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Journal of the National College of Public Administration and Governance, University

of the Philippines Diliman, the Association of Schools of Public Administration in the Philippines,

and the Philippine Society for Public Administration Ligthart An Overview of East Asian Anti-Corruption Research and Applications Kim Young Jong Toward Improving the Quality of Life Through Controlling the Culture & Eun Sil Kim of Corruption Quah Curbing Corruption in the Philippines: Is this an Impossible Dream?

Prakash Role of Civil Society in Managing Anti-Corruption-Initiatives in India and the Philippines Grossmann Civil Society Anti-Corruption Efforts: The Case of Ukraine JANUARY-DECEMBER 2010 Ocampo Wicked Problems, Government Failures: Corruption and Lesser Evils Brillantes Jr. A Reform Framework for Good Governance: Focus on Anti-Corruption & Fernandez Reyes Corruption, Contradiction and Conscience : A Whistleblower’s Story Co The Long and Winding Road to Infrastructure Development Reform Florano Institutionalizing Reforms through the Citizens Report Card Caraan A Proposed Integrity Model in the Administration of Labor Justice Hernandez Accountability in Aid Management VOL. LIV NOS. 1&2 VOLUME LIV JANUARY-DECEMBER 2010 NUMBERS 1 & 2 OVERVIEW OF EAST ASIAN AC RESEARCH AND APPLICATIONS 1-2 (Jan.-December 2010) 1 Philippine Journal of Public Administration, Vol. LIV Nos.

Whatever You Do, Never Use The C Word: an Overview of East Asian Anti-Corruption Research and Applications Michael ligthart* This article takes stock of 40 years of anti-corruption (AC) research & practices, the progress made and challenges ahead. It takes an East Asia tour, thus carving out the pre-conditions for effective Anti-Corruption Agencies.

These conditions are put in a wider context of organisation-technical, political-economic and micro-economic research. Surveying, modelling, mapping and risk-analyses, the main diagnostics of applied AC research; are used to single out country/sector specific AC strategies. The article main findings are: systemic AC research is only 10 years young, and progressing along the tangibles of procurement, financial-management and servicedelivery, given the fast emerging body of political-economic country and sector studies, and identifying corruption and possible interventions. The academe and policy research should advance along the axes of financial control and political context.

AC research characteristics

Governance and corruption are invariably seen as one of the top problems in East-Asia. Corruption scandals and indicators are always well covered in the media, and NGOs, citizen organisations are increasingly rallying around the GAC theme.

The need to research, understand and control corruption is obvious but comes with difficulties. Its “hidden” nature makes it hard to establish where, how and until what extend there is political and/or bureaucratic corruption. Effective AC initiatives drive corruption into darker corners, lower administrative levels and new sectors.

As such, corruption gets more refined with its research. Another heavily desputed issue is the correlation between corruption and economic growth and stagnation.

The latest economic crisis evoked a second wave of Governance and Anti-Corruption (GAC) awareness. Starting of with corporate banking miss-management, discontent rippled via high salaries and bonuses, to weak public sector regulation capacity. This improves the climate for lifestyle & asset checks and makes politicians campaigning on goverance and anti-corruption. A third corruption specific is the influence of the * Independent Consultant, Governance and Capacity Building

–  –  –

development sector in putting and keeping corruption on the political agenda. Since the World Bank report (source) identified corruption as a main source in sustaining poverty, there is an increasingly concerted effort to raise awareness, prevent and detect AC within programs and beyond. If only considering the influence donor money can yield, the governance notions of accountability, transparency and participation are in the vocabulary of any self-respecting bureaucrat and politician

AC in East Asian

The East Asian political systems are lump-summed as “neo-patrimonial”, with a public sector subject to “state capture”. Other common features are; the extend to which, political and business entangled elites, turn state policies and systems to their own advantage; economic growth & recession; collective & family oriented value systems; the presence of “strong” authoritian leaders …, … and corruption induced public discontent toppling these leaders. Constructing a regional AC story helps in getting a better understanding of the commonalities, difference and challenges ahead. The AC tour trails the combined corruption indicators of TI and the WBI.

Starting of with the AC historical-centers Hong-Kong and Singapore the travel goes via Malaysia and Thailand, to the Indonesian and Philippine backbenchers.


Singapore is the least corrupt country of the region, with a culture of integrity in the public and private sector. Its first AC law, the Prevention of Corruption Ordinance (POCO) goes back to 1937. The Anti-Corruption Branch (ACB), within the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of the Singapore Police Force, was responsible for its implementation. ACB was largely ineffective due to its dependence of the police force and insufficient (financial) resources. This weakness became public with the 1951 opium theft scandal, involving CIDs police detectives.

However, corruption remained the Singapore way of life until its independence (1959). With the People’s Action Party (PAP) in power, AC became a top priority.

Soon the AC laws and penalties strengthened and the ill-trusted ACB replaced for the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB), has the extended mandate to investigate corruption complaints, public officials misconduct and propose approaches to reduce corruption. Singapore’s successful AC drive. turning corruption from a low-risk, high-reward activity to the opposite, is explained through; i) a fasttrack legal, economic, and educational reform, ii) strong penalties for giver and receiver, iii) an independent and well-mandated ACA, iii) ongoing rationalization, improving the public sector efficiency, and a vi) a culture of shame. Contributing to this is the more recent, competitive public sector salary (Quah, 1995, 2007).

Hong Kong

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Nowadays, Hong-Kongs corruption is under control, civil servants are honest, and bribery not accepted. This is a stark difference with the ’50-‘60’s when its police force was deeply involved in corruption syndicates, and bribe-taking common throughout its administration. The turning point came with the 1973 massive public AC demonstration, after yet another corruption scandal involving senior police officers. This resulted in the Prevention of Bribery Ordinance (POBO) and establishment of the Independent Commission against Corruption (ICAC). Cashing in on public support thus political will, ICAC was able to break the main syndicates in only three year. Having curbed public sector corruption, it focussed successful on the private sectors. AC success-factors are: i) integrated legal, administrative and financial frameworks, ii) an independent ACA with sufficient mandate & resources, iii) balanced strategy of prevention, investigation & public education, and iv) the

-island commissioner- authority to appoint, manage and dismiss officials without explanation. Above all, the HK case shows the importance of C prevention. The ICAC builds and maintains a culture of probity and integrity through; public and school education programmes, drafting codes of conduct, media-partnerships and citizen dialogues. It also prefers to warn then prosecute minor cases, thus reducing the cost of trials. Lately the ICAC owners are somewhat reduced (Ali, 2000).


Malaysia maintains its corruption on an “acceptable” level. Its first AC specific legislation, the Prevention of Corruption Ordinance goes back to 1950. The in 1957 established Anti Corruption Agency (ACA) with an over time gradually strengthened mandate (AC Agency Acts, 1982 & 1987) covers investigative, preventive, oversight, advisory and educational functions. This includes the selection and approval of high-level and political appointed officers. Over the years, ACA progressed in its investigation and prosecution, but has difficulties in taking on educational and preventive functions. Partly in response to this, the government endorsed in 2004 the ambitious National Integrity Plan (NIP) with the objective to improve integrity throughout state, sectors, administrative levels and even families. Bigger and more complex then the island-states of Hong Kong and Singapore, coordination and outreach issues hamper its AC activities (OECD 2004; Kassim Bin Mohamad, 2005).


Due to its rapid changing economic-social environment, increased business competition, Thailand’s (political) corruption is becoming more diverse and complex.

Nepotism is a key factor in the process of civil service appointments. Its 1974 constitution states; “the State should organize efficient systems of government […] and take all steps to prevent and suppress the quest for benefits by corrupt means”.

The hereto established Office of Counter Corruption Commission (OCCC, 1975) was


insufficient mandated and largely ineffective. The new constitution (1999) revamped the ACA with the extended mandate to initiate investigation & prosecution, including senior official’s/politicians asset declarations. Unfortunately, the NCCC lacked the capacity and resources to cope up with the many -self-induced- highlevel corruption cases. This resulted in a lost of reputation and public trust.

The NCCC is effectiveness is diminished by; i) political interference, with one third of its members political party representatives and ii) the fast expanding number of agencies involved in GAC. The NCCC has to coordinate its activities with: Administrative and Constitutional Court Election Commission, Anti-Money Laundering Office, Ombudsman and the Public Service Commission. It is yet to be seen what are the GAC effects, of Thailand recent political changes. The 2006 removal of Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra was (partly) motivated as a move to crack down on corruption. However, the military caretaker cabinet suspended constitution, undermined democratic institutions & rights and reduced accountability and transparency especially in procurement and (political) financing (GIR 2007).


Corruption is one of Indonesian major challenges, negatively influencing the country development and more specific the lives of the poor. The state weakness is reflecting in its AC measures. The government has repeatedly failed to enact major parts of AC legislation or provide adequate AC budgets. In 1967, President Suharto established his first Corruption Eradication Team. This is followed by many other AC initiatives: the Commission of Four, the Corrupt Criminals Acts Bill, civil servants assets return and the National Security Agency’s Kopkamtib. The preSuharto (1997) governments continued in the same fashion enacted the; Law on State Organization, Clean Government Law, an Anti-Money Laundering Law, AntiCorruption Law and establishing many AC bodies; the Team for the Eradication of Corruption. Commission for the Audit of the Wealth of State Officials (KPKPN), the National Ombudsman Commission; the National Law Commission; and the Commission for the Eradication of Money Laundering (ADB, 2004). It appears that AC legislation and institutions are a superficial commitment, designed to fail. After a series of high profile corruption cases, a more forceful KPK (2003) is charged with wider powers to coordinate/supervise, investigation and prosecution all institutions involved in AC. Government & civil service accountability are weak, weak regulation and control on political financing, helped by limited protection for critical media and whistleblowers, in the public and private sectors. Improvements are seen in the areas of; voting and citizen participation, taxes & customs, and transparency in procurement and privatization (GIR, 2008). The recent strengthening of AC agencies and national ombudsman translated in a re-election of president Widorno indicates there is momentum for improvement.

–  –  –

Philippines Philippine corruption knows many shapes and forms; political financing, quota-fixing & resource dilution, electoral fraud, games & gambling, procurement and subsidies scams. The country holds the region record of AC regulations (7) and AC related agencies (13). Yet the Philippines knows its AC specific constitution, extensive regulatory regime, supported by presidential proclamations and decrees, executive and administrative orders and official memoranda. Most striking is the gap between AC rhetoric and reality. Previous president Joseph Estrada, commissioning the first national AC strategy, was ousted on corruption charges. The current president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo cabinet, establishing Presidential Anti-Graft Commission (PAGC), is under continuous charges of corruption. The by post-Marcos constitution established Office of the Ombudsman (OMB, 1987), has over the years lost authority due to a shared and decaying prosecuting mandate, weak results, and more recently weak leadership. The effectiveness of oversight Agencies is hindered by political appointees, weak separation of powers including check-and-balance mechanism, and weak protection of whistle-blowers.

Philippines AC failures are manifold and harder to point at, being a combination of political-economic and technical issues. The country suffers from systemic corruption and state capture by political and business elites.

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