruption

ROC adopted a law against corruption by public officials, “Code de Transparence dans les Finances Publiques,” on March 9, 2017. It adopted another comprehensive law against corruption, “Prévention et Lutte contre la Corruption et les Infractions Assimilées” on January 24, 2022. The ROC government inconsistently enforces both of these laws.

The corruption laws apply to elected and appointed officials. They do not extend to family members of officials or to political parties.

No specific laws or regulations address conflict-of-interest in awarding contracts or government procurement.

ROC does not encourage or require private companies to establish internal codes of conduct that prohibit bribery of public officials.

Some private companies, particularly multinationals, use internal controls, ethics, and compliance programs to detect and prevent bribery of government officials.

ROC is a party to the UN Anticorruption Convention.

ROC does not provide protection to non-governmental organizations (NGOs) investigating corruption. NGOs report that government corruption results in self-censoring of reporting and investigations into corruption.

U.S. firms routinely cite corruption as an impediment to investment, particularly in the petroleum sector. Corruption can be found in nearly all sectors including government procurement, award of licenses or concessions, transfers, performance requirements, dispute settlement, regulatory systems, customs, and taxation.

Romania

9. Corruption

Romania’s fight against high- and medium-level corruption, a model in Southeastern Europe over the past decade, suffered significant setbacks between 2017 and late 2019 due to a concerted campaign under a previous Social Democratic Party (PSD)-led government that aimed to weaken anti-corruption efforts, the criminal and judicial legislative framework, and judicial independence. Professional associations, NGOs, the EU, and NATO-allied governments raised concerns about legislative initiatives that furthered this trend during that period. In Transparency International’s 2021 Corruption Perceptions Index, Romania placed 45 out of 100, up one spot since 2020, placing Romania among the lowest ranked of the EU member states. The current governing coalition lists justice reform and the fight against corruption among its official priorities, but it remains to be seen whether it will achieve tangible results.

Domestic and international rule-of-law experts and law enforcement observe that many of the amendments to the criminal code introduced by the former PSD-led government between 2017-2019 remain in place today and continue to weaken the investigative tool kit in the fight against corruption. The current governing coalition (PSD-PNL-UDMR) has said it hopes to bring the new “Justice Laws” to parliament for debate in 2022 with the aim of reversing most of these provisions of the 2017-2019 Justice Laws.

The European Commission under the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism (CVM), and the Council of Europe’s (COE) Group of States Against Corruption (GRECO) prepared 2021 reports that leave some room for optimism. The June 2021 CVM report, which covered activities from October 2019, noted the GOR committed to reaching all CVM objectives in 2020, but progress has been limited. A May 18, 2021, ruling by the EU’s Court of Justice confirmed that the recommendations of the CVM are mandatory for Romania. GRECO’s 2021 report, while acknowledging some progress, assessed Romania’s compliance with its recommendations for fighting corruption as “very low.” The OECD 2022 economic survey also warned that corruption remained a major problem in Romania, arguing that past modifications of Justice Laws and the pressures targeting DNA prosecutors have weakened anticorruption efforts.

A major issue signaled by the CVM, GRECO, and the Venice Commission remains the controversial Section to Investigate Offenses in the Judiciary (SIIJ). The DNA’s 2020 performance report for the National Anti-Corruption Directorate (DNA) showed that the failure to incorporate Constitutional Court decisions in the legislative framework has negatively affected the agency’s efficiency. The existence of the SIIJ continued to be a source of discontent for DNA and civil society. In March 2022, President Iohannis signed into law a bill passed by Parliament that aimed to dismantle the structure. The Venice Commission published a subsequent opinion criticizing the GOR’s hasty adoption of the bill. Against international recommendations, the law dismantled the SIIJ and created a new structure to handle the cases, rather than returning the corruption and organized crime files to DNA and DIICOT. Civil society representatives and the main opposition party, Save Romania Union (USR), warned that the new structure envisioned to take the place of SIIJ could be even more damaging to judicial independence. The Romania chapter of the EC’s 2020 report on rule of law within the EU, mentioned in the 2021 CVM, noted that in 2020 the government continued to affirm its commitment to judicial reform after the reversals between 2017 and 2019.

In December 2021, the Government adopted an Anticorruption Strategy for 2021-2025. The document represents a political commitment to support all relevant institutions fighting corruption and was also a milestone in Romania’s National Recovery and Resilience Plan. The strategy focuses on asset recovery and strengthening the National Agency for Managing Seized Assets (ANABI). Conflicts of interest, respect for standards of ethical conduct, and integrity in public office remained concerns for all three branches of government. Individual executive agencies enforced sanctions slowly, and agencies’ inspection bodies were generally inactive.

Romania implemented the revised EU Public Procurement Directives in 2016 by passing new laws to improve and make public procurements more transparent. The National Agency for Public Procurement (ANAP) has general oversight over procurements and can draft legislation, but procurement decisions remain with the procuring entities. State entities as well as public and private beneficiaries of EU funds are required by law to follow public procurement legislation and use the e-procurement system. Sectoral procurements, including private companies in energy and transportation, must follow the public procurement laws and tender via the e-procurement website. The April 2021 EU Country Report for Romania, which included data on the public procurement system in Romania for the period between 2018-2020, noted that the practical application of innovation-driven public procurement solutions remained a challenge.

In October 2016, the “Prevent” IT system, an initiative sponsored by the National Integrity Agency (ANI) for ex-ante checks of conflicts of interests in public procurement, was signed into law. The mechanism aims to avoid conflicts of interest by automatically detecting conflicts of interest in public procurement before the selection and contract award procedure. According to ANI, between January-December 2021, the system checked over 7,800 public procurement procedures to prevent conflicts of interest.

National laws prohibit bribery and other acts of corruption, both domestically and for Romanian companies doing business abroad. The judiciary remains mostly paper-based and inefficient although digitization progressed some during the pandemic. Romania loses several cases each year in the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) due to excessive trial length. The National Agency for Fiscal Administration (ANAF) has a mandate to ensure that all taxes are collected and prevent fiscal and customs frauds. Asset forfeiture laws exist, but a functioning regime remains under development.

While private joint stock companies use internal controls, ethics, and compliance programs to detect and prevent bribery, since 2017 the government has rolled back corporate governance rules for state-owned enterprises and has repeatedly resorted to profit and reserves distribution in dividends to bolster the budget. U.S. investors have complained of both government and business corruption in Romania, most frequently naming the customs service, municipal officials, and local financial authorities. According to the EC’s February 2020 European Semester Country Report for Romania, corruption continued to be a major problem for the business environment in Romania. A 2019 business Eurobarometer survey showed that 88 percent of businesses consider corruption to be a serious problem for their company when doing business in Romania. Since 2013, the share of companies that perceived corruption as a problem increased in Romania by 23 percentage points, the largest increase in the EU and in stark contrast with the EU average which continued to decrease (to 37 percent). Overall, 97 percent of businesses thought that corruption was widespread in Romania and 87 percent said it was widespread in public procurement managed by national authorities.

Romania is a member of the Southeast European Law Enforcement Center (SELEC). NGOs enjoy the same legal protections as any other organizations, but NGOs involved in investigating corruption receive no additional protections. The United States welcomes participation from private and public sector entities on anti-corruption programs and trainings.

Rwanda

9. Corruption

Rwanda is ranked among the least corrupt countries in Africa, with Transparency International’s 2021 Corruption Perception Index putting the country among Africa’s four least corrupt nations and 52nd in the world. The GOR maintains a high-profile anti-corruption effort, and senior leaders consistently emphasize that combating corruption is a key national goal. The government investigates corruption allegations and generally punishes those found guilty. High-ranking officials accused of corruption often resign during the investigation period, and the GOR has prosecuted many of them. Rwanda has ratified the UN Anticorruption Convention, is a signatory to the OECD Convention on Combating Bribery and is a signatory to the African Union Anticorruption Convention. U.S. firms have identified the perceived lack of government corruption in Rwanda as a key incentive for investing in the country. At the same time, some investors have reported widespread corruption at lower, administrative levels of government, including with customs, tax, and police officials. There are no local industry or non-profit groups offering services for vetting potential local investment partners. The Ministry of Justice’s online  repository of judgments can be a useful source of information on companies and individuals in Rwanda. The Rwanda National Public Prosecution Authority  issues criminal records on demand to applicants.

Saint Kitts and Nevis

9. Corruption

The law provides criminal penalties for official corruption, and the government generally implements these laws effectively.  Media and private citizens reported government corruption was a problem.

Public officials are not subject to financial disclosure laws.  The Financial Intelligence Unit and the police force’s white-collar crime unit investigate reports on suspicious financial transactions, but these reports were not available to the public.

Government agencies involved in enforcement of anti-corruption laws include the Royal St. Kitts and Nevis Police Force, the Director of Public Prosecutions, and the Financial Intelligence Unit.  The Financial Intelligence Unit investigates financial crimes, but no independent body has been established to handle allegations of government corruption.

Saint Lucia

9. Corruption

Most locals and foreigners do not view corruption related to foreign business and investment as a major problem in Saint Lucia.  There are, however, isolated reports of allegations of official corruption, particularly among customs officials.  Local laws provide for access to information.  The law also requires government officials to present their financial assets annually to the Integrity Commission.  While authorities do not make public the disclosure reports filed by individuals, the commission submits a report to parliament each year.  The commission lacked the ability to compel compliance with the law, and as a result, compliance was low.

The Parliamentary Commissioner, Auditor General, and Public Services Commission are responsible for combating corruption.  Parliament can also appoint a special committee to investigate specific allegations of corruption.  The country is a party to the Inter-American Convention against Corruption and acceded to the United Nations Convention against Corruption in 2011.

Saint Lucia has laws, regulations, and penalties to combat corruption, notably the Integrity in Public Life Act of 2004.  Government agencies involved in enforcement of anti-corruption laws include the Royal Saint Lucia Police Force, the Director of Public Prosecutions, the Integrity Commission, and the Financial Intelligence Unit.

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines

9. Corruption

The law provides criminal penalties for official corruption, and the government generally implements these laws.  St. Vincent and the Grenadines is a signatory to the Inter-American Convention Against Corruption, but not to the UN Anti-Corruption Convention.

The Director of Public Prosecutions has the authority to prosecute a number of corruption-related offenses.  Corruption allegations are investigated by the Royal St. Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force.  There is generally no statutory standard obligation for public officers to disclose financial information to a specific authority.  If confiscation proceedings are initiated or contemplated against a corrupt official, the courts can order disclosure of financial information.  The Financial Intelligence Unit has the authority to conduct financial investigations with a court order.

The law also provides for public access to information.  Only a narrow list of exceptions outlining the grounds for nondisclosure exists, but there is no specific timeline for relevant authorities to make the requested response or disclosure.  There are no criminal or administrative sanctions for not providing a response and there is no appeal mechanism for review of a disclosure denial.

Samoa

9. Corruption

Samoa ratified the UN Anticorruption Convention in 2018. It is not signatory to the OECD Convention on Combatting Bribery. Corruption has not been specifically identified as an obstacle to foreign investment. Both corruption and bribery are criminalized and prosecuted, and the laws appear to be impartially applied.

The Office of the Ombudsman is charged with investigating official corruption. There are no international, non-governmental “watchdog” organizations represented locally. Samoa was not assessed by the Transparency International’s CPI report 2021 report.

Sao Tome and Principe

9. Corruption

Although STP has taken steps to combat corruption through government reforms the country ranked 66 out 180 countries in Transparency International’s 2021 Corruption Perception Index, dropping one position compared to the previous year. The government passed an anti-corruption law in 2012 that required all payments to government entities over USD $5 be made directly at the BCSTP and all salary payments to civil servants be paid directly to the employee’s bank account. The government has also taken steps to review and update existing contracts with some foreign companies to support liberalization and free market competition. The government has denounced corruption and pledged to take necessary steps to prevent and combat it.

Although the government has been taken these steps, in March 2022, President Vila Nova cited a study showing seven out of 10 Santomeans still believed corruption was increasing.

Although corruption in customs was historically an issue for foreign investors, the MCC Threshold Program did help establish a modern customs code and related decrees by introducing modern customs tracking software and eliminating manual procedures, with customs agents handling payments for the importer. As a result, customs revenues have increased significantly. while incidents of corruption have reportedly declined.

In 2013, the parliament adopted an amended anti-money laundering/counter-terrorist financing (AML/CFT) law that complies with international standards. It designates the Financial Information Unit (Unidade de Informação Financeira) as the central agency in STP with responsibility for investigating suspect transactions. STP is a member of the Inter-Governmental Action Group against Money Laundering in West Africa (GIABA), a FATF-style regional body.

According to the 2016 Investment Code, all investment proposals must be submitted to the APCI, which is responsible for carrying out all legal inter-institutional coordination with different sectors involved in the analysis and approval of the investment project. The law limits contacts between investment proponents and officials involved in the investment approval process.

STP signed and ratified the UN Anticorruption Convention. It is not party to the Economic Co-operation and Development Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions.

STP does not have a designated agency responsible for combatting corruption but in March 2022, the President promised to create an “Anti-Corruption Committee” comprised of reputable citizens, and uncommitted to any political agenda.

Saudi Arabia

9. Corruption

In December 2019, King Salman issued royal decrees creating the Oversight and Anti-Corruption Commission (“Nazaha”). Nazaha is responsible for promoting transparency and combating all forms of financial and administrative corruption. Nazaha reports directly to King Salman and has the power to dismiss a government employee even if found not guilty by the specialized anti-corruption court. Throughout 2021, Nazaha published monthly press releases detailing its arrests and investigations, often including high-ranking officials, such as generals and judges, from every ministry in the SAG. The releases are available on the Nazaha website at http://www.nazaha.gov.sa/en/Pages/Default.aspx .

Foreign firms have identified corruption as a barrier to investment in Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia has a relatively comprehensive legal framework that addresses corruption, but many firms perceive enforcement as selective. The Combating Bribery Law and the Civil Service Law, the two primary Saudi laws that address corruption, provide for criminal penalties in cases of official corruption. Government employees who are found guilty of accepting bribes face 10 years in prison or fines up to US$267,000. Ministers and other senior government officials appointed by royal decree are forbidden from engaging in business activities with their ministry or organization. Saudi corruption laws cover most methods of bribery and abuse of authority for personal interest, and in December 2021 Saudi Arabia amended the Combating Bribery Law to criminalize foreign bribery. Only senior Nazaha officials are subject to financial disclosure laws. The government is considering disclosure regulations for other officials but has yet to finalize them.

SAMA oversees a strict regime to combat money laundering. Saudi Arabia’s Anti-Money Laundering Law provides for sentences up to 10 years in prison and fines up to $1.3 million. The Basic Law of Governance contains provisions on proper management of state assets and authorizes audits and investigations of administrative and financial malfeasance.

The Government Tenders and Procurement Law regulates public procurements, which are often a source of corruption. The law provides for public announcement of tenders and guidelines for the award of public contracts. Saudi Arabia is an observer of the WTO Agreement on Government Procurement (GPA).

Saudi Arabia ratified the UN Convention against Corruption in April 2013 and signed the G20 Anti-Corruption Action Plan in November 2010. Saudi Arabia was admitted to the OECD Working Group on Bribery in February 2021, and the International Anti-Corruption Academy (IACA) elected Saudi Arabia to its Board of Governors in April 2022.

The Kingdom ranks 52 out of 180 countries in Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index 2021.

Senegal

9. Corruption

Senegalese law provides criminal penalties for corruption. The National Anti-Corruption Commission (OFNAC) has a mandate to enforce anti-corruption laws. In January 2020, OFNAC released overdue reports on its activities for 2017 and 2018 and swore in six new executive-level officials, bringing its managing board to a full complement for the first time in several years. A 2014 law requires the President, cabinet ministers, speaker and chief financial officer of the National Assembly, and managers of public funds more than one billion CFA francs (approximately $1.8 million) to disclose their assets to OFNAC. In 2020, all but one of these government officials complied with these disclosure requirements.

The GOS has made limited progress in improving its anti-corruption efforts. The current administration has mounted corruption investigations against several public officials (primarily the President’s political rivals) and has secured several convictions. In July 2020, President Sall launched an initiative to enforce a requirement that cabinet members and other high-level officials disclose their assets and issued a report disclosing his own personal assets.

The GOS has also taken steps to increase budget transparency in line with regional standards. Senegal ranked 73 out of 180 countries in Transparency International’s 2021 Corruption Perception Index. Notwithstanding Senegal’s positive reputation for corruption relative to regional peers, the government often did not enforce the law effectively, and some officials continued to engage in corrupt practices with impunity. Reports of corruption ranged from rent-seeking by bureaucrats involved in public approvals to opaque public procurement to corruption in the police and judiciary. Allegations of corruption against President Sall and his brother related to the development of oil and gas emerged in the press in 2019. While a subsequent investigation did not uncover wrong-doing, suspicions of high-level government corruption remain among many in civil society and the political opposition.

Senegal’s financial intelligence unit, Cellule Nationale de Traitement des Informations Financières (National Financial Information Processing Unit, CENTIF), is responsible for investigating money laundering and terrorist financing. CENTIF has broad authority to investigate suspicious financial transactions, including those of government officials. In February 2019, the regional FATF body – the Inter-Governmental Action Group against Money Laundering (GIABA) – issued a Mutual Evaluation Report of Senegal’s anti-money laundering and countering terrorist financing (AML/CTF) performance, measured by FATF standards. Although GIABA found the GOS’s understanding of AML/CTF standards and risks adequate, it gave Senegal non-compliant or partially compliant ratings on 26 of FATF’s 40 AML/CTF legal standards. Senegal also received ten low ratings and one moderate rating on the FATF’s 11 indicators measuring efforts to combat money laundering, terrorist financing, and weapons of mass destruction proliferation financing. Key weaknesses included: lack of domestic legislation implementing BCEAO AML/CTF directives; inadequate monitoring of nonprofits and non-financial professions, such as lawyers and accountants, who engage in financial transactions; inadequate inspections and sanctions of financial institutions; weak interagency cooperation; and poor AML/CTF capacity among police, judiciary, and customs. As a result, and in the absence of improvements, in February 2021, FATF added Senegal to its “gray list.” The GOS has committed to an action plan to address its deficiencies.

It is important for U.S. companies to assess corruption risks and develop an effective compliance program to prevent corruption, including bribery. U.S. firms operating in Senegal can underscore to partners that they are subject to the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and may seek legal counsel to ensure full compliance with anti-corruption laws. The U.S. Government seeks to level the global playing field for U.S. businesses by encouraging other countries to take steps to criminalize all corruption, including bribery of officials, and requiring governments to uphold their obligations under relevant international conventions. A U.S. firm that believes a competitor is using bribery to secure a contract may convey this to U.S. officials.

Senegal is a signatory of the United Nations Convention Against Corruption but is not a signatory of the OECD Convention on Combatting Bribery.

Serbia

9. Corruption

Surveys consistently show that corruption remains an issue of concern in many areas. Serbia’s global ranking in Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index declined to 96 in 2021 from 91 in 2020. In Serbia’s EU accession process, the European Commission has repeatedly noted that Serbia must do more to fight corruption. Arrests and investigations on corruption charges generally focus on low or mid-level technocrats, and corruption-related trials are typically drawn out and subject to a lengthy appeal process.

Serbia is a signatory to the Council of Europe’s Civil Law Convention on Corruption, and it has ratified the Council’s Criminal Law Convention on Corruption, the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, and the UN Convention against Corruption. Serbia also is a member of the Group of States against Corruption (GRECO), a peer-monitoring organization that provides peer-based assessments of members’ anti-corruption efforts. Twenty-five local governments in Serbia participated in USAID’s anti-corruption program, which ended in 2022, and introduced and increased transparency measures in their processes.

The government has worked to bring its legal framework for preventing and combating corruption in line with EU norms. A dedicated state body, the Agency for the Prevention of Corruption, plays a preventative role in fighting corruption, while dedicated Anticorruption Police and prosecutors investigate and prosecute cases of corruption. The Criminal Code specifies numerous bases for prosecution of corruption and economic offenses, including but not limited to giving or accepting a bribe, abuse of office, abuse of a monopoly, malfeasance in public procurement, abuse of economic authority, fraud in service, and embezzlement. However, a new National Strategy for Fighting Corruption to replace the expired 2013-2018 version has yet to be drafted – a concern frequently raised by the European Commission and Serbia’s Anti-Corruption Council, an advisory body to the government.

In 2018, Serbia’s Parliament strengthened anti-corruption laws through three pieces of legislation: The Law on Organization and Jurisdiction of State Organs in Suppressing Organized Crime, Terrorism, and Corruption for the first time established specialized anti-corruption prosecution units and police and judicial departments, mandated the use of task forces, and introduced liaison officers and financial forensic experts. The Law on Asset Forfeiture was amended to expand coverage to new criminal offenses, and amendments to the Criminal Code made corruption offenses easier to prosecute. Following these legal changes, specialized anti-corruption departments started operations in March 2018 in Novi Sad, Belgrade, Kraljevo, and Niš to prosecute offenders who have committed crimes of corruption valued at less than RSD 200 million ($2 million). Cases valued above this level are handled by the Organized Crime Prosecutor’s Office.

Serbia’s Law on the Prevention of Corruption, which went into effect in 2020, requires income and asset disclosure by appointed or elected officials, and it regulates conflicts of interest for public officials. Disclosures cover assets of officials, spouses, and dependent children. Declarations should be publicly available on the website of the Agency for the Prevention of Corruption, and failures to file or to fully disclose income and assets are subject to administrative and/or criminal sanctions. Significant changes to assets or income must be reported annually, upon departure from office, and for a period of two years after separation. Independent media reported cases where high-level officials allegedly did not comply with asset disclosure laws by failing to report assets.

The Law on Public Procurement, adopted in 2020, introduced mandatory use of an online public-procurement portal. While the portal noticeably improved transparency and procedures, independent watchdogs reported that more than half of completed public procurement tenders since the implementation of the new law have resulted in only one offer, which indicated continued issues with transparency of public procurement procedures or the establishment of non-competitive procurement processes that favor certain vendors.

Serbian authorities do not require private companies to establish internal codes of conduct related to corruption or other matters, but some professional associations (e.g., for attorneys, engineers, and doctors) enforce codes of conduct for their members. Private companies often have internal controls, ethics codes, or compliance programs designed to detect and prevent bribery of government officials. Large companies often have internal programs, especially in industries such as tobacco, pharmaceuticals, medical devices, and industries regularly involved in public procurement.

In 2020, the Parliament adopted a Parliamentary Code of Conduct, aimed at addressing GRECO recommendations regarding conflict of interest and other issues of ethics among parliamentarians. However, the code lacks meaningful independent enforcement mechanisms.

Serbian law does not provide protection for non-governmental organizations involved in investigating corruption. However, the criminal procedure code provides witness protection measures, and Serbia enacted a Whistleblower Protection Law in June 2015, under which individuals can report corruption in companies and government agencies and receive court protection from retaliation by their employers. Whistleblowers in high profile cases against state-owned enterprises have claimed they do not receive adequate protections under the existing law.

U.S. firms interested in doing business or investing in Serbia are advised to perform due diligence before concluding business deals. Legal audits generally are consistent with international standards, using information gathered from public books, the register of fixed assets, the court register, the statistical register, as well as from the firm itself, chambers, and other sources. The U.S. Commercial Service in Belgrade can provide U.S. companies with background information on companies and individuals via the International Company Profile (ICP) service. An ICP provides information about a local company or entity, its financial standing, and reputation in the business community, and includes a site visit to the local company and a confidential interview with the company management. For more information, contact the local office at belgrade@trade.gov  and visit www.export.gov/serbia . The U.S. Commercial Service also maintains lists of international consulting firms in Belgrade, local consulting firms, experienced professionals, and corporate/commercial law offices, in addition to its export promotion and advocacy services for U.S. business.

Some U.S. firms have identified corruption as an obstacle to foreign direct investment in Serbia. Corruption appears most pervasive in cases involving public procurement, natural resource extraction, government-owned property, and political influence/pressure on the judiciary and prosecutors.

The Regional Anti-Corruption Initiative maintains a website with updates about anti-corruption efforts in Serbia and the region: http://rai-see.org/ .

Seychelles

9. Corruption

Ruling with transparency and accountability are stated priorities of the current government. In 2016, the government established the Anti-Corruption Commission of Seychelles (ACCS) under the Anti-Corruption Act, which gives it authority to investigate, detect, and prevent corrupt practices. The Seychelles Transparency Initiative (TI), a Transparency International chapter in formation, was set up in 2017. TI’s focus is currently on increasing transparency in tourism, fisheries, finance, and construction. There is currently no legislation protecting NGOs involved in investigating corruption.

The Anti-Corruption (Amendment) Bill (https://seylii.org/sc/legislation/bill/2020/4 ) became law in 2019 giving the ACCS investigative and arresting powers similar to that of the police. The ACCS has received significant criticism for having only achieved one conviction: that of an ACCS employee who was convicted of extortion, corruption, and unlawful disclosure of ACCS information in 2018, when he demanded money in exchange for providing the ACCS’ evidence to an individual under investigation by the ACCS. In September 2021, the ACCS board was dissolved and replaced by an advisory council. The president gave an ultimatum to the ACCS to take actions to prevent, detect, and investigate acts of corruption. In March 2021, the ACCS signed cooperation agreements with the Seychelles Revenue Authority, the Central Bank of Seychelles, and the Registrar General’s Office to better facilitate the exchange of information and assist the ACCS’ investigations.

In November 2021, a prominent businessman and his wife, a senior military official, and former government officials were arrested for the alleged theft of more than $50 million in foreign aid given to Seychelles by the United Arab Emirates in 2002 to help overcome foreign exchange shortages and import basic goods. The money was never recorded in government accounts. The suspects are facing charges of conspiracy to commit corruption, conspiracy to commit money laundering, concealment of property, and stealing by person in public service.

Chapter 10 of the Seychellois Penal Code provides criminal penalties for conviction of corruption by officials. In 2003, the government published the Public Service Code of Ethics and Conduct. The Public Officer’s Ethics Act of 2008 prohibits personal enrichment through public office; defines and outlaws bribery; provides guidelines for avoiding conflict of interest; and mandates declaration of financial assets for public officials, including members of the National Assembly. The 2017 Public Persons (Declaration of Assets, Liabilities and Business Interests) Act requires all National Assembly members, councilors, and the mayor to submit a declaration on their assets, debts, and business interests. Asset declarations are not published but may be made public upon request to the ethics commissioner. Laws to combat corruption do not extend to political parties. The 2008 Public Procurement Act, as amended, counters conflict-of-interest in awarding contracts or government procurement.

In March 2021, the cabinet approved amendments to the Public Officers’ Ethics (POE) Act to abolish the POE commission entirely and to shift its responsibility to the ACCS, which has become the umbrella authority overseeing all matters of corruption in the public service. In September 2021, the Public Persons (Declaration of Assets, Liabilities and Business Interests) Bill was approved by the National Assembly to remove the obligation of a public person to submit declarations of assets for spouses or close family members. The bill also provides for establishment of a secure electronic system for submission of declarations and related documents. The government does not require private companies to establish internal codes of conduct.

Seychelles ratified the UN Convention against Corruption in March 2006. Seychelles is not party to the OECD Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions.

Resources to Report Corruption

Anti-Corruption Commission
May De Silva
Chief Executive Officer
Victoria House,
State House Avenue
Victoria, Mahe
+248 4326061
complaints@accsey.com

Office of the Ombudsperson
Nicole Tirant-Gherardi
Ombudsperson
Room 306, Aarti Chambers, Mont Fleuri, Mahe
+248 225147
ombuds@seychelles.net

Sierra Leone

9. Corruption

Corruption poses a significant challenge in Sierra Leone and is particularly endemic in government procurement, the award of licenses and concessions, regulatory enforcement, customs clearance, and dispute resolution. Sierra Leone signed the UN Convention against Corruption in 2003 and ratified it in 2004. The country is not a party to the OECD Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions. The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC), established in 2000, has the authority to investigate and prosecute acts of corruption by individuals and companies. The Anti-Corruption Act of 2008 makes it criminal to offer, solicit, or receive a bribe. This law applies to all appointed and elected officials, close family members, and companies, whether foreign or domestic. The Commission launched a “Pay No Bribe” campaign in 2016, encouraging citizens to report corruption in the public sector.

In 2021, Sierra Leone ranked 115/180, improving two places from 117/180 (2020) in the Transparency International Corruption Index. In its efforts with respect to tackling corruption, the country moved up 14 steps from 129/180 in 2018 to 115/180 in 2021. Sierra Leone passed the Millennium Challenge Corporation’s indicator on the control of corruption four times in a row, progressing from 48 percent in FY2018 to 83 percent in FY 2022. The government completed the Commission of Inquiry probing corruption allegations into the past government of former President Koroma in March 2020. A white paper to implement the recommendations of the reports of the Commission of Inquiry is currently being implemented by the Ministry of Justice.

In 2019, the GoSL passed an Anti-Corruption Amendment Act, which increased the powers of the ACC in the fight against graft. It protects witnesses and whistleblowers and provides sanctions for failing to submit asset declarations on time or falsified, inaccurate, or misleading information. It empowers the commissioner to prevent contracts that are not of national interest and increases penalties for offenses under the Act. Since then, the ACC has steadily pursued arrests, repayments, and convictions in private and public sectors. As of April 2020, the ACC had recovered millions of dollars in misappropriated funds and prosecuted corruption cases leading to convictions of present and former public officials and private citizens. The Chief Justice established a Special Court to adjudicate corruption cases while the ACC signed several information-sharing agreements with key government institutions, including the Audit Service Sierra Leone and the Financial Intelligence Unit. The ACC also conducted a substantial systems and processes reviews of public offices and public education and outreach activities across the country. In early 2022, the ACC introduced a reward and incentive scheme for informants, whistleblowers, and citizens who support the ACC in the fight against corruption; and is currently focused on aspects of alleged corruption in the 2019 and 2020 audit reports for Sierra Leone.

Singapore

9. Corruption

Singapore actively enforces its strong anti-corruption laws, and corruption is not cited as a concern for foreign investors. Transparency International’s 2021 Corruption Perception Index ranks Singapore fourth of 180 countries globally, the highest-ranking Asian country. The Prevention of Corruption Act (PCA), and the Drug Trafficking and Other Serious Crimes (Confiscation of Benefits) Act provide the legal basis for government action by the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB), which is the only agency authorized under the PCA to investigate corruption offences and other related offences. These laws cover acts of corruption within Singapore as well as those committed by Singaporeans abroad. The anti-corruption laws extend to family members of officials, and to political parties. The CPIB is effective and non-discriminatory. Singapore is generally perceived to be one of the least corrupt countries in the world, and corruption is not identified as an obstacle to FDI in Singapore. Recent corporate fraud scandals, particularly in the commodity trading sector, have been publicly, swiftly, and firmly reprimanded by the government. Singapore is a signatory to the UN Anticorruption Convention, but not the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention.

Slovakia

9. Corruption

Slovakia is a party to international treaties on corruption.  Among them are the OECD Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials, the UN Anti-Organized Crime Convention (UNTOC), the UN Anti-Corruption Convention (UNCAC), and the Criminal Law Convention on Corruption and Civil Law Convention on Corruption.  Slovakia is a member of the Group of States against Corruption (GRECO) and the Open Government Partnership (OGP). The Corruption Prevention Department of the Prime Minister’s Office is a member of the Council of Europe’s Network of Corruption Prevention Authorities. Slovakia is a party to the International Anti-Corruption Academy (IACA).

Giving or accepting a bribe constitutes a criminal act according to Slovak law.  Since 2021, the law was expanded to include a definition of indirect corruption, making it a crime to accept or offer unjustified benefits or undue advantages. Slovak criminal law incorporates criminal liability for legal persons, including corporations.

A major concern for years among the business community, data suggest that corruption concerns among the public and investors are improving.  According to the Special Eurobarometer survey from December 2019, the latest one available, 79 percent of respondents believed that corruption is part of Slovakia’s business culture (above the EU average of 61 percent).  However, in Transparency International’s 2021 Corruption Perceptions Index, Slovakia ranked 56 out of 180 countries, up four spots since 2020, and improved its score to its all-time best.  Thirty-nine percent of Slovak respondents in Transparency’s 2021 Global Corruption Barometer, indicated a decrease in their perceptions of the level of corruption over the previous year and 61 percent said the government is doing well in tackling corruption. The trend stands out in the Visegrad region and is attributed to the increased efforts and performance in the investigation and prosecution of corruption, as well as the government’s anti-corruption measures. There is no data available on whether U.S. firms identify corruption as an obstacle to foreign direct investment. A regular survey conducted by seven foreign chambers of commerce showed positive movement in the business community’s assessment of the government’s fight against crime corruption, moving from a negative attribute in surveys since 2004 to a neutral one in 2021.

The ruling coalition’s agenda has focused heavily on strengthening anti-corruption measures.  In 2020, it amended legislation regulating selection procedures for the Prosecutor General and the Special Prosecutor, and introduced new leadership in key law enforcement institutions. A new Whistleblower Protection Office commenced operations in September 2021.  In 2019, Parliament streamlined an anti-shell company law that requires private companies to reveal their ownership structure in the Register of Public Sector Partners before entering into business contracts with public entities.  Disclosure of contracts in the Central Registry of Contracts by public authorities and state-owned enterprises is compulsory.  In addition to EU legislation, the public procurement law provides for fair and transparent government procurement, and the Public Procurement Office (PPO) oversees its implementation, including countering possible conflicts of interest. The PPO has a reputation for being effective and independent. A major reform of public procurement law designed to reduce red tape and gold-plating by speeding up procurements organized by government agencies and municipalities entered into force in March 2022. Since 2021, a new law on asset seizure and forfeiture prevents the legalization of assets through their transfer to third parties, and thus extends to family members or close associates. A new Office for the Management of Seized Assets operational from August 2021 should provide for streamlining of the related processes in close cooperation with law enforcement.

In January 2020, a regulation on conflicts of interest in the civil service was adopted by Cabinet decree, introducing a Code of Conduct for Civil Servants (400/2019 Coll.). NGO analysts and GRECO point out that conflict of interest and asset declaration regulations lack the necessary level of detail to be implemented and enforced in practice.   In its Integrity Review, the OECD recommends Slovakia consider strengthening institutional and technological capacity to process, verify, and audit asset declarations for public officials, and to strengthen parliamentary oversight of adherence to integrity standards. Despite the government’s commitment to address the absence of lobbying regulation, neither a regulatory framework for lobbying nor an associated mandatory register of lobbyists and a code of conduct have been introduced. The OECD Integrity Review published in March 2022 acknowledges Slovakia’s progress towards a strategic approach to public integrity but recommends a range of measures to step up its implementation and delivery of goals. These include applying a risk-based approach, allocating appropriate financial resources, strengthening monitoring and evaluation, and fostering a culture of public integrity.

Corruption related probes, including those against former high-ranking officials and influential businesspeople advanced in 2021; during which 136 individuals were indicted for corruption-related crimes, up from 124 in 2020 and 83 in 2019. From 2019-2021 a number of judges, the former Prosecutor General, the former Special Prosecutor, the former Economy and Environment Minister, former Deputy Ministers of Justice and Finance, two former Police Corps Presidents, two former Financial Administration Presidents, several high-ranking Agriculture Ministry officials, several businesspeople and lawyers were charged with corruption, interference in the independence of courts, and organized crime.  At least 26 former officials pleaded guilty.

Government authorities do not require private companies to establish internal codes of conduct that would prohibit bribery of public officials. However, businesses have adopted such measures voluntarily, especially those with foreign ownership that often have company-wide internal codes of conduct. In many cases such companies extend these codes of conduct to their contractors.  Public entities and private companies with at least 50 employees are required by law to set up an internal channel to report corruption or unlawful conduct.

NGOs investigating corruption do not enjoy any special protection, however, they are regularly consulted by government agencies, such as the Prime Minister’s Office, the Ministry of Justice, and the Public Procurement Office.

Please consult the following websites for more information:

  1. European Commission, Special Eurobarometer 502, Corruption, December 2019:
  2. Transparency International 2021 Corruption Perceptions Index:
  3. Transparency International 2021 Global Corruption Barometer – European Union:
  4. Spring 2021 Foreign Chambers of Commerce Joint Survey:
  5. GRECO’s 5th Evaluation Round Compliance Report on the Slovak Republic, 2021:
  6. OECD Integrity Review of the Slovak Republic, March 3, 2022:
  7. Whistleblower Protection Office:
  8. The Register of Public Sector Partners:
  9. Central Registry of Contracts:
  10. Public Procurement Office:
  11. Office for the Management of Seized Assets:
  12. Code of Conduct for Civil Servants:

Resources to Report Corruption

Contact details of government agencies responsible for combating corruption:

Daniel Lipsic
Head of the Special Prosecutor’s Office
Office of the Special Prosecution under the General Prosecutor’s Office
Suvorovova 4343
902 01 Pezinok
Telephone: +421 33 690 3171
Daniel.Lipsic@genpro.gov.sk 

Lubomir Danko
Director of the National Criminal Agency
Ministry of Interior, National Police Headquarters
Racianska 45
812 72 Bratislava
Telephone: +421 964052102
Lubomir.Danko@minv.sk 

Contact details of “watchdog” organizations:

Michal Pisko
Executive Director
Transparency International Slovakia
Bajkalska 25
82718 Bratislava
Telephone: +421 905 613 779
pisko@transparency.sk 

Zuzana Petkova
Executive Director
Stop Corruption Foundation
Stare Grunty 18
841 04 Bratislava
petkova@zastavmekorupciu.sk 

Peter Kunder
Executive Director
Fair Play Alliance

Hubeneho 7
P. O. Box 75
830 05 Bratislava
Telephone: +421 911 724 189
kunder@fair-play.sk 

Slovenia

9. Corruption

Slovenia has no bribery statute comparable to the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. However, Chapter 24 of the Slovenian Criminal Code (SCC) provides statutory provisions for criminal offenses in the economic sector. Corruption in the economy may take many forms, including collusion among private firms or public officials using influence to appoint patrons to the boards of SOEs.

The SCC calls for criminal sanctions against officials of private firms for forgery or destruction of business documents, unauthorized use or disclosure of business secrets, insider trading, embezzlement, acceptance of gifts under certain circumstances, money laundering, and tax evasion.

Articles 241 and 242 of the SCC make it illegal for a person performing a commercial activity to demand or accept undue rewards, gifts, or other material benefits that will ultimately result in harm or neglect to a business organization.

Under Article 261 of the SCC, public officials cannot request or accept a gift to perform or omit an official act within the scope of their official duties. The acceptance of a bribe by a public official may result in a fine or imprisonment of no less than one year, with a maximum sentence of five years. The law also stipulates the seizure of the accepted gift or bribe.

Article 262 holds the gift’s donor accountable, making it illegal for natural persons or legal entities to bribe public officials with gifts. Violation of this article carries a sentence of up to three years. In cases in which the gift giver discloses the attempted bribery before it is detected or discovered, punishment may be reduced.

The State Prosecutor’s Office is responsible for the enforcement of anti-bribery laws. The number of cases of actual bribery is small and generally limited to instances involving inspection and tax collection. The Prosecutor’s Office has reported that obtaining evidence is difficult in bribery cases, making it equally difficult to prosecute. In 2010, the government established the Commission for the Prevention of Corruption (CPC), an independent state body with a broad mandate to investigate corruption, prevent breaches of ethics, and ensure the integrity of public officials. The CPC is not part of Slovenia’s law enforcement or prosecution system, and its employees do not have traditional police powers. However, the CPC has broad legal powers to access and subpoena financial and other documents, question public servants and officials, conduct administrative investigations, and direct law enforcement bodies to gather additional information and evidence within the limits of their authority. The CPC may also issue fines for violations.

In 2011, to combat Slovenia’s ongoing problems with corruption and non-transparent procedures in public procurement, authorities established a new government-wide Public Procurement Agency under the Ministry of Justice to carry out all public procurements over established EU thresholds, including goods and services above EUR 40,000 (USD 47,000) and projects above EUR 80,000 (USD 93,000). In June 2012, the Ministry of Finance took over the agency’s duties and employees. In 2016, the Directorate for Public Procurement was established under the Ministry of Public Administration to oversee public procurements. By law, the National Review Commission provides non-judicial review of all public procurements.

Corruption remains an ongoing problem, although its prevalence is relatively limited and there is no evidence that corruption has been an obstacle to FDI. However, U.S. companies continue to report challenges in some sectors, such as a strong preference for incumbent vendors and tenders written in a way to favor a predetermined winner. Such practices prevent U.S. companies from competing on a level playing field in the public procurement process. The small size of Slovenia’s political and economic elite contributes to a lack of transparency in government procurement and widespread cronyism in the business sector. Several prominent national and local political figures have been charged or tried for corruption in public procurements. Slovenia convicted its first senior public official for accepting a bribe in 2001 and its first member of parliament in 2010. In 2008, investigators accused several public officials, including the prime minister, of accepting bribes from the Finnish defense contractor Patria related to an armored personnel carrier procurement. Although three defendants, including the current prime minister, were convicted in 2013, the convictions were annulled on appeal. In February 2021, four orthopedic surgeons and a salesperson were convicted and sentenced to prison in one of the largest healthcare corruption trials in Slovenia.  The court found that the doctors received a bribe in exchange for continuing to use medical supplies made by a particular producer. The court decision is currently under appeal, but the case marks one of the first convictions for corruption in the national healthcare system.

The CPC has instituted a new system for tracking corruption in public procurement at the municipal level and has uncovered numerous violations since implementation. The CPC also operates with a broad mandate to prevent and investigate breaches of ethics and integrity involving holders of public office. The president of Slovenia appoints the leadership of CPC, which reports to the National Assembly.

Slovenia ratified the UN Anticorruption Convention in 2008.

Slovenia is a party to the OECD Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions.

Somalia

9. Corruption

The provisional constitution criminalizes several forms of corruption such as abuse of office, embezzlement of funds, and bribery. The FGS enacted an anti-corruption bill in September 2019 that provides for the formation of an independent anti-corruption commission at both federal and state levels called the Somalia Independent Anti-Corruption Commission. The commission is now operational, with officers elected in May 2021.  Somalia’s procurement laws have provisions to address potential conflicts of interest in awarding government contracts, but enforcement is lax. Corruption is rampant in all sectors of government, particularly government procurement. Transparency International ranked Somalia 178 of 180 countries in its 2021 Corruption Perceptions Index.

For the past several years, the FGS has waged a campaign against public corruption and graft, resulting in several high-profile dismissals and arrests.  For example, in August 2020 a court convicted four senior Ministry of Health officials of embezzling funds intended to address the COVID-19 pandemic.  However, without a robust asset declaration mechanism, an updated penal code, and a functioning criminal justice system, anti-corruption efforts remain ad hoc, and there is little deterrence.

Procurement laws require all government contracts to go through an open tender process unless they meet specified conditions for limited competition.  However, the FGS has not put the relevant procedures in place, and in practice the FGS still awards lucrative contracts based on close relationships and favors.  Moreover, the FGS has not yet established a procurement board as required by law, which further stifles attempts to ensure transparency and accountability in government procurement activities.  An interim  procurement board  exists, but it meets irregularly.

South Africa

9. Corruption

South Africa has a robust anti-corruption framework, but laws are inadequately enforced, and public sector accountability is low. High-level political interference has undermined the country’s National Prosecuting Authority (NPA). “State capture,” a term used to describe systemic corruption of the state’s decision-making processes by private interests, is synonymous with the administration of former president Jacob Zuma. In response to widespread calls for accountability, President Ramaphosa launched four separate judicial commissions of inquiry to investigate corruption, fraud, and maladministration, including in the Public Investment Corporation, South African Revenue Service, and the NPA which have revealed pervasive networks of corruption across all levels of government. The Zondo Commission of Inquiry, launched in 2018, has published and submitted three parts of its report to President Ramaphosa and Parliament as of March 2022. Once the entire report is reased and submitted to Parliament, Ramaphosa stated his government will announce its action plan. The Zondo Commission findings reveal the pervasive depth and breadth of corruption under the reign of former President Jacob Zuma.

The Department of Public Service and Administration coordinates the GoSA’s initiatives against corruption, and South Africa’s Directorate for Priority Crime Investigations focuses on organized crime, economic crimes, and corruption. The Office of the Public Protector, a constitutionally mandated body, investigates government abuse and mismanagement. The Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act (PCCA) officially criminalizes corruption in public and private sectors and codifies specific offenses (such as extortion and money laundering), making it easier for courts to enforce the legislation. Applying to both domestic and foreign organizations doing business in the country, the PCCA covers receiving or offering bribes, influencing witnesses, and tampering with evidence in ongoing investigations, obstruction of justice, contracts, procuring and withdrawal of tenders, and conflict of interests, among other areas. Inconsistently implemented, the PCCA lacks whistleblower protections. The Promotion of Access to Information Act and the Public Finance Management Act call for increased access to public information and review of government expenditures. President Ramaphosa in his reply to the debate on his State of the Nation Address on 20 February 2018 announced Cabinet members would be subject to lifestyle audits despite several subsequent repetitions of this pledge, no lifestyle audits have been shared with the public or Parliament.

The South Africa government’s latest initiative is the opening of an Office on Counter Corruption and Security Services (CCSS) that seeks to address corruption specifically in ports of entry via fraudulent documents and other means.

South Korea

9. Corruption

In an effort to combat corruption, the ROK has introduced systematic measures to prevent the illegal accumulation of wealth by civil servants. The 1983 Public Service Ethics Act requires high-ranking officials to disclose personal assets, financial transactions, and gifts received during their terms of office. The Act on Anti-Corruption and the Establishment and Operation of the Anti-Corruption and Civil Rights Commission of 2008 (previously called the “Anti-Corruption Act”) concerns reporting of corruption allegations, protection of whistleblowers, and training and public awareness to prevent corruption; the act also establishes national anti-corruption initiatives through the Anti-Corruption and Civil Rights Commission (ACRC). Implementation is behind schedule, according to Transparency International, which ranked the ROK 32 out of 180 countries and territories in its 2021 Corruption Perception Index with a score of 62 out of 100 (with 100 being the best score). The Department of State’s 2020 ROK Human Rights Report highlighted allegations of corruption levied against former Minister of Justice Cho Kuk and his relatives in October 2020. Former ROK presidents Park Geun-hye and Lee Myung-bak were found guilty in separate corruption trials in 2018; the ROK Supreme Court upheld both verdicts in January 2021 and October 2020, respectively. Park received a pardon on December 31, 2021. Political corruption at the highest levels of elected office has occurred despite more recent efforts by the ROK legislature to pass and enact anti-corruption laws such as the Act on Prohibition of Illegal Requests and Bribes, also known as the Kim Young-ran Act, in March 2015. This law came into effect on September 28, 2016, and institutes strict limits on the value of gifts that can be given to public officials, lawmakers, reporters, and private school teachers. It also extends to spouses of such persons. The Act on the Protection of Public Interest Whistleblowers is designed to protect whistleblowers in the private sector and equally extends to reports on foreign bribery; the law also establishes an ACRC-operated reporting center.

A 2014 ferry disaster that resulted in the deaths of 304 passengers brought to public attention collusion between government regulators and regulated industries. Investigators determined that companies associated with the vessel had used insider knowledge and government contacts to skirt legal requirements by hiring recently-retired government officials. In response, the ROK government tightened regulations for hiring former government officials. This reform expanded the number of sectors restricted from employing former government officials, extended the employment ban from two to three years, and increased scrutiny of retired officials employed in fields associated with their former duties.

Most companies maintain an internal audit function to detect and prevent corruption. The Board of Audit and Inspection, which monitors government expenditures, and the Public Service Ethics Committee, which monitors civil servants’ financial activities and disclosures are official agencies responsible for combating government corruption. The ACRC focuses on preventing corruption by assessing the transparency of public institutions, protecting and rewarding whistleblowers, training public officials, raising public awareness, and improving policies and systems. The Act on the Prevention of Corruption and the Establishment and Management of the Anti-Corruption and Civil Rights Commission, along with and the Protection of Public Interest Reporters Act, protects nongovernment organizations and civil society groups reporting cases of corruption to government authorities. In April 2018, laws were updated to allow individuals filing allegations of corruption to report cases through attorneys without disclosing their identities to the courts. In July 2021, the ACRC announced that the revised Anti-Corruption Rights Act, which allows not only whistleblowers but also respondents to confirm facts, will take effect to solve the issues of infringement of rights and interests. Violations of these legal protections can result in fines or prison sentences. U.S. firms have not identified corruption as an obstacle to FDI. The ROK ratified the UN Convention against Corruption in 2008. It is also a party to the OECD Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions and a member of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Anti-Corruption and Transparency Working Group. The ROK Financial Intelligence Unit cooperates with U.S. and UN efforts to disrupt sources of terrorist financing. Transparency International has maintained a national chapter in the ROK since 1999.

South Sudan

9. Corruption

South Sudan has laws, regulations, and penalties to combat corruption, but there is a near total lack of enforcement, and considerable gaps exist in legislation. Transparency International ranked South Sudan the world’s most corrupt country in 2021.

Politically connected people are immune from prosecution. There are no laws that prevent conflict of interest in government procurement. Government officials regularly ask companies to pay extralegal taxes and fees.

The government does not encourage or require private companies to establish internal codes of conduct prohibiting bribery of public officials. There are no indications private companies use internal controls, ethics, and compliance programs to detect and prevent government bribery.

There were no significant anti-corruption cases investigated or prosecuted in 2021.

The 2009 Southern Sudan Anti-Corruption Commission (SSAC) Act established a commission with five members and the chairperson appointed by the President with approval from a simple majority in parliament. The commission is tasked with protecting public property, investigating corruption, and submitting evidence to the Ministry of Justice for necessary action. The SSACC lacks the resources or political support to investigate corruption. It has no independent arrest or prosecution authority or capacity to address state corruption. It can only relay its findings to the Ministry of Justice for prosecution.

South Sudan acceded to the United Nations Convention against Corruption in 2015. The country is not a party to the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention and is not reported to be a participant in regional anti-corruption initiatives.

The country provides no protection to NGOs or journalists who investigate corruption. NGOs and journalists of all types are routinely subject to government harassment, intimidation.

Government security services interfere with and demand payments from all major industries including the extractives sector, hotels, airlines, and banking.

Spain

9. Corruption

Spain has a variety of laws, regulations, and penalties to address corruption. The legal regime has both civil and criminal sanctions for corruption, bribery, financial malfeasance, etc. Giving or accepting a bribe is a criminal act. Under Section 1255 of the Spanish civil code, corporations and individuals are prohibited from deducting bribes from domestic tax computations. There are laws against tax evasion and regulations for banks and financial institutions to fight money laundering terrorist financing. In addition, the Spanish Criminal Code provides for jail sentences and hefty fines for corporations’ (legal persons) administrators who receive illegal financing.

The Spanish government continues to build on its already strong measures to combat money laundering. After the European Commission threatened to sanction Spain for failing to bring its anti-money laundering regulations into full accordance with the EU’s Fourth Anti-Money Laundering Directive, in 2018, Spain approved measures to modify its money laundering legislation to comply with the EU Directive. These measures establish new obligations for companies to license or register service providers, including identifying ultimate beneficial owners; institute harsher penalties for money laundering offenses; and create public and private whistleblower channels for alleged offenses.

The General State Prosecutor is authorized to investigate and prosecute corruption cases involving funds in excess of roughly USD 500,000. The Office of the Anti-Corruption Prosecutor, a subordinate unit of the General State Prosecutor, investigates and prosecutes domestic and international bribery allegations. The Audiencia Nacional, a corps of magistrates has broad discretion to investigate and prosecute alleged instances of Spanish businesspeople bribing foreign officials.

Spain enforces anti-corruption laws on a generally uniform basis. Public officials are subjected to more scrutiny than private individuals, but several wealthy and well-connected business executives have been successfully prosecuted for corruption. In 2021, Spanish courts arraigned 344 defendants involved in 53 corruption cases. The courts issued 65 sentences, with 44 including a full or partial guilty verdict.

There is no obvious bias for or against foreign investors. U.S. firms rarely identify corruption as an obstacle to investment in Spain, although entrenched incumbents have frequently attempted and at times succeeded in blocking the growth of U.S. franchises and technology platforms in both Madrid and Barcelona.

Spain’s rank in Transparency International’s annual Corruption Perceptions Index fell slightly in 2021 to position 34; its overall score (61) is lower than that of many other Western European countries.

Spain is a signatory to the OECD Convention on Combating Bribery and the UN Convention Against Corruption. It has also been a member of the Group of States Against Corruption (GRECO) since 1999. Spain has made progress addressing OECD concerns about the low level of foreign bribery enforcement in Spain and the lack of implementation of the enforcement-related recommendations. In a 2021 report, GRECO highlighted that of the group’s 11 recommendations to combat corruption from 2013, six had been fully implemented, four had been partly implemented, and one had not been implemented.

Sri Lanka

9. Corruption

While Sri Lanka has generally adequate laws and regulations to combat corruption, enforcement is often weak and inconsistent. U.S. firms identify corruption as a major constraint on foreign investment, but generally not a major threat to operating in Sri Lanka once contracts have been established. The business community claims that corruption has the greatest effect on investors in large projects and on those pursuing government procurement contracts. Projects geared toward exports face fewer problems. A Right to Information Act came into effect in February of 2017 which increased government transparency.

The Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption (CIABOC or Bribery Commission) is the main body responsible for investigating bribery allegations, but it is widely considered ineffective and has reportedly made little progress pursuing cases of national significance. The law states that a public official’s offer or acceptance of a bribe constitutes a criminal offense and carries a maximum sentence of seven years imprisonment and fine. Bribery laws extend to family members of public officials, but political parties are not covered. A bribe by a local company to a foreign official is also not covered by the Bribery Act and the government does not require private companies to establish internal codes of conduct that prohibit bribery of public officials. Thus far, the Bribery Commission has focused on minor cases such as bribes taken by traffic police, wildlife officers, and school principals. These cases reportedly follow a pattern of targeting low-level offenses with prosecutions years after the offense followed by the imposition of sentences not always proportionate to the conduct (i.e., sometimes overly strict, other times overly lenient).

Government procurement regulations contain provisions on conflicts-of-interest in awarding contracts or government procurement. While financial crime investigators have developed a number of cases involving the misappropriation of government funds, these cases have often not moved forward due to lack of political will, political interference, and lack of investigative capacity. Sri Lanka signed and ratified the UN Convention against Corruption in March of 2004 and the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime in 2006. Sri Lanka is a signatory to the OECD-ADB Anti-Corruption Regional Plan but has not joined the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention.

Sudan

9. Corruption

Corruption is widespread in Sudan. The law provides criminal penalties for corruption by officials; nevertheless, government corruption at all levels is widespread. The Bashir regime made a few efforts to enforce legislation aimed at preventing and prosecuting corruption.  The law provides the legislative framework for addressing official corruption, but implementation under the Bashir regime was weak, and punishments were lenient. Officials found guilty of corrupt acts could often avoid jail time if they returned ill-gotten funds. Under the Bashir regime, journalists who reported on government corruption were sometimes intimidated, detained, and interrogated by security services.

A special anticorruption attorney investigated and prosecuted corruption cases involving officials, their spouses, and their children. Punishments for embezzlement include imprisonment or execution for public service workers, although these were almost never carried out. Under the Bashir regime, media reporting on corruption was considered a “red line” set by the National Intelligence and Security Services and a topic that authorities, for the most part, prohibited newspapers from covering. While reporting on corruption was no longer a red line under the CLTG, media continued to practice self-censorship on issues related to corruption.  In August 2019, Omar Bashir was formally indicted on charges of corruption and illegal possession of foreign currency. Bashir’s trial began in August 2019; in December 2019, he was convicted and sentenced to two years’ imprisonment on these charges. Bashir remains imprisoned as further charges are pending.

Financial Disclosure: Under the Bashir regime, the law required high-ranking officials to publicly disclose income and assets. There were no clear sanctions for noncompliance, although the former Anti-Corruption Commission possessed discretionary powers to punish violators. The Financial Disclosure and Inspection Committee and the Unlawful and Suspicious Enrichment Administration at the Ministry of Justice both monitored compliance. Despite three different bodies ostensibly charged with monitoring financial disclosure regulations, there was no effective enforcement or prosecution of offenders.

The 2019 Constitutional Declaration includes financial disclosure and prohibition of commercial activity provisions for members of the Sovereign Council and Council of Ministers, state and regional governors, and members of the Transitional Legislative Council. It also mandates the creation of an anti-corruption commission (not established) and an Empowerment Elimination, Anti-Corruption, and Funds Recovery Committee (informally called the Dismantling Committee). However, following the October 2021 military takeover, the commission was abolished, many of its members imprisoned on corruption charges, and many government employees dismissed at the Commission’s direction were re-instated in their positions. Sudan ranked 164 out of 180 countries on Transparency International ‘s 2021  Corruption Perceptions Index .

https://www.transparency.org/en/cpi/2021 

Suriname

9. Corruption

Suriname’s legal code penalizes corruption, but often enforcement has been sporadic. Government officials are occasionally removed from assignments, but convictions are rare. On September 1, 2017, the parliament passed anti-corruption legislation nearly 15 years after the initial draft bill was introduced to the National Assembly. An anti-corruption commission, mandated in the legislation, has not been created. In August 2020, President Santokhi established a Presidential committee to inventory executive orders and determine what steps are necessary to start the commission. Suriname ranks 94 out of 180 countries on the Corruption Index of Transparency International. Existing anti-corruption laws do not extend to family members of officials, or to political parties.

There are currently no laws or regulations to counter conflict-of-interest in awarding contracts or government procurement. The Ministry of Public Works announced that it will soon adopt stricter, but also flexible, measures for transparency in public tenders. Legal requirements for tenders are to be examined. Non-legal requirements will be adjusted and introduced shortly. Civil servants and politicians will be prohibited from taking part in tenders.

The government does not encourage or require private companies to establish internal codes of conduct prohibiting bribery of public officials. Local private companies do not use internal controls, ethics, or compliance programs to detect and prevent bribery of government officials. Multinationals follow international standards.

Suriname has signed and ratified the Inter-American Convention against Corruption.

Last November, the authorities announced that Suriname ratified the UN Convention against Corruption. Suriname is not a party to the OECD Convention on Combatting Bribery. There are no NGOs that focus exclusively on investigating corruption.

U.S. firms have identified corruption as an obstacle to FDI. Corruption is believed to be most pervasive in government procurement, the awarding of licenses and concessions, customs, and taxation.

Sweden

9. Corruption

Investors have an extremely low likelihood of encountering corruption in Sweden. While there have been cases of domestic corruption at the municipal level, most companies have high anti-corruption standards, and an investor would not typically be put in the position of having to pay a bribe to conduct business.

There are cases of Swedish companies operating overseas that have been charged with bribing foreign officials; however, these cases are relatively rare. Although Sweden has comprehensive laws against corruption, and ratified the 1997 OECD Anti-bribery Convention, in June of 2012, the OECD Anti-Bribery Working Group has given an unfavorable review of Swedish compliance to the dictates of that Convention. The group faulted Sweden for not having a single conviction of a Swedish company for bribery in the last eight years, for having unreasonably low fines, and for not re-framing their legal system so that a corporation could be charged with a crime. Swedish officials object to the review, claiming that lack of convictions is not proof of prosecutorial indifference, but rather indicative of high standards of ethics in Swedish companies. In 2019, the OECD Anti-Bribery Working Group repeated its recommendations and urged Sweden to follow them. Over the last five years, two high-profile cases have involved Swedish companies. Telia Company’s operations in Uzbekistan received considerable public attention and cost the CEO and other senior officials their jobs. Telia Company was in the process of divesting its operations in Uzbekistan following a probe by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) pertaining to illegal payments. In September 2017, Telia Company reached an agreement to pay $965.8 million to settle U.S. and European criminal and civil charges that the company had paid bribes to win business in Uzbekistan. In December 2019, Ericsson reached an agreement with the Department of Justice to pay more than $1 billion to resolve a foreign corrupt practices case which involved bribing government officials, falsifying books and records, and failing to implement reasonable internal accounting controls.  The resolutions covered criminal conduct in Djibouti, China, Vietnam, Indonesia, and Kuwait. Ericsson also entered into a three-year Deferred Prosecution Agreement (DPA) with the DOJ. As part of this resolution, Ericsson agreed to engage an independent compliance monitor for three years. The monitor’s main responsibilities include reviewing Ericsson’s compliance with the terms of the settlement and evaluating Ericsson’s progress in implementing and operating its enhanced compliance program and accompanying controls as well as providing recommendations for improvements.Sweden does not have a specific agency devoted exclusively to anti-corruption, but a number of agencies cooperate together. A list of Sweden’s Public and Private Anti-Corruption Initiatives can be found at https://www.ganintegrity.com/portal/country-profiles/sweden .

UN Anticorruption Convention, OECD Convention on Combatting Bribery

Sweden has signed and ratified the UN Anticorruption Convention (see list of signatories at http://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/treaties/CAC/signatories.html ).

Sweden is party to the OECD Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions (see list of signatories and their implementation reports at http://www.oecd.org/daf/anti-bribery/countryreportsontheimplementationoftheoecdanti-briberyconvention.htm ).

Switzerland and Liechtenstein

9. Corruption

Switzerland is ranked 7th of 180 countries in Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index 2021, reflecting low perceptions of corruption in society. Under Swiss law, officials are not to accept anything that would “challenge their independence and capacity to act.” In case of non-compliance the law foresees criminal penalties, including imprisonment for up to five years, for official corruption, and the government generally implements these laws effectively. The bribery of public officials is governed by the Swiss Criminal Code (Art. 322), while the bribery of private individuals is governed by the Federal Law Against Unfair Competition. The law defines as granting an “undue advantage” either in exchange for a specific act, or in some cases for future behavior not related to a specific act. Some officials may receive small gifts valued at no more than CHF 200 or CHF 300 for an entire year, which are not seen as “undue.” However, officials in some fields, such as financial regulators, may receive no advantages at all. Transparency International has recommended that a maximum sum should be set at the federal level.

Investigating and prosecuting government corruption is a federal responsibility. A majority of cantons require members of cantonal parliaments to disclose their interests. A joint working group comprising representatives of various federal government agencies works under the leadership of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs to combat corruption. Some multinational companies have set up internal hotlines to enable staff to report problems anonymously.

Switzerland ratified the United Nations Convention against Corruption in 2009. Swiss government experts believe this ratification did not result in significant domestic changes, since passive and active corruption of public servants was already considered a crime under the Swiss Criminal Code.

A review by the Council of Europe’s Group of States against Corruption (GRECO) in 2017 recommended the adoption of a code of ethics/conduct, together with awareness-raising measures, for members of the federal parliament, judges, and the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) to avoid conflict of interests. These measures needed to be accompanied by a reinforced monitoring of members of parliament’s compliance with their obligations. In March 2018, the OECD Working Group on Bribery in International Business Transactions recommended that Switzerland adopt an appropriate legal framework to protect private sector whistleblowers from discrimination and disciplinary action, to ensure that sanctions imposed for foreign bribery against natural and legal persons are effective, proportionate, and dissuasive, and to ensure broader and more systematic publication of concluded foreign bribery cases. The OECD Working Group positively highlighted Switzerland’s proactive policy on seizure and confiscation, its active involvement in mutual legal assistance, and its role as a promoter of cooperation in field of foreign bribery. Regarding detection, the OECD Working Group commended the key role played by the Swiss Financial Intelligence Unit (MROS) in detecting foreign bribery.

A number of Swiss federal administrative authorities are involved in combating bribery. The Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) deals with issues relating to the OECD Convention. The Federal Office of Justice deals with those relating to the Council of Europe Convention, while the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (MFA) deals with the UN Convention. The power to prosecute and judge corruption offenses is shared between the relevant Swiss canton and the federal government. For the federal government, the competent authorities are the Office of the Attorney General, the Federal Criminal Court, and the Federal Police. In the cantons, the relevant actors are the cantonal judicial authorities and the cantonal police forces.

In 2001, Switzerland signed the Council of Europe’s Criminal Law Convention on Corruption. In 1997, Switzerland signed the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention, which entered into force in 2000. Switzerland signed the UN Convention against Corruption in 2003. Switzerland ratified the UN Anticorruption Convention in 2009.

In order to implement the Council of Europe convention, the Swiss parliament amended the Penal Code to make bribery of foreign public officials a federal offense (Title Nineteen “Bribery”); these amendments entered into force in 2000. In accordance with the revised 1997 OECD Anti-Bribery Convention, the Swiss parliament amended legislation as of 2001 on direct taxes of the Confederation, cantons, and townships to prohibit the tax deductibility of bribes.

Switzerland maintains an effective legal and policy framework to combat domestic corruption. U.S. firms investing in Switzerland have not raised with the Embassy any corruption concerns in recent years.

Taiwan

9. Corruption

Tajikistan

9. Corruption

Tajikistan has enacted anti-corruption legislation, but enforcement is politically motivated, and generally ineffective in combating corruption of public officials.  Amendments to the criminal code in 2016 allow individuals convicted of bribery-related crimes to avoid prison in return for payment of fines (roughly $25/day they would have served in prison).

Tajikistan’s laws provide conditions to counter conflict of interest in awarding contracts.  The Tajik government does not require private companies to establish internal codes of conduct that prohibit bribery of public officials.  Tajikistan became a signatory to the UN’s Anticorruption Convention in 2006.  Tajikistan is not a party to the OECD Convention on Combatting Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions.  Tajik authorities do not provide protection to NGOs involved in investigating corruption.

U.S. firms have identified corruption as an obstacle to investment and have reported instances of corruption in government procurement, awards of licenses and concessions, dispute settlements, regulations, customs, and taxation.

Tanzania

9. Corruption

Tanzania has laws and institutions designed to combat corruption and illicit practices. It is a party to the UN Convention against Corruption, but it is not a signatory to the OECD Convention on Combating Bribery. While former President Magufuli’s focus on anti-corruption translated into an increased judiciary budget and new corruption cases, corruption is still viewed as a major, and potentially growing, problem. There have been various efforts to mitigate corruption – including implementing electronic services to reduce the opportunity for corruption through human interactions at agencies such as the Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA), the Business Registration and Licensing Authority (BRELA), and the Port Authority – however, the broader concerns surrounding corruption persist.

Tanzania has three institutions specifically focused on anti-corruption. The Prevention and Combating of Corruption Bureau (PCCB) prevents corruption, educates the public, and enforces the law against corruption. The Ethics Secretariat and its associated Ethics Tribunal under the President’s office enforce compliance with ethical standards defined in the Public Leadership Codes of Ethics Act 1995.

Companies and individuals seeking government tenders are required to submit a written commitment to uphold anti-bribery policies and abide by a compliance program. These steps are designed to ensure that company management complies with anti-bribery polices, though the effectiveness of this step is unclear.

The GoT is currently implementing its National Anti-Corruption Strategy and Action Plan Phase III (2017-2022) (NACSAP III) which is a decentralized approach focused on broad government participation. NACSAP III has been prepared to involve a broader domain of key stakeholders including GoT local officials, development partners, civil society organization (CSOs), and the private sector. The strategy puts more emphasis on areas that historically have been more prone to corruption in Tanzania such as oil, gas, and other natural resources. Despite the outlined role of the GoT, CSOs, NGOs and media find it increasingly difficult to investigate corruption in the current political environment.

The GoT’s anti-corruption campaign affected public discourse about the prevailing climate of impunity, and some officials are reluctant to engage openly in corruption. Some critics, however, question how effective the initiative will be in tackling deeper structural issues that have allowed corruption to thrive.

Transparency International (TI), which ranks perception of corruption in public sector, gave Tanzania a score of 39 points out of 100 for 2021 and 38 points for 2020. The Afrobarometer report estimates that between 2015 and 2019 the corruption increase in the previous 12 months was only 10 percent in Tanzania, the lowest in Africa. While for the same period, 23 percent of the respondents voted that Tanzania is doing a bad job of fighting corruption, again the lowest in Africa. Thirty-two percent of the respondents also noted that business executives are corrupt, up from 31 percent in 2015.

Thailand

9. Corruption

Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index ranked Thailand 110th out of 180 countries with a score of 35 out of 100 in 2021 (zero is highly corrupt). Bribery and corruption are still problematic. Despite increased usage of electronic systems, government officers still wield discretion in the granting of licenses and other government approvals, which creates opportunities for corruption. U.S. executives with experience in Thailand often advise new-to-market companies to avoid corrupt transactions from the beginning rather than to stop such practices once a company has been identified as willing to operate in this fashion. American firms that comply with the strict guidelines of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) are able to compete successfully in Thailand. U.S. businesses say that publicly affirming the need to comply with the FCPA helps to shield their companies from pressure to pay bribes.

Thailand has a legal framework and a range of institutions to counter corruption. The Organic Law to Counter Corruption criminalizes corrupt practices of public officials and corporations, including active and passive bribery of public officials. The anti-corruption laws extend to family members of officials and to political parties.

As of February 2022, the Thai government is working on an Anti-SLAPP law (strategic lawsuit against public participation) proposed by the Thai National Anti-Corruption Commission. The new law provides a legal definition of SLAPP lawsuits as cases where the plaintiff intends to “suppress public participation in defense of the public interest in good faith” or has the purposed of intimidation, suppressing information, negotiating, or ending litigation” and empowers law enforcement to file Anti-SLAPP charges in court.

Thai procurement regulations prohibit collusion among bidders. If an examination confirms allegations or suspicions of collusion among bidders, the names of those applicants must be removed from the list of competitors.

Thailand adopted its first national government procurement law in December 2016. Based on UNCITRAL model laws and the WTO Agreement on Government Procurement, the law applies to all government agencies, local authorities, and state-owned enterprises, and aims to improve transparency. Officials who violate the law are subject to 1-10 years imprisonment and/or a fine from Thai baht 20,000 (approximately USD 615) to Thai baht 200,000 (approximately USD 6,150).

Since 2010, the Thai Institute of Directors has built an anti-corruption coalition of Thailand’s largest businesses. Coalition members sign a Collective Action Against Corruption Declaration and pledge to take tangible, measurable steps to reduce corruption-related risks identified by third party certification. The Center for International Private Enterprise equipped the Thai Institute of Directors and its coalition partners with an array of tools for training and collective action.

Established in 2011, the Anti-Corruption Organization of Thailand (ACT) aims to encourage the government to create laws to combat corruption. ACT has 54 member organizations drawn from the private, public, and academic sectors. ACT’s signature program is the “Integrity Pact,” run in cooperation with the Comptroller General Department of the Ministry of Finance and based on a tool promoted by Transparency International. The program forbids bribes from signatory members in bidding for government contacts and assigns independent ACT observers to monitor public infrastructure projects for signs of collusion. Member agencies and companies must adhere to strict transparency rules by disclosing and making easily available to the public all relevant bidding information, such as the terms of reference and the cost of the project.

Thailand is a party to the UN Anti-Corruption Convention, but not the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention.

Thailand’s Witness Protection Act offers protection (to include police protection) to witnesses, including NGO employees, who are eligible for special protection measures in anti-corruption cases.

The Bahamas

9. Corruption

The government’s laws to combat corruption by public officials have been inconsistently applied. The law provides criminal penalties for corruption, and the government generally implemented the law effectively when applied. However, there was limited enforcement of conflicts of interest related to government contracts and isolated reports of officials engaging in corrupt practices, including accepting small-scale “bribes of convenience.” The political system is plagued by reports of corruption, including allegations directing contracts to political supporters and providing favorable treatment to wealthy or politically connected individuals. In The Bahamas, bribery of a government official is a criminal act carrying a fine of up to $10,000, a prison term of up to four years, or both.

The current administration has accused the former administration of inappropriate spending and misappropriation of millions of dollars, particularly during the state of emergency issued due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Emergency Power (COVID-19) Regulations, passed in March 2020, granted widespread powers to the government during the state of the emergency. For example, the legislation allowed the government to bypass normal spending rules and procurement processes, although it did require the government to present Parliament with reports of contracts and pandemic-related funding within six weeks of the expiration of the state of emergency. Despite the state of emergency expiring and being extended several times throughout 2020 and 2021, the former administration failed to report. The Emergency Power Regulations expired for the final time without extension in October 2021.

The new administration has called into question several contracts awarded to companies and individuals by the former administration under the Emergency Power Regulations and has ordered forensic audits of government ministries and agencies. Initial findings suggest significant misappropriation of funds. The former administration admitted it failed to report but denies allegations of corruption. The new administration also accused the former administration of $821 million in undisclosed liabilities and unfunded obligations identified in the former administration’s pre-election report. The former administration denies these allegations, explaining the reporting irregularities were due to differences in accounting methodologies.

As of April 2022, no criminal charges have been filed against members of the former government for these corruption allegations. The current government pledged any decision to prosecute would be supported by independently collected and verified evidence.

The Public Disclosure Act requires senior public officials, including senators and members of Parliament, to declare their assets, income, and liabilities annually. For the 2021 deadline, the government gave extensions to all who were late to comply. The government did not publish a summary of the individual declarations, and there was no independent verification of the information submitted. The campaign finance system remains largely unregulated with few safeguards against quid pro quo donations, creating a vulnerability to corruption and foreign influence.

In September 2021, the government enacted the Public Procurement Act (2021), which overhauls the administration of government contracts to improve transparency and accountability. Senior government officials have called for the legislation to be amended to reflect government capabilities and strengthened with new regulations. Though functional, most agencies with large procurement budgets do not utilize the existing e-procurement portal or registry. Senior Officials purport that the existing e-procurement portal requires modernization to improve functionality.

According to Transparency International’s 2021 Corruption Perceptions Index, The Bahamas ranked 30 out of 180 countries with a score of 64 out of 100. There are no specific protections for NGOs involved in investigating corruption. U.S firms have identified corruption as an obstacle to FDI and have reported perceived corruption in government procurement and in the FDI approvals process.

The government does not, as a matter of government policy, encourage or facilitate illicit drug production or distribution, nor is it involved in laundering the proceeds of the sale of illicit drugs.  No charges of drug-related corruption were filed against government officials in 2021.

The Bahamas ratified major international corruption instruments, including the Inter-American Convention against Corruption in 2000, and has been a party to the Mechanism for Follow-Up on the Implementation of the Inter-American Convention against Corruption (MESICIC) since 2001. The Bahamas is not party to the OECD Convention on Combatting Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions.

The Gambia

9. Corruption

There are laws in place to combat corruption by public officials in The Gambia. These laws are largely ineffective because the committees, which are commissioned to enforce them, are yet to be fully established. In cases when trials are conducted, they are conducted in a non-discriminatory manner. The anti-corruption laws of The Gambia extend to family members of officials and political parties alike. The anti-corruption laws of The Gambia contain laws or regulations that counter conflict-of-interest in awarding contracts or government procurement.

The Gambian Government encourages private companies to establish internal codes of conduct that prohibit bribery of public officials. The constitution of The Gambia calls for internal codes of conduct (Section 222), as do the OECD Guidelines on Corporate Governance to which The Gambia is a signatory. Private companies use internal controls and other programs to detect and prevent bribery of government officials. Private companies use internal controls and other programs to detect and prevent bribery of government officials.

The Gambia has signed and ratified the African Union Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption and Related Offences but has not ratified the OECD Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions. In May 2014, The Gambia ratified the UN Anticorruption Convention. During former President Jammeh’s rule, the GOTG did not provide protections to NGOs involved in investigating corruption. However, such protections are likely as part of the new administration’s pledge to act regarding the African Union convention on preventing and combatting corruption.

At least one U.S. firm complained in 2016 of corruption as an obstacle to FDI. This complaint was reported in the water resource management sector and involved a commercial dispute between the GOTG and a U.S. firm. The firm has since indicated that the new administration is taking steps to resolve the matter.

A growing number of Gambians say corruption is on the rise and the government is not doing enough to combat it, the latest Afrobarometer survey shows. Over the past three years, citizens’ perceptions of widespread corruption among public officials have increased significantly. A number of Gambians report having to pay bribes to obtain public services, and only half believe they can report corruption to the authorities without fear of retaliation (Source: https://afrobarometer.org/countries/gambia-1). An anti-corruption bill introduced in the National Assembly in December 2019 has yet to be passed, and the Gambia has no anti-corruption commission, despite being a signatory to numerous conventions, including the African Union Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption. The 2020 Corruption Perceptions Index ranked The Gambia 102nd, or more corrupt than 101 out of 179 countries.

No international, regional, or local NGOs operating as “watchdog” organizations monitoring corruption are known to exist in the country.

The Netherlands

9. Corruption

The Netherlands fully complies with international standards on combating corruption.  Transparency International ranked the Netherlands eighth in its 2020 Corruption Perception Index. Anti-bribery legislation to implement the 1997 OECD Anti-Bribery Convention (ABC) entered into effect in 2001.  The anti-bribery law reconciles the language of the ABC with the EU Fraud Directive and the Council of Europe Convention on Fraud.  Under the law, it is a criminal offense if one obtains foreign contracts through corruption.

At the national level, the Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations and Ministry of Justice and Security have both taken steps to enhance regulations to combat bribery in the processes of public procurement and issuance of permits and subsidies.  Most companies have internal controls and/or codes of conduct that prohibit bribery.

Several agencies combat corruption.  The Dutch Whistleblowers Authority serves as a knowledge center, develops new instruments for tracking problems, and identifies trends on matters of integrity.  The Independent Commission for Integrity in Government is an appeals board for whistleblowers in government and law enforcement agencies.

The Netherlands signed and ratified the UN Anticorruption Convention and is party to the OECD Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions.

The Philippines

9. Corruption

Corruption is a pervasive and long-standing problem in both the public and private sectors. The country’s ranking in Transparency International’s 2021 Corruption Perceptions Index declined to the 117th spot (out of 180), its worst score in nine years. The 2021 ranking was also dragged down by the government’s poor response to COVID-19, with Transparency International characterizing it as abusive enforcement of laws and accusing the government of major human rights and media freedom violations. Various organizations, including the World Economic Forum, have cited corruption among the top problematic factors for doing business in the Philippines. The Bureau of Customs is still considered to be one of the most corrupt agencies in the country.

The Philippine Development Plan 2017-2022 outlines strategies to reduce corruption by streamlining government transactions, modernizing regulatory processes, and establishing mechanisms for citizens to report complaints. A front-line desk in the Office of the President, the Presidential Complaint Center, or PCC (https://op-proper.gov.ph/contact-us/ ), receives and acts on corruption complaints from the general public. The PCC can be reached through its complaint hotline, text services (SMS), and social media sites.

The Philippine Revised Penal Code, the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, and the Code of Ethical Conduct for Public Officials all aim to combat corruption and related anti-competitive business practices. The Office of the Ombudsman investigates and prosecutes cases of alleged graft and corruption involving public officials. Cases against high-ranking officials are brought before a special anti-corruption court, the Sandiganbayan, while cases against low-ranking officials are filed before regional trial courts.

The Office of the President can directly investigate and hear administrative cases involving presidential appointees in the executive branch and government-owned and controlled corporations. Soliciting, accepting, and/or offering/giving a bribe are criminal offenses punishable by imprisonment, a fine, and/or disqualification from public office or business dealings with the government. Government anti-corruption agencies routinely investigate public officials, but convictions by courts are limited, often appealed, and can be overturned. Recent positive steps include the creation of an investors’ desk at the office of the ombuds Office, and corporate governance reforms of the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Timor-Leste

9. Corruption

Transparency International ranked Timor-Leste 82 out of 180 countries in its 2020 Corruption Perceptions Index. In 2010, the Anti-Corruption Commission (CAC), an independent agency, opened its doors, with support from USAID and the U.S. Millennium Challenge Corporation. That same year, the Office of the Prosecutor General forwarded its first high-profile corruption case to the courts. Since then, the CAC has referred several cases to the Office of the Prosecutor General, which have resulted in several ongoing investigations. In 2016, former Minister of Finance Emilia Pires and former Vice-Minister of Health Madalena Hanjam, were convicted of participating in improper procurement of hospital beds. Both received prison sentences. In 2020 and 2021, the government waived immunity for multiple former and current parliamentarians to criminal prosecution for fraud. In January 2022, the Minister of Parliamentary Affairs and Social Justice was accused of corruption involving a contract to supply set-top cable boxes. The Prime Minister waived any immunities, and the CAC conducted an investigation. The Dili Prosecutor’s office will determine if there is sufficient evidence to submit the case to the court. Under Timorese law, bribery is a crime punishable with up to four years of imprisonment. Timor-Leste has also signed and ratified the UN Anticorruption Convention; however, it is not a party to the OECD Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions.

In July 2020, parliament approved a new anti-corruption bill with new identified offenses, including in the private sector, which included penalties for construction fraud and a failure to declare assets or unjustified wealth. The Law on Measures to Prevent and Fight Corruption (No. 7/2020) went into effect in late 2020.

Togo

9. Corruption

The Togolese government has established several important institutions designed in part to reduce corruption by eliminating opportunities for bribery and fraud: the Togolese Revenue Authority (OTR), the One-Stop Shop to create new businesses (CFE), and the Single Window for import/export formalities.

In 2015, the Togolese government created the High Authority for the Prevention and Fight against Corruption and Related Offenses (HAPLUCIA), which the government designed to be an independent institution dedicated to fighting corruption. The government appointed members in 2017. HAPLUCIA encourages private companies to establish internal codes of conduct that, among other things, prohibit bribery of public officials. HAPLUCIA presented on February 7, 2019 its strategic plan for the period 2019-2023; it set up a toll-free number, the “8277” to receive complaints and denunciations.

Anti-corruption laws extend to family members of officials, and to political parties and the government does not interfere in the work of anti-corruption NGOs.

In 2011, the government effectively implemented procurement reforms to increase transparency and reduce corruption. The government announces procurements weekly in a government publication. Once contracts are awarded, all bids and the winner are published in the weekly government procurement publication. Other measurable steps toward controlling corruption include joining the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) and establishing public finance control structures and a National Financial Information Processing Unit.

Togo signed the UN Anticorruption Convention in 2003 and ratified it on July 6, 2005.

Resources to Report Corruption

Contact at the government agency or agencies that are responsible for combating corruption:

Essohana Wiyao
President of HAPLUCIA, the High Authority for the Prevention and Fight against Corruption and Related Offenses
Tel. +228 90 21 28 46 / 90 25 77 40
Email: essohanawiyao@yahoo.fr 
Lomé, Togo

Directeur, Anti-Corruption
Office Togolais des Recettes (OTR)
41 Rue des Impôts
02 BP 20823
Lomé, Togo
+228 – 22 53 14 00
otr@otr.tg 

Contact at a “watchdog” organization:

Samuel Kaninda
Regional Coordinator, West Africa
Transparency International
Alt-Moabit 96
10559 Berlin
Germany
+49 30 3438 20 773
skaninda@transparency.org 

Trinidad and Tobago

9. Corruption

Various pieces of legislation address corruption of public officials:

  • The Integrity in Public Life Act requires public officials to disclose assets upon taking office and at the end of tenure.
  • The Freedom of Information Act gives members of the public a general right (with specified exceptions) of access to public authorities’ official documents. The intention of the act was to address the public’s concerns of corruption and to promote a system of open and good governance. In compliance with the act, designated officers in each ministry and statutory authority process applications for information.
  • The Police Complaints Authority Act establishes a mechanism for complaints against police officers in relation to, among other things, police misconduct and police corruption.
  • The Prevention of Corruption Act provides for certain offences and punishment of corruption in public office.

The laws are non-discriminatory in their infrequent application. Effectiveness of these measures has been limited by a lack of thorough enforcement. These laws do not extend to family members of officials or to political parties. TT does not have laws or regulations to counter conflicts of interest in awarding contracts or government procurement.

The GoTT has been a party to the development of corporate governance standards (non-binding) to encourage private companies to establish internal codes of conduct that, among other things, prohibit bribery of public officials. Some private companies, particularly the larger firms, use internal controls and compliance programs to detect and prevent bribery of government officials, although this is not a government requirement.

TT adheres to the UN Anticorruption Convention. There are no protections for NGOs involved in investigating corruption, but investigations are not feared since corrupt actors are rarely punished.

U.S. firms often say corruption is an obstacle to FDI, particularly in government procurement, since TT’s procurement processes are not transparent.

Tunisia

9. Corruption

Most U.S. firms involved in the Tunisian market do not identify corruption as a primary obstacle to foreign direct investment. However, some have reported that routine procedures for doing business (customs, transportation, and some bureaucratic paperwork) are sometimes tainted by corrupt practices. Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index 2021 gave Tunisia a score of 44 out of 100 and a rank of 70 among 180 countries marking the same score and a slight ranking improvement from 69 in 2020. Regionally, Tunisia is ranked 7 for transparency among MENA countries and first in North Africa, ahead of Morocco, Algeria, Egypt, and Libya. Transparency International expressed concern that Tunisia’s score has not improved in recent years despite advances in anti-corruption legislation, including laws to protect whistleblowers, improve access to information, and encourage asset declarations by public officials or individuals with public trust roles.

Polls indicated that most citizens viewed widespread corruption as a key hindrance to effective government. President Saied has consistently stated that ending corruption and prosecuting corrupt businesspeople and others is one of his top priorities. Since July 25, 2021, some members of parliament were charged and detained based on corruption allegations. Recent government efforts to combat corruption include: assurances that price controls on staple and basic food products are respected; combatting price gouging; hoarding, and monopolistic practices; enhancement of commercial competition in the domestic market; arrests of corrupt businessmen and officials; and harmonization of Tunisian corruption laws with those of the European Union.

The constitution requires those holding high government offices to declare assets “as provided by law.” In 2018, Parliament adopted the Assets Declaration Law, identifying 35 categories of public officials required to declare their assets upon being elected or appointed and upon leaving office. By law, the National Authority for the Combat Against Corruption (INLUCC) is then responsible for publishing the lists of assets of these individuals on its website. In addition, the law requires other individuals in specified professions that have a public role to declare their assets to the INLUCC, although this information is not made public. This provision applies to journalists, media figures, civil society leaders, political party leaders, and union officials. The law also enumerates a “gift” policy, defines measures to avoid conflicts of interest, and stipulates the sanctions that apply in cases of illicit enrichment. In 2019, Tunisia’s newly elected government officials declared their assets, including the 217 Members of Parliament. The declaration of assets was also made in September 2020 and again in October 2021, when new governments took office.

On August 20 security personnel ordered the closure of INLUCC’s headquarters. Beside the declaration of assets by the new cabinet on October 15, 2021, INLUCC’s offices have remained closed and its work paused.  INLUCC’s regional offices have been closed since January 1, 2022. The government has not given a reason for the ongoing closure and has not announced plans for the creation of an alternative anticorruption institution.

In February 2017, Parliament passed law no. 2017-10 on corruption reporting and whistleblower protection. The legislation was a significant step in the fight against corruption, as it establishes the mechanisms, conditions, and procedures for denouncing corruption. Article 17 of the law provides protection for whistleblowers, and any act of reprisal against them is considered a punishable crime. For public servants, the law also guarantees the protection of whistleblowers against possible retaliation from their superiors. In September 2017, the GOT established the Independent Access to Information Commission.  This authority was prescribed in the 2016 Access to Information Law to proactively encourage government agencies to comply with the new law and to adjudicate complaints against the government for failing to comply with the law. Following the passage of the access to information and whistleblower protection laws, the government initiated an anti-corruption campaign led by then prime minister Youssef Chahed.  A series of arrests and investigations targeted well-known businesspersons, politicians, journalists, police officers, and customs officials.  Preliminary charges included embezzlement, fraud, and taking bribes.

Tunisia’s penal code devotes 11 articles to defining and classifying corruption and assigns corresponding penalties (including fines and imprisonment). Several other regulations also address broader concepts of corruption. Detailed information on the application of these laws and their effectiveness in combating corruption is not publicly available, and there are no GOT statistics specific to corruption. The Independent Commission to Investigate Corruption handled corruption complaints from 1987 to 2011. The commission referred 5 percent of cases to the Ministry of Justice. In 2012, the commission was replaced by the National Authority to Combat Corruption (INLUCC), which has the authority to forward corruption cases to the Ministry of Justice, give opinions on legislative and regulatory anti-corruption efforts, propose policies and collect data on corruption, and facilitate contact between anti-corruption efforts in the government and civil society. Tunisia’s constitution stipulates that INLUCC is a temporary institution, and that Parliament must appoint members to a permanent Institute for Good Governance and Anticorruption.  Parliament did not make substantive progress toward establishing this permanent institution prior to July 25, 2021. Prime Minister Fakhfakh resigned on July 15, 2020, following allegations of a conflict of interest involving his partial ownership of companies that received government contracts.  In apparent retaliation for his ouster, Fakhfakh dismissed then INLUCC president Chawki Tabib, replacing him with Imed Boukhris, a former judge.

During a March 16, 2019 press conference, INLUCC president Chawki Tabib said that it takes 7-10 years on average for corruption cases to be processed in the judicial system. In 2018, the Tunisian Financial Analysis Committee, which operates under the auspices of the Central Bank as a financial intelligence unit, announced that it froze approximately 200 million dinars ($70 million) linked to suspected money-laundering transactions. The committee received approximately 600 reports of suspicious transactions related to corruption and illicit financial flows during the year.

Since 1989, a comprehensive law designed to regulate each phase of public procurement has governed the public sector. The GOT also established the Higher Commission on Public Procurement (HAICOP) to supervise the tender and award process for major government contracts. The government publicly supports a policy of transparency. Public tenders require bidders to provide a sworn statement that they have not and will not, either by themselves or through a third party, make any promises or give gifts with a view to influencing the outcome of the tender and realization of the project. Starting September 2018, the government imposed by decree that all public procurement operations be conducted electronically via a bidding platform called Tunisia Online E-Procurement System (TUNEPS). Despite the law, competition on government tenders appears susceptible to corrupt behavior. Pursuant to the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), the U.S. Government requires that American companies requesting U.S. Government advocacy certify that they do not participate in corrupt practices.

Turkey

9. Corruption

Corruption remains a concern, a reality reflected in Turkey’s sliding score in recent years in Transparency International’s annual Corruption Perceptions Index, where it ranked 96 of 180 countries and territories around the world in 2021. Government mechanisms to investigate and punish alleged abuse and corruption by state officials remained inadequate, and impunity remained a problem. Though independent in principle, the judiciary remained subject to government, and particularly executive branch, interference, including with respect to the investigation and prosecution of major corruption cases. (See the Department of State’s annual Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for more details: https://www.state.gov/reports-bureau-of-democracy-human-rights-and-labor/country-reports-on-human-rights-practices/). Turkey is a participant in regional anti-corruption initiatives such as the G20 Anti-Corruption working group. The Presidential State Supervisory Council is responsible for combating corruption.

Public procurement reforms were designed in Turkey to make procurement more transparent and less susceptible to political interference, including through the establishment of an independent public procurement board with the power to void contracts. Critics claim that government officials have continued to award large contracts to firms friendly with the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), especially for large public construction projects.

Turkish legislation prohibits bribery, but enforcement is uneven. Turkey’s Criminal Code makes it unlawful to promise or to give any advantage to foreign government officials in exchange for their assistance in providing improper advantage in the conduct of international business. The Financial Action Task Force (“FATF”) placed Turkey in October 2021 onto its list of countries subject to increased monitoring. Turkey was added alongside 22 other jurisdictions, for strategic deficiencies in its regime to counter money laundering, terrorist financing, and proliferation financing.

The provisions of the criminal law regarding bribing of foreign government officials are consistent with the provisions of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act of 1977 of the United States (FCPA). There are, however, several differences between Turkish law and the FCPA. For example, there is no exception under Turkish law for payments to facilitate or expedite performance of a “routine governmental action” in terms of the FCPA. Another difference is that the FCPA does not provide for punishment by imprisonment, while Turkish law provides for punishment by imprisonment from 4 to 12 years. The Presidential State Supervisory Council, which advises the Corruption Investigations Committee, is responsible for investigating major corruption cases brought to its attention by the Committee. Nearly every state agency has its own inspector corps responsible for investigating internal corruption. The Parliament can establish investigative commissions to examine corruption allegations concerning cabinet ministers; a majority vote is needed to send these cases to the Supreme Court for further action.

Turkey ratified the OECD Convention on Combating Bribery of Public Officials and passed implementing legislation in 2003 to make bribing foreign, as well as domestic, officials illegal. In 2006, Turkey’s Parliament ratified the UN Convention against Corruption.

Resources to Report Corruption

Contact at government agency or agencies are responsible for combating corruption:

Organization: Presidential State Supervisory Council
Address: Beştepe Mahallesi, Alparslan Türkeş Caddesi, Devlet Denetleme Kurulu, Yenimahalle
Telephone number: Phone: +90 312 470 25 00
Fax: +90 312 470 13 03

Name: Seref Malkoc
Title: Chief Ombudsman
Organization: The Ombudsman Institution
Address: Kavaklidere Mah. Zeytin Dali Caddesi No:4 Cankaya ANKARA
Telephone number: +90 312 465 22 00
Email address: iletisim@ombudsman.gov.tr 

Turkmenistan

9. Corruption

There is no single specifically designated government agency responsible for combating corruption. In June 2017, Turkmenistan set up the State Service for Combating Economic Crimes (SSCEC) to investigate officials and state-owned enterprises on corruption charges. SSCEC was later terminated by the President.

There is no independent corruption watchdog organization.

Anti-corruption laws are not generally enforced, and endemic corruption remains a problem. Formally, the Ministry of Internal Affairs (including the police), the Ministry of National Security, and the General Prosecutor’s Office are responsible for combating corruption. President Berdimuhamedov has publicly stated that corruption will not be tolerated.

In 2021, Transparency International ranked Turkmenistan 169 among 180 countries in its Corruption Perceptions Index. Foreign firms have identified widespread government corruption, including in the form of bribe seeking, as an obstacle to investment and business development throughout all economic sectors and regions. It is most pervasive in the areas of government procurement, the awarding of licenses, and customs.

In March 2014, the parliament adopted the Law on Combating Corruption to help identify and prosecute cases of corruption. The law prohibits government officials from accepting gifts (in person or through an intermediary) from foreign states, international organizations, and political parties. It also severely limits the ability of government officials to travel on business at the expense of foreign entities. Notwithstanding the 2014 law, corruption remains rampant. There are no NGOs involved in monitoring or investigating corruption. Certain government officials, including traffic police, are known to ask for bribes.

Uganda

9. Corruption

Uganda has generally adequate laws to combat corruption, and an interlocking web of anti-corruption institutions. The Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Authority Act’s Code of Ethical Standards (Code) requires bidders and contractors to disclose any possible conflict of interest when applying for government contracts. However, endemic corruption remains a serious problem and a major obstacle to investment. Transparency International ranked Uganda 144 out of 180 countries in its 2021 Corruption Perceptions Index, dropping two places from 2020. While anti-corruption laws extend to family members of officials and political parties, in practice many well-connected individuals enjoy de facto immunity for corrupt acts and are rarely prosecuted in court.

The government does not require companies to adopt specific internal procedures to detect and prevent bribery of government officials. Larger private companies implement internal control policies; however, with 80% of the workforce in the informal sector, much of the private sector operates without such systems. While Uganda has signed and ratified the UN Anticorruption Convention, it is not yet party to the OECD Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions and does not protect non–governmental organizations investigating corruption. Some corruption watchdog organizations allege government harassment.

U.S. firms consistently identify corruption as a major hurdle to business and investment. Corruption in government procurement processes remains particularly problematic for foreign companies seeking to bid on Ugandan government contracts.

United Arab Emirates

9. Corruption

The UAE has strict laws, regulations, and enforcement against corruption and has pursued several high-profile cases. The UAE federal penal code and the federal human resources law criminalize embezzlement and the acceptance of bribes by public and private sector workers. There is no evidence that corruption of public officials is a systemic problem. In August 2021, the president of the UAE issued a federal decree holding ministers and senior officials accountable for wrongdoing. Under the decree, the Public Prosecution can receive and accordingly investigate complaints against senior official and take necessary actions, including banning travel and freezing family financial accounts.

The Companies Law requires board directors to avoid conflicts of interest. In practice, however, given the multiple roles occupied by relatively few senior Emirati government and business officials, conflicts of interest exist. Business success in the UAE also still depends much on personal relationships. The monitoring organizations GAN Integrity and Transparency International describe the corruption environment in the UAE as low-risk and rate the UAE highly on anti-corruption efforts both regionally and globally. Some observers note, however, that the involvement of members of the ruling families and prominent merchant families in certain businesses can create economic disparities in the playing field, and most foreign companies outside the UAE’s free zones rely on an Emirati national partner, often with strong connections, who retains majority ownership. The UAE has ratified the United Nations Convention against Corruption.

There are no civil society organizations or NGOs investigating corruption within the UAE.

Resources to Report Corruption

Contact at government agency or agencies are responsible for combating corruption:

Dr. Harib Al Amimi
President
State Audit Institution
20th Floor, Tower C2, Aseel Building, Bainuna (34th) Street, Al Bateen, Abu Dhabi, UAE
+971 2 635 9999
info@saiuae.gov.ae , reportfraud@saiuae.gov.ae

United Kingdom

Uruguay

9. Corruption

Overall, U.S. firms have not identified corruption as an obstacle to investment. Transparency International’s 2021 edition of the Corruption Perception Index ranked Uruguay as having the lowest levels of perceived corruption in Latin America and the Caribbean, and ranked it as the second most transparent country in the Western Hemisphere, after Canada.

Uruguay has laws to prevent bribery and other corrupt practices (No. 17,060), and the acceptance of a bribe is a felony under Uruguay’s penal code. The government neither encourages nor discourages private companies to establish internal codes of conduct.

The Transparency and Public Ethics Board (known by its Spanish acronym JUTEP) is the government office responsible for dealing with public sector corruption. It gained some relevance in recent years – especially as a result of a case that ended in the resignation of Uruguay´s Vice-President in 2017 – but continues having a low-profile and limited resources. There are no major NGOs involved in investigating corruption.

A 2017 law (No. 19,574) established an integral framework to fight money laundering and terrorism finance, brought Uruguay into compliance with OECD and UN norms, and included corruption as a predicate crime.  Uruguay signed and ratified the UN’s Anticorruption Convention. It is not a member of the OECD and therefore is not party to the OECD’s Convention on Combating Bribery.

Uzbekistan

9. Corruption

Uzbekistan’s legislation and Criminal Code both prohibit corruption. President Mirziyoyev has declared combatting widespread corruption one of his top priorities. On January 3, 2017, he approved the Law on Combating Corruption. The law is intended to raise the efficiency of anti-corruption measures through the consolidation of efforts of government bodies and civil society in preventing and combating cases of corruption, attempted corruption, and conflict of interest, ensuring punishment for such crimes. On June 29, 2020, Presidential Decree UP-4761 created an Anti-Corruption Agency. Subordinate to the president and reporting to Parliament, the agency is responsible for developing and implementing state policy to prevent and combat corruption. On July 6, 2021, Presidential Decree UP-6257 approved 2021-2022 State Anti-Corruption program, which includes a range of measures to ensure the transparency of the government and tighten criminal liability for violators. This program complements the strategy adopted in 2019. Its goals are to strengthen the independence of the judiciary system, develop a fair and transparent public service system requiring civil servants to declare their incomes, establish mechanisms to prevent conflicts of interest, and facilitate civil society and media participation in combating corruption.

Along with the Anti-Corruption Committee, the Prosecutor General’s Office of Uzbekistan (PGO) is the government arm tasked with fighting corruption. Since Mirziyoyev took office in September 2016, the number of officials prosecuted under anti-corruption laws has increased. According to official statistics, over 9,000 corruption-related crimes were registered in 2017-2020. In 2021, Uzbekistani law enforcement agencies initiated 2,345 corruption related criminal cases and prosecuted 2,804 government officials, including 16 central, 241 regional and 2,547 local government officials. By preliminary assessments, the damage caused by budget embezzlement and corruption crimes in 2021 exceeded $90 million. Punishment has varied from fines to imprisonment with confiscation of property. Despite more active criminal prosecution of corrupt officials, however, fundamental reforms to eliminate the prerequisites for such offenses again showed no progress – the adoption of the Law on State Civil Service, which was first drafted 25 years ago, is still on hold.

Formally, the anti-corruption legislation extends to all government officials, their family members, and members of all political parties of the country. From January 1, 2022, Uzbekistan introduces a system of mandatory declaration of income and property for all civil servants, heads and deputies of state-owned enterprises and institutions (entities with state ownership share over 50%), as well as for their spouses and minor children.

In recent years, the GOU has demonstrated efforts to improve the legal framework of awarding contracts and procedures for public procurement. To reduce corruption, the new legal framework provides for the introduction of more transparent electronic bidding systems. The new Law on Natural Resources (ZRU-403 of June 23, 2020), in combination with the Law on Production Sharing Agreements, the Law on Concessions, and various Government Resolutions specify procedures for awarding natural resource extraction contracts and licenses. The most recent Public Procurement Law (ZRU-684, adopted April 22, 2021, effective January 1, 2022) streamlines relevant procedures and requirements. According to the legislation, public procurement or a natural resource extraction contract/license can be awarded through an open auction through E-IJRO AUKSION electronic auction platform, or by decision of the government. In the latter case, the legislation lacks details on actual application procedures and the government’s decision-making process. While enforcement of the new legislation is still at early stage, the process of awarding GOU contracts continues to lack transparency.

The Law on Combating Corruption (ZRU-419, adopted January 3, 2017, last updated November 19, 2021) prescribes a range of measures for preventing corruption, including raising public awareness and introducing transparent rules for public-private interactions. According to the law, all public officials are obliged to notify their supervisors or law enforcement agencies of all cases of proposed corruption from businesses or individuals, as well as any similar offenses committed by other public service employees. The law, however, does not specifically encourage companies to establish relevant internal codes of conduct.

Currently only a few local companies created by or with foreign investors have effective internal ethics programs.

Uzbekistan is a member of the OECD Anti-Corruption Network (ACN) for Eastern Europe and Central Asia. One of the latest OECD reports on anti-corruption reforms in Uzbekistan (March 21, 2019) says that, although Uzbekistan has already undertaken a number of key anti-corruption reforms, the GOU now needs to systematize its anti-corruption policy by making it strategic in nature.

The Law on Combating Corruption encourages more active involvement of NGOs and civil society in investigation and prevention of crimes related with corruption. However, there are still very few officially registered local anti-corruption NGOs. One of them – Transparency Uzbekistan – was registered in September 2021. Embassy Tashkent is not aware of any active corruption investigations conducted by local NGOs. There is evidence of unjust persecution of local civil society activists who are fighting corruption.

Corruption is still a notable factor in the economy and social sphere of Uzbekistan due to the insufficiency of law enforcement practices and relatively low wages in the public sector. Recognizing the issue, the country’s leadership has initiated legislative and institutional reforms, which has already raised Uzbekistan’s rating in Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index from 157 (out of 180 rated countries) in 2017 to 140 in 2021. U.S. businesses have cited corruption and lack of transparency in bureaucratic processes, including public procurements and licensing, as among the main obstacles to foreign direct investment in Uzbekistan.

Vietnam

9. Corruption

Vietnam has laws to combat corruption by public officials, and they extend to all citizens. Communist Party of Vietnam General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong has made fighting corruption a key focus of his administration, and the CPV regularly issues lists of Party and other government officials that have been disciplined or prosecuted. Trong recently expanded the campaign to include “anti-negativity,” described loosely as acts that can cause public anger or reputational harm to the CPV. Nevertheless, corruption remains rife. Corruption is due, in large part, to low levels of transparency, accountability, and media freedom, as well as poor remuneration for government officials and inadequate systems for holding officials accountable. Competition among agencies for control over businesses and investments has created overlapping jurisdictions and bureaucratic procedures that, in turn, create opportunities for corruption.

The government has tasked various agencies to deal with corruption, including the Central Steering Committee for Anti-Corruption (chaired by the General Secretary Trong), the Government Inspectorate, and line ministries and agencies. Formed in 2007, the Central Steering Committee for Anti-Corruption has been under the purview of the CPV Central Commission of Internal Affairs since February 2013. The National Assembly provides oversight on the operations of government ministries. Civil society organizations have encouraged the government to establish a single independent agency with oversight and enforcement authority to ensure enforcement of anti-corruption laws.

West Bank and Gaza

9. Corruption

The Palestinian public views corruption as the most important issue in their daily lives according to an October 2021 poll by the Coalition for Integrity and Accountability (AMAN), the Palestinian chapter of Transparency International According to USAID’s West Bank and Gaza Inclusive Growth Diagnostic Study conducted in 2017, only 11 percent of the Palestinian firms surveyed reported ever being asked to pay a bribe, compared to 48 percent in Egypt. Private sector businesses assert that the PA has been successful in reducing institutional corruption and local perceptions of line ministries and PA agencies are generally favorable.

The Anti-Graft Law (AGL) of 2005 criminalizes corruption, and the State Audit and Administrative Control Law and the Civil Service Law both aim to prevent favoritism, conflict of interest, or exploitation of position for personal gain. Despite the AGL, the perception that access to power is needed to succeed in business is pervasive according to contacts. The AGL was amended in 2010 to establish both a specialized anti-graft court and the Palestinian Anti-Corruption Commission, which was tasked with collecting, investigating, and prosecuting allegations of public corruption. The Anti-Corruption Commission, first appointed in 2010, has indicted several high-profile PA officials. Palestinian civil society and media are active advocates of anti-corruption measures and there are international and Palestinian non-governmental organizations that work to raise public awareness and promote anti-corruption initiatives. The most active of these is the Coalition for Integrity and Accountability (AMAN), which is the Palestinian chapter of Transparency International ( http://www.aman-palestine.org/eng/index.htm ).

Zambia

9. Corruption

Zambia’s anti-corruption activities are governed by the Anti-Corruption Act of 2012 and the National Anti-Corruption Policy of 2009, which stipulate penalties for different offenses. The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) is the supreme institution mandated to fight corruption in Zambia and works with partner institutions-Zambia Police, Drug Enforcement Agency and Intelligence Services. While legislation and stated policies on anti-corruption are adequate in theory, implementation often falls short due to limited technical capacity and suspected corruption within key government institutions. The Public Interest Disclosure (Protection of Whistleblowers) Act of 2010 provides for the disclosure of conduct adverse to the public interest in the public and private sectors. However, like with other laws and policies, enforcement is weak. Zambia lacks adequate laws on asset disclosure, evidence, and freedom of information. Although the ACC has the mandate to investigate corruption and sometimes prosecute, it lacks autonomy to fully prosecute cases, often requiring authorization to prosecute from the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP). This practice has been criticized as a conduit for shielding high level crime and corruption through the executive which is perceived as influencing the DPP as an appointing authority. In March 2019 Cabinet approved the Access to Information Bill (ATI), but the draft bill has not been made public or presented to Parliament as of March 2022. The bill aims to ensure the government is proactive and organized in disseminating information to the public. Versions of the ATI Bill have been pending since 2002.

In 2021, Zambia established a fast-track financial crimes court to prosecute public corruption cases. The Hichilema administration has dismissed several key civil service staff and arrested numerous former government officials on suspicion of corruption. Zambia maintained a ranking of 117 out of 180 countries in the 2021 Corruption Perception Index (CPI) report — a drop from 113 in the 2019 report. The legal and institutional frameworks against corruption have been strengthened, and efforts have been made to reduce red tape and streamline bureaucratic procedures, as well as to investigate and prosecute corruption cases, including those involving high-ranking officials. Most of these cases, however, remain on the shelves waiting to be tried while officials remain free, sometimes still occupying the positions through which the alleged corruption took place. In March 2018, Parliament passed the Public Finance Management Bill, which allows the government to prosecute public officials for misappropriating funds, something previous legislation lacked. The government published the implementing regulations in November 2020. Despite this progress, corruption remains a serious issue in Zambia, affecting the lives of ordinary citizens and their access to public services. Corruption in the police service has emerged as an area of particular concern (with frequency of bribery well above that found in any other sector), followed by corruption in the Road Transport and Safety Agency. The government has cited corruption in public procurements and contracting procedures as major areas of concern.

The Anti-Money Laundering Unit of the Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC) also assists with investigation of allegations of corruption and financial misconduct. An independent Financial Intelligence Center (FIC) was established in 2010 but does not have the authority to prosecute financial crimes. Zambia’s anti-corruption agencies generally do not discriminate between local and foreign investors. Transparency International has an active Zambian chapter.

The government encourages private companies to establish internal codes of conduct that prohibit bribery of public officials. Most large private companies have internal controls, ethics, and compliance programs to detect and prevent bribery. The Integrity Committees (ICs) Initiative is one of the strategies of the National Anti-Corruption Policy (NACP), which is aimed at institutionalizing the prevention of corruption. The NACP received the Cabinet’s approval in March 2009 and the Anti-Corruption Commission spearheads its implementation. The NACP targets eight institutions, including the Zambia Revenue Authority, Immigration Department, and Ministry of Lands. The government has taken measures to enhance protection of whistleblowers and witnesses with the enactment of the Public Disclosure Act, as well as to strengthen protection of citizens against false reports, in line with Article 32 of the UN Convention.

U.S. firms have identified corruption as an obstacle to foreign direct investment. Corruption is most pervasive in government procurement and dispute settlement. Giving or accepting a bribe by a private, public, or foreign official is a criminal act, and a person convicted of doing so is liable to a fine or a prison term not exceeding five years. A bribe by a local company or individual to a foreign official is a criminal act and punishable under the laws of Zambia. A local company cannot deduct a bribe to a foreign official from taxes. Many businesses have complained that bribery and kickbacks, however, remain rampant and difficult to police, as some companies have noted government officials’ complicity in and/or benefitting from corrupt deals.

Zambia signed and ratified the United Nations Convention against Corruption in December 2007. Other regional anti-corruption initiatives are the SADC Protocol against Corruption, ratified in 2003, and the AU Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption, ratified in 2007. Zambia is not a party to the OECD Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions but is a party to the Anticorruption Convention. Currently, there are no local industries or non-profit groups that offer services for vetting potential local investment partners. Normally, the U.S. Embassy provides limited vetting of potential local investment partners for U.S. businesses, when contracted as a commercial service.

Zimbabwe

9. Corruption

Endemic corruption presents a serious challenge to businesses operating in Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe’s scores on governance, transparency, and corruption perception indices are well below the regional average. U.S. firms have identified corruption as an obstacle to FDI, with many corruption allegations stemming from opaque procurement processes.

In theory, the government has specified laws that require managers and directors to declare their financial interests in the public sector, although these may not be followed in practice. As noted below, Zimbabwe does not have laws that guard against conflict of interest with respect to the conduct of private companies, but existing rules on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange compel listed companies to disclose, through annual reports, minimum disclosure requirements.

While anti-corruption laws exist and extend to family members of officials and political parties, the government tends to engage in selective enforcement against the opposition while engaging in “catch and release” of government officials and their business partners. As a result, Transparency International ranked Zimbabwe 157 out of 175 countries and territories surveyed in 2020 with respect to perceptions of corruption. In 2005, the government enacted an Anti-Corruption Act that established a government-appointed Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC), the structure of which has evolved over time. Following the end of Robert Mugabe’s rule in November 2017, the government pledged to address governance and corruption challenges by appointing a new ZACC chaired by a former High Court Judge and granting it new powers. President Mnangagwa also established a special unit within his office to deal with corruption cases. Despite these developments, the government has a track record of prosecuting individuals selectively, focusing on those who have fallen out of favor with the ruling party and ignoring transgressions by members of the favored elite. Accusations of corruption seldom result in formal charges and convictions. Zimbabwe does not provide any special protections to NGOs investigating corruption in the public sector. Journalists reporting on high-level corruption have suffered from arbitrary arrests and lengthy detentions.

While Zimbabwe does not have laws that guard against conflict of interest with respect to the conduct of private companies, existing rules on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange compel listed companies to disclose, through annual reports, minimum disclosure requirements. Regarding SOEs, the government has specified laws that require managers and directors to declare their financial interests. In 2016, the World Bank report on the extent of conflict-of-interest regulation index (0-10), put Zimbabwe at 5.

While Zimbabwe signed the United Nations Convention against Corruption in 2004 and ratified the treaty in 2007, it is not party to the OECD Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions.