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

Please provide an overview of corruption and anti-corruption in Lebanon, with a focus on the anti-corruption bodies responsible for countering illicit financial flows (IFFs) and for asset recovery

Summary

The power-sharing agreement that rules Lebanon seeks to maintain peace and stability through the distribution of power and government positions to the different groups that make up its population. It has led, however, to mismanagement, inefficiency and widespread corruption, among other problems. The recent crisis, caused by economic downturn, the COVID-19 pandemic, and the Port of Beirut blast, has dramatically increased poverty and inequality. Mounting corruption scandals at the highest levels of government have reduced public confidence in Lebanese institutions, and accessing public services depends on bribe payments or personal connections. As international organisations pressure Lebanon into implementing structural reforms, a number of anti-corruption laws have been approved in recent years. Their implementation remains inadequate, however, and the National Anti-Corruption Commission has not been fully set up. Structural problems, such as the lack of an independent judiciary and prosecution service and immunity for high-level officials, have not been addressed and they threaten the effectiveness of such reforms.

Contents

1. Introduction

  • Background
  • Recent developments

2. Overview of corruption

  • Extent of corruption
  • Forms of corruption

3. Overview of anti-corruption

  • Legal framework
  • Institutional frameworks
  • Role of other stakeholders

4. References

Main points

  • Corruption has reached an all-time high in Lebanon, aggravating an economic crisis that has produced unprecedented poverty and inequality.
  • Corruption is too high a cost for the decades-old power sharing agreement between local elites.
  • Recent corruption scandals have involved high-level public officials, sapping public confidence in the country’s institutions and leading to civil unrest.
  • Access to public services often depends on bribe payments or personal connections (wasta).
  • Several anti-corruption laws have been approved in the past five years, but their implementation remains problematic. Structural issues, such as a lack of an independent judiciary and reduced public transparency, severely impact the effectiveness of these reforms.

Authors

Guilherme France (TI), tihelpdesk@transparency.org

Reviewers

Sophie Lemaître (U4), Mariana Ghawaly (TI) and Julien Courson (Lebanese Transparency Association)

Date

19/09/2022

Tags

Close search

Responsive versions of the site in progress.