U4 Anti-Corruption Resource Centre

This Anti-Corruption Helpdesk brief was produced in response to a query from a U4 Partner Agency. The U4 Helpdesk is operated by Transparency International in collaboration with the U4 Anti-Corruption Resource Centre based at the Chr. Michelsen Institute.

Query

What is international good practice when it comes to the content and scope of a national anti-corruption law? Please answer with reference to specific texts from national anti-corruption laws, with a preference for Asian countries.

Purpose

The purpose of this query is to inform our response to the new Cambodian anti-corruption law due this spring. It would be good to have other regional examples to compare with.

Content

1. Good practice in anti- corruption law: General principles
2. Country examples of anti-corruption laws
3. References

Summary

The scope and content of legal instruments used to address corruption vary from country to country. They usually contain a definition of the various forms of corruption that are made illegal, provide for sanctions and penalties, outline specific rules of evidence for the investigation and prosecution of corruption charges and specify the powers of the institutions in charge of enforcing anti-corruption regulations. Some anti-corruption laws also provide for the establishment of special anti-corruption agencies.

Emerging good practice in this area includes prohibiting both active and passive forms of corruption for both the private and the public sectors, covering offences committed both within and outside the country, and introducing adequate criminal procedures regulating the detection, investigation and prosecution of cases. Anti-corruption legislation often provides a comprehensive legal framework that goes beyond provisions criminalising active and passive forms of bribery to cover issues such as access to information, conflict of interests, whistleblower protection, procurement, anti-money laundering regulations and freedom of expression.

An Asian Development Bank (ADB) regional overview of legal practices in Asia and the Pacific provides a good overview of regional standards in anti-corruption legislation. In Asia, elements of good practice in anti-corruption law have been developed in Hong Kong, Singapore and, to a certain extent, Malaysia. South Africa provides another example of anti-corruption legislation outside Asia which is often cited as a reference worldwide. It should be noted that these experiences are not necessarily replicable, and that great caution should be exercised when considering which elements of international good practice might be applicable in the particular case of Cambodia.

Authors

Marie Chêne, Transparency International, mchene@transparency.org

Date

24/02/2010

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