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.


What programmatic approaches have been used to address or prevent corruption in the construction sector? What measures can be used to prevent the award of government contracts to individuals linked to criminal activities? What oversight is required to ensure transparency and accountability in this area?


To inform design of an anti-corruption and governance programme in the construction sector.


1. Brief overview of corruption risks in the construction sector
2. Programmatic approaches to prevent corruption
3. The role of public accountability in preventing corruption
4. References


The construction sector plays a vital role in supporting social and economic development. Construction is a USD 1.7 trillion industry worldwide, much of which is linked to publicly financed projects. The nature of the projects and their organisation make the sector very vulnerable to corruption, a challenge that is also reflected in comparative analyses.

The 2008 Transparency International Bribe Payers’ Survey, for example, ranked public works and construction as the most corrupt sector (Transparency International 2008).

This expert answer briefly examines the various entry points in the construction project cycle when corruption is most likely to occur. It then describes some programmatic approaches to preventing corruption in construction / infrastructure projects. It is found that implementing codes of conduct, inclusion of contractual provisions that specifically guard against corruption, disclosure of contractual information, raising awareness of corruption issues among all stakeholders, ensuring compliance and effective reporting mechanisms are among the essential components for corruption prevention. Thorough due diligence measures are necessary in order to prevent contracts from being awarded to individuals linked to criminal activities.

An interesting approach to collectively raise the transparency standards across the sector is pursued by a new multi-stakeholder initiative which develops specific guidelines for information disclosure that can help to ensure better accountability and reduced corruption in public construction projects.


Farzana Nawaz, Transparency International, [email protected]


Dieter Zinnbauer, Ph.D., Transparency International, [email protected]




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