3.2 Making anti-corruption someone’s job: the importance of ownership
A crucial lesson emerging from our research is that preventing and tackling corruption ought to be someone’s job. In addition, mission personnel need to be aware of whose job it is, and what is expected of them and of the anti-corruption specialists respectively. In donor institutions, responsibility for monitoring, oversight, audits and anti-corruption measures tends to be dispersed, with any one person or team only responsible for a fraction of the process meant to mitigate corruption risks. Ownership of the issue is key, as is personal attention. One practitioner interviewed for this guidance recalled receiving a complaint on potential fraud by a contractor; immediate personal intervention and demand for an explanation spurred company officials to fix the issue. Without ownership and personal attention, this kind of pressure is difficult to exert.
Having a dedicated point of contact for corruption issues is also of significance for mission personnel. This was perhaps best illustrated by two contracting officers in a current international mission, who stated that finding out about SIGAR and their work has enabled them to contact SIGAR officials with specific queries, requests for a risk assessment, and with requests for preventive checks of particular bids or contracts.
“It really helped to have a group of people whose job it was to help us with corruption issues. We had not been aware they existed; there should have been more information, even posters with dedicated phone numbers. “
Interview with international mission personnel, April 2018
Whose job preventing corruption should be will likely be a function of two factors: the composition and focus of a mission and the type of corruption it faces. With high-level political corruption, overall responsibility for mitigating its impact and not reinforcing it should sit at the top of the mission, with its civilian-political component. Lower-level corruption, which can feed off reconstruction and development project as well as off military-related base construction and logistics, will likely need to be counteracted where it happens: in projects and in supply chains. Counteracting corruption affecting recipient state institutions to whom the mission might be hoping to hand over – such as the armed forces or the police – will need to combine political and civilian pressure on the top of the chain of command with a careful monitoring of specific risks all the way down to unit mentoring.
Case Study: Corruption and UN peace operations
UN's Office of Internal Oversight Services
Created in 1994 in response to widespread allegations of corruption in UN missions in the early 1990s, UN’s Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS), mandated to prevent and investigate fraud and corruption in procurement, has repeatedly identified corruption and fraud in UN missions.View case study
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- audit/anti-corruption units
- Command Group