In wishing you a very happy and peaceful festive season, we look back on an eventful year during which we have been able to advance our efforts to promote good governance and combat financial crimes on various fronts. A highlight of course was the second international conference on anti-corruption Collective Action, where almost 200 practitioners from businesses, government, civil society and academia explored how to strengthen and indeed provide evidence for effectiveness of Collective Action as an anti-corruption tool.
We are excited about initial findings from our two key research projects in the Public Governance Division, where we focus on the role of social norms and informal practices in the fight against corruption, and about our vastly expanded network of associated research institutions across the world. Research findings and their policy implications will be published in 2017, and we look forward to sharing these with you.
Our Peru office, established in 2015, is working intensively with authorities at central and subnational level to strengthen public financial management and increase transparency and integrity in the public administration. In 2016, we are delighted to see the program’s practice-oriented methodology of work, developed to strengthen the budget cycle in regional and local governments, being replicated by the central government for a nationwide application.
Finally, we have seen major breakthroughs this year in the slow but ever so important work of recovering stolen assets. Notably, we were able to obtain final confiscation orders in a number of “our” cases, and are in the process of supporting the return of these assets to the countries of origin. In some of our operations, we have further seen a significant increase in conviction rates and a vastly improved capacity for international cooperation. Last but not least, through an intensified training program, our community of alumni has grown and become much more active, thereby contributing to spreading our core message that going after the money is still, and more so than ever, the most important tool to ensure that anti-corruption law enforcement has a real impact.
Please check in with us regularly on our websites, through our twitter accounts and of course through direct email contact, as we are keen to receive feedback and inputs and look forward to working with all of you again in the New Year.
Best wishes on behalf of the entire Basel Institute team.
Gretta Fenner Managing Director
Want to get the latest in research and practice on anti-corruption Collective Action? Read our summary report
The Basel Institute on Governance and its International Centre for Collective Action (ICCA) hosted an international conference on anti-corruption Collective Action with almost 200 participants from the private sector, government, international organisations and civil society. The conference took place on October 20-21, 2016 in Basel and was part of the B20 efforts to promote Collective Action in anti-corruption.
This year’s edition was organized under the theme Collective Action: Evidence, Experience and Impact and aimed principally at drawing lessons from Collective Action initiatives from around the world as well as dedicated research in relation to the usefulness for companies of Collective Action to more effectively prevent and resist bribery and extortion.
The conference report, now online, summarizes the main proceedings and findings from the event, addressing the latest research and practice in the field.
"Collective Action: Evidence, Experience and Impact". Basel, 20-21 October 2016
International Centre for Asset Recovery (ICAR)
New FATF Evaluation on Switzerland – a comparative analysis
This month, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) released its latest evaluation of Switzerland. According to this FATF report, Switzerland’s regulatory framework on anti-money laundering and terrorism financing (AML/CFT) is well developed, but its application shows certain weaknesses.
The findings of the FATF report have been included in a comparative analysisthat is regularly issued by the Basel Institute on Governance as part of its Basel AML Index to illustrate how countries fare in comparison to each other when it comes to AML/CFT risks.
ICAR assists in implementing Romania’s National Anticorruption Strategy
Romania has recently launched a project to “Support achieving the National Anticorruption Strategy objectives by increasing the efficiency of the asset recovery and management”. The project is funded by the Swiss Agency for Development and Co-operation (SDC), through the Swiss-Romanian Co-operation Programme.
The beneficiary agency of the project is the National Agency for the Management of Seized Assets of Romania (ANABI). ICAR experts will assist ANABI in developing and implementing a national electronic system to manage seized and confiscated criminal assets. This new cooperation between Romania and ICAR follows on from an earlier joint project, then with the Ministry of Justice of Romania, in which ICAR issued a series of recommendations to enhance the investigation capacities of the Romanian authorities to confiscate and recover proceeds of crime. Download the report
The activities to be organised within the ANABI project include a special toolkit containing training material, elaborated and delivered by ICAR experts. In addition, they will also organise training sessions for the prosecutors, police officers, representatives of the National Fiscal Administration and the Romanian Asset Recovery Office on the most recent financial investigation techniques used at European and international level. The training sessions will start at the end of January 2017 and include a Train-The-Trainer component to ensure sustainability.
East Africa: Strengthening regional capacity and cooperation in asset recovery
To strengthen the capacity of East African anti-corruption agencies to investigate and prosecute international corruption and money laundering, and to enhance regional cooperation in this regard, ICAR led a regional training workshop on Financial Investigations and Asset Recovery.
The workshop, which took place in October in Kampala, was hosted by the East African Association of Anti-Corruption Authorities (EAAACA) and funded by the African Development Bank (ADB). Amongst the attendees were representatives from the EAAACA and Southern African Forum Against Corruption (SAFAC) countries and the ADB, thus, including countries such as Botswana, Burundi, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Lesotho, Malawi, Mauritius, Nigeria, South Sudan, Tanzania, Swaziland and Uganda.
The training session focused on the importance for designated law enforcement agencies to bear responsibility for ensuring that money laundering and predicate offences are properly investigated through the conduct of a financial investigation. As is typical for ICAR’s training methodology, this training was built around a one-week practical exercise that led participants through each stage of a simulated case involving the laundering of proceeds of corruption. Participants work in groups to tackle the case. This interactive group work offered an excellent opportunity for participants to share and compare domestic laws and practices whilst developing important inter-agency relationships.
Participants and ICAR trainers at the regional training workshop in Uganda 18 – 21 October 2016.
Uganda: ICAR intensifies capacity building efforts with Financial Intelligence Authority
Throughout 2016, ICAR experts have played a significant role in enhancing Uganda’s capacity to fight money laundering and terrorism financing. Part of this support, provided in the context of the Basel Institute’s involvement in the “Strengthening Uganda’s Anti-Corruption and Accountability Regime” (SUGAR) programme managed by Adam Smith International (ASI), involved assisting the country during the process of identifying and assessing its risk exposure to money laundering and terrorism financing. This so called National Risk Assessment process is now on the brink of being successfully completed.
In addition, ICAR experts have been working very closely with the Financial Intelligence Authority (FIA) of Uganda in setting up its operational processes and organizational structure in line with international standards as applicable to a Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU). This is part of their efforts to be recognized as a member of the EGMONT group. This informal network of national FIUs provides a global network to FIUs to cooperate, especially in the areas of information exchange, training and sharing of expertise, with a view to supporting their respective governments’s fight against money laundering, financing of terrorism and other financial crimes. With the Ugandan FIA making good progress, the membership is expected for 2017.
Second National Risk Assessment workshop in Kampala/Uganda; 14 -16 November 2016
Uganda: Financial investigation and asset recovery Train-The-Trainer programme certifies three trainers
Also as part of the DFID funded and ASI managed SUGAR programme, between July and December 2016 ICAR experts delivered a series of four workshops on financial investigation and asset recovery to investigators and prosecutors from a range of Ugandan law enforcement and prosecuting authorities.
The training team chose a multi-phase approach for Uganda, which included the training of nearly 100 practitioners as well as the selection and training of three highly competent local trainers. During this Train-the-Trainer program, ICAR’s experts coached the three selected trainers gradually to the point where the three ultimately certified ICAR trainers from Uganda were able to deliver the fourth and final workshop in December entirely on their own. We warmly congratulate the three certified trainers and are delighted that they will carry on working with ICAR’s training methodology to support Uganda’s efforts to build capacity in financial investigation and asset recovery.
Madam Inspector General of Government with the 3 certified trainers at the final workshop on Financial Investigations and Asset Recovery; Uganda, December 2016.
Spanish edition of “Practitioner's Guide on tracing illegal assets" now available
A fundamental priority for law enforcement authorities dealing with financial crime is to recover illegally obtained assets and deny criminals access to the proceeds of their crime. The recovery of illegally obtained assets, however, requires first to successfully trace them.
This guidebook, written by ICAR experts, takes a practical approach to tracing illegally obtained assets with a strong emphasis on the intelligence and investigatory aspects of asset recovery. It was originally published in English in 2015, translated into Ukrainian in 2016 and is now available in Spanish. Download for free here
Public Governance (Research) Division
Exploring attitudes towards corruption through the lens of social norms and values in East Africa
What is corrupt behaviour? In order to better understand how endemic corruption “works” from the perspective of the affected populations themselves, researchers from the Basel Institute explore behavioural factors that impact attitudes towards petty corruption in Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda. One of the milestones of the research project has now been successfully completed with a systematic literature review.
This review, to be published in 2017, represents the first effort to systematically explore the intersection between the literature on behaviouralism and corruption studies. The first research findings revealed that what is understood as corrupt behaviour varies significantly across contexts. Especially in non-Western cultures, a prevalence of petty corruption can very often be linked to social norms and practices of reciprocity, sharing, and gift giving which in turn embody deeply held values of gratitude, hospitality, and social justice. Read the full article
Tanzania, 2016: Focus Group, research project on "Corruption, Social Norms and Behaviours in East Africa"
Informal practices fuel and entrench corruption
Recently, researchers from the Basel Institute, University College London (UCL), SOAS London and other international institutions met in Basel to take stock of progress made and discuss next steps in their new anti-corruption research project on “Informal Governance and Corruption”. Emerging evidence from the fieldwork, carried out in East Africa, Central Asia and the Caucasus, suggests that informal practices are not only essential for regime survival but also associated with the prevalence of high levels of corruption.
The multidisciplinary research team found that networks of political elites and influential business interests actively use informal practices of co-optation, control and camouflage to effect a particularistic redistribution of resources and protect the status quo from contestation. These initial findings point to the need of acknowledging this particular functionality of corruption for the purpose of coming up with solutions that go to the heart of the problem.
The conceptual framework on informal governance practices, developed by Claudia Baez Camargo from the Basel Institute with Alena Ledeneva from UCL, will be published in the forthcoming special issue on “Innovations in Corruption Studies in Europe and Beyond” of the Slavonic and East European Review.
Corporate Governance / Compliance Division
Identifying innovative e-tools: how effective are digital tools and applications in the prevention of corruption?
The possibilities that e-tools offer in the fight against corruption are growing year by year and some developments could offer innovative approaches to tackling some of the systemic aspects of corruption.
The Basel Institute has teamed up with GSK and Deloitte to research and identify good governance tools and e-government applications that reduce or deter bribery involving the private and public sectors or that contribute to greater transparency which can reduce bribery in certain circumstances.
The project entitled “Innovative Tools and e-Government Applications in the Prevention of Corruption” will examine a range of e-tools and identify countries that appear to have successfully developed digital solutions that are helpful to the private sector in that they reduce bribery risks and incentivise business. A literature review on the effectiveness of such tools and a survey within the private sector will complement the report.
If your company is interested in being involved in this project either for the survey or in some other way please contact Ms Gemma Aiolfi, Head of Compliance and Corporate Governance: firstname.lastname@example.org
Fighting Malaria: The Basel Institute appointed Integrity Monitor for Mosquito Net Procurement
The Global Fund is an international financing institution that seeks to accelerate the end of AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria as epidemics. The Geneva based organization has selected the Basel Institute on Governance to serve as Integrity Monitor for the procurement of long-lasting insecticide nets (LLINs) financed by the Global Fund.
The role of the Integrity Monitor is to facilitate transparency and accountability in the LLIN bidding and registration process, as well as to identify and promote industry best practices in reducing corruption risks through anti-corruption Collective Action. The project is the first of its kind conducted by the Global Fund, which has obtained commitment from the world’s leading manufacturers of LLINs to participate in an Integrity Pact for global LLIN procurement. Read the full media release