2.1 Focusing on sources and centres of power
There are no one-size-fits-all approaches that are guaranteed to work in any circumstances. Rather, anti-corruption interventions and mitigations applied to safeguard missions against supporting corrupt practices need to be tailored to where particular challenges lie and what can be used to promote an alternative way of allocating political and economic goods. In some cases, for example, centralisation and modernisation could be part of the answer, especially if corruption risks are dispersed and corrupt behaviour enabled by lack of monitoring and oversight. However, if corruption mostly affects central institutions and authorities, then decentralising and devolving power could help create alternative power structures.
Power is a useful lens to view anti-corruption measures through. Relationships embedded in networks unified by search for private gain; access to resources; and access to information are all sources of power. If that power is used to divert public resources for private gain, it needs to be checked by supporting or helping create alternative sources of power.
“You need to focus on creating alternative power sources like an independent judiciary and investigations agency. … You also need a free independent media, this is another alternative power source and it provides top cover for investigators. If your local media/judiciary are corrupt, cultivate the federal level bodies. These power bases need to be untouchable for kleptocrats and their integrity beyond reproach.”
Interview with a director of an anti-corruption task force, 2018
- The establishment of anti-corruption agencies (ACAs), provided that they have appropriate powers and are capable of building up their own capacity and creating effective organisational structures, can help set up an alternative power centre. ACAs that are seen as professional and independent are also capable of building anti-corruption coalitions involving the public, media, and pro-reform actors in the political sphere, and to use that support to close off opportunities for corruption and to limit the space of corrupt networks through both investigative and preventive measures. Integrity Watch Afghanistan, for example, has pointed out that an independent ACA could have supported the international community’s attempts to counter corruption in defence and security forces more strongly than internal MoD and MoI structures. In fragile and conflict states where military interventions are in place, insecurity could hamper the development of ACAs, and provision of security that would enable their operations could be a military contribution. Case Study Snippet
Afghanistan: Corruption and the making of warlords
Where international missions operate in fragile environments affected by widespread corruption problems, specialist anti-corruption task forces can help shape and coordinate approaches to mitigating the impact of corrupt practices. They can help promote a shared understanding of the features and consequences of corruption; cultivate and pass on anti-corruption expertise from diverse sources; and shape cooperation between various actors in the area of operations...View Case Study
- Measures promoting collective action against corruption – such as increasing links between change agents and securing support for those who wish to limit the impact of corruption – could also support the formulation of new centres of power. This could, for example, be support to civil society and the media, especially helping to provide security for their operations; or cooperating with reform-minded private sector actors such as companies and chambers of business.
- Measures modelling alternative behaviours and strengthening norms of integrity – such as maintaining high integrity standards among own troops – could help strengthen the hand of those trying to build integrity in host nation institutions.
- Command Group