The Art of the Feasible: A Conversation with Mushtaq Khan

Mushtaq Khan, Professor of Economics at SOAS, University of London, is an internationally renowned economist who regularly teaches on IACA’s Master in Anti-Corruption Studies (MACS) programme. (The next MACS programme starts in October 2015, and the application deadline is 30 June.)

His research interests are in institutional economics, where he has done innovative work on many aspects of corruption. Professor Khan, who was born in Dhaka, is a member of the Committee of Experts on Public Administration at the UN, and a member of the Panel of Experts on Policy Implementation at the World Bank.

He recently spoke with IACA about teaching MACS participants, his current research, and developing feasible anti-corruption strategies.

This is the second time you’ve taught on the MACS programme. What’s it like teaching here and interacting with the participants?

I find that the participants are incredibly good. And that’s because they all come from some history that makes them particularly interested in anti-corruption. They’re not random people. Many of them are practitioners in different agencies, or have a deep interest in the subject. So they’re not only listening and taking notes, but they’re also engaged, and they continuously ask very perceptive questions. So it’s a productive experience, both for them and for the lecturer.

You have a busy and varied research agenda. In terms of anti-corruption, what are you focusing on at the moment?

My focus is on feasible anti-corruption strategies that can actually be implemented and have a high impact. So I take a broader political economy perspective of the drivers of corruption in developing countries and then use that to investigate the processes involved.

I’ve been working on corruption for a very long time, at both the analytical and policy levels. I have done a lot of theoretical work on the drivers of corruption, different types of corruption, and their impact. But I also work with institutions like the UK Department for International Development (DFID) or the World Bank or UNDP, looking at the policy-relevant aspects of anti-corruption. I just finished a multi-country study on corruption in Nepal, Sierra Leone, and Bangladesh for DFID. I’m also working now on a programme about education sector corruption in Viet Nam.

You mentioned feasible anti-corruption strategies. Could you say a bit more about what they might involve?

Essentially they involve abandoning a generic anti-corruption programme that tries to attack all types of corruption at the same time with instruments like transparency, accountability, democratization, and liberalization. The problem is that in most developing countries corruption is structural. Everybody from the top downwards is involved in some form of corruption, and much of this is because political leaders and parties are engaged in different forms of rent distribution through informal channels, which are technically corruption. If you try to attack that, you are really talking about fundamental revolutionary changes in the politics of countries. That might be required, but it’s not what I’m good at. I have no recommendations for revolution.

So I work at the level of economic policies and regulations that have a big impact on economic progress, how companies operate, their competitiveness, support policies of different types, education, health, and so on. If you can redesign policies so that it becomes easier to manage the rents to control and discipline the people who are getting the support, then you can improve the outcome by changing the incentives of some of the players. That inevitably involves an element of anti-corruption, but the aim here is primarily to improve outcomes.

So you look at anti-corruption as an instrument for achieving better outcomes, not as an end in itself?

Right. And that makes it easier to sell, because when you look at a corrupt process in a developing country, there are winners and losers. If you have the same anti-corruption strategy for both groups, then you have no support, because even the compliant people have to engage in corruption to survive. So you have to construct a set of multi-pronged policy interventions that enable the potentially compliant to be compliant and deliver better outcomes, and separate them from those who don’t want to be or can’t be compliant. I think a lot of anti-corruption fails because it doesn’t think like that. It sees corruption as a problem that needs to be addressed in general.

Does your opposition to generic anti-corruption approaches mean that you are more in favour of a country-by-country approach? Or do you still think there’s room for regional or global prescriptions?

I think regional or global prescriptions are useful in terms of setting standards and having something to which you aspire. But they are not useful for telling you what to do on the ground. You not only need country-based approaches; you really have to understand the processes at a sectoral level if you’re going to have any impact. A competitive sector in a developing country has different problems from emerging sectors, infrastructure sectors, and service delivery sectors.

If you had one piece of advice for the MACS participants, what might that be?

There are many approaches to anti-corruption and many analytical frameworks for looking at it, and they might often be saying different things. The objective of a course like this is to open the participants’ eyes to these debates. We’re not here to tell them what to do. We’re here to give them a range of different experiences and analytical frameworks, and then it’s up to them to understand which ones make sense in their context, and to make responsible choices. If I can contribute to making the MACS participants more analytically aware and thinking practitioners, then I would feel I’ve succeeded.

MACS 2015: Application Deadline 30 June

There is still one week left to apply for a place in the third cohort of IACA’s flagship Master in Anti-Corruption Studies (MACS) programme, starting in October 2015. The application deadline for eligible candidates is 30 June. For more information and to apply, please click here.

IACA delivers tailor-made training for the Republic of Korea’s ACRC

A delegation of 26 participants from the Anti-Corruption and Civil Rights Commission (ACRC) of the Republic of Korea is currently attending a five-day training programme at the IACA campus.

The IACA tailor-made training, which runs from 11 - 17 June, is focusing on general anti-corruption topics, fraud prevention, and organizational integrity issues. The schedule also includes study visits to the International Ombudsman Institute (IOI), the Public Prosecutor’s Office for White-Collar Crime and Corruption (WKStA) in Vienna, and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

The participants will hear from three external and three internal lecturers. The external lecturers are Ms. Gabriele Dunker, an independent legal consultant with the IMF, the World Bank, and UNODC; Mr. Jeroen Maesschalck, Professor at the Leuven Institute of Criminology of the KU Leuven (Belgium); and Mr. Johannes S. Schnitzer, managing director of Schnitzer Law, an Austria-based law firm specializing in public procurement.

The IACA lecturers are Mr. Martin Kreutner, Dean and Executive Secretary; Mrs. Elena Helmer, IACA’s Academic Course Director; and Mr. Jongsam Yang, an IACA seconded staff member from the ACRC. At the Commission, Mr. Yang held the position of Senior Director charged with tasks such as whistleblower protection, integrity assessments, and anti-corruption policies.

This is the third tailor-made training that IACA has delivered for the ACRC, following earlier programmes in November 2013 and August/September 2014. Those trainings focused on political corruption, prevention, national and international best practices, and integrity in the public sector. They also included study visits to international organizations and national bodies in Vienna.

Best of Luis Moreno Ocampo: Registration Deadline 15 June

There are still a few days left to register for the “Best of” seminar at IACA on 8 and 9 July with Luis Moreno Ocampo, the first Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court. Registrations for the event, in which Mr. Ocampo will discuss his vast experience in investigating and prosecuting grand corruption cases, close on 15 June. For more information, please click here.

Zimbabwean Anti-Corruption Leader Receives Summer Academy Scholarship

A prominent parliamentarian from Zimbabwe will attend the IACA Summer Academy next month on a scholarship provided by IACA in partnership with the Global Organization of Parliamentarians Against Corruption (GOPAC).

The Honourable Willias Madzimure, a dedicated anti-corruption leader, has made numerous strides nationally, regionally, and globally to fight corruption. These include developing a code of conduct that was used as a blueprint for the Parliament of Zimbabwe’s Code of Conduct.

Mr. Madzimure will be among 85 participants in the Summer Academy, which runs from 2 to 11 July and is designed for professionals looking to expand their knowledge and experience to better counter corruption.

IACA previously agreed to offer a Summer Academy scholarship to the winner of GOPAC’s inaugural International Anti-Corruption Award. GOPAC announced today that it had presented the award to the Honourable Ali Ashal, a parliamentarian from Yemen, for his work fighting corruption and promoting oversight in Yemen and around the world. As Mr. Ashal is unable to attend the programme, IACA and GOPAC are proud to offer the scholarship to Mr. Madzimure, a fellow nominee.

“Parliamentarians must be at the forefront of the fight against corruption,” said Martin Kreutner, Dean of IACA. “IACA is delighted to be sponsoring this award and looks forward to further fruitful cooperation with GOPAC in the years to come.”

Mr. Ashal will now represent GOPAC over the next year as GOPAC Ambassador. GOPAC is a worldwide alliance of parliamentarians working together to combat corruption, strengthen good government, and uphold the rule of law.

IOI - Tailor-Made Procurement & Integrity Training

In cooperation with the International Ombudsman Institute (IOI), the Academy delivered the second in the series of its tailor-made trainings for representatives of ombudsman offices on 27 and 28 May, this time in Willemstad, Curaçao .

IOI1 2015Serving as a follow-up to that of September 2013, the event was custom designed in response to the unique procurement and integrity related challenges that ombudsman staff face. Over two days, 43 participants had the opportunity to exchange experiences and draw on best practices on the forms and approaches to anti-corruption at different societal levels, public procurement, organizational and institutional integrity as well as ethical dilemmas and individual integrity.

IOI3 2015

H.E. Mr. Etienne van de Horst, Vice Prime Minister of Curaçao, delivered the opening address, joined by Ms. Lynette Stephenson, IOI Regional President, Ms. Alba Martijn, Ombudsman of Curaçao, and Ms. Elisabeth Taeubl, Deputy Chief of Staff and Policy Advisor at IACA. Course lecturers included the latter, Mr. Max Kaiser Aranda, Professor at the Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de Mexico (ITAM) and visiting lecturer at IACA, and Mr. Michael Hershman, Chair of IACA’s International Senior Advisory Board.

IOI4 2015

The international character of the group contributed to rich class discussions on lessons learned from four different continents. The participants came from 14 countries - Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Curaçao, Georgia, Grenada, Ivory Coast, Montserrat, Pakistan, Saint Kitts, Sint Maarten, Trinidad and Tobago, Turks and Caicos Islands, and the United States. Apart from ombudsman staff, parliamentary representatives also attended.

The training took place in the framework of the 8th Biennial Conference of the Caribbean Ombudsman Association (CAROA), hosted by the Ombudsman of Curaçao.

IOI5 2015

IACA Visit to Saudi Arabia

An IACA delegation, led by Mr. Martin Kreutner, Dean and Executive Secretary, paid a visit to Saudi Arabia this week for the first time since the country became Party to the IACA Agreement in 2013.

The long-planned mission focused on building increased cooperation with the Kingdom and exploring possibilities for relations with the League of Arab States and Gulf Cooperation Council, both of which Saudi Arabia is a member of. The delegation visited national institutions mandated with safeguarding the rule of law and met with H.E. Dr. Khaled bin Abdulmohsen Al-Mehaisen, President of the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NAZAHA), H.E. Dr. Mohammed Amin Ahmad Jefri, Vice President of the Shura Council, Mr. Ali Alhamad, Vice President of the Board of Grievances, Mr. Osama Alzaied, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Justice, and Mr. Mohammad Al Abdallah, President of the Investigation and Public Prosecution Authority.

Saudi Arabia 2 2015

The meetings discussed anti-corruption education, IACA’s technical assistance and capacity-building programmes, Saudi Arabia’s participation in the organization, and outreach to the Gulf region. Both sides agreed to foster their links of cooperation and to jointly organize trainings in the region in the near future.

New Application Deadlines for MACS 2015 and “Best of” Luis Moreno Ocampo

In response to a high volume of requests, IACA has extended the application deadline for the third cohort of its flagship Master in Anti-Corruption Studies (MACS) starting in October 2015. The application deadline for eligible candidates is now 30 June. In addition, those interested in participating in the “Best of” seminar on 8 and 9 July with Luis Moreno Ocampo, Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) from 2003 – 2012, now have until 15 June to apply.

The MACS is a two-year, in career programme designed for working professionals who wish to remain fully employed while pursuing their degree. Focusing on an advanced study of anti-corruption and compliance, it was developed against an interdisciplinary background of theoretical and practical approaches, drawing on the best of the public sector and the business world.

The programme consists of seven intensive two-week in-class modules, with self-study periods and assignments before and after classes. The professors are an international “Who’s Who” in anti-corruption and compliance (see the list of IACA faculty here).

The MACS programme is formally accredited under the laws of IACA’s seat state, Austria, in accordance with the European Bologna Process. MACS graduates receive a Master of Arts degree (M.A.) in Anti-Corruption Studies, which includes 120 credits (European Credit Transfer System) and enables enrolment in Ph.D. programmes.

For more information on the MACS, please click here.

Luis Moreno Ocampo, a regular lecturer at IACA, is an expert in investigating and prosecuting grand corruption cases.

During the two-day seminar, participants will have the opportunity to hear about the “best of” his experiences from the ICC, related to some of the most serious crises of the 21st century, as well as his role in the Argentinian Trials of the Juntas. A recent interview with Luis Moreno Ocampo is available here.

A Former Prosecutor without Borders: A Conversation with Luis Moreno Ocampo

Luis Moreno Ocampo, the first Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) from 2003 – 2012 and a regular lecturer at IACA, is an expert in investigating and prosecuting grand corruption cases. Under his leadership, the ICC developed into an international force of justice and presented charges against some of the most heinous human rights violators of the 21st century.

Years before, in his native Argentina, he was involved in the precedent-setting prosecution of military commanders in the Junta Trials, the first trials of war crimes since Nuremberg, as well as dozens of grand corruption cases.

He has been part of international efforts to tackle corruption since the 1990s. Luis Moreno Ocampo will be back at IACA on 8 and 9 July to deliver a seminar on the “best of” his vast experiences. Participants at IACA’s second alumni reunion will also have a chance to hear from him.

In this short conversation with IACA, Luis Moreno Ocampo offers unique insights on grand corruption and the stories that have shaped him.

Could you tell us a bit about what you plan to discuss with IACA participants?

I would like to discuss four main issues drawing on the anti-corruption experiences and lessons learned from the last decades: how corruption is not an individual ethical problem; how it is not just an isolated fact, but often the practice of an elite network; how to cooperate and build positive networks; and how to fight corruption using economic incentives. I will touch upon real case studies and simulations.

What do you think about anti-corruption education and IACA’s role in this respect?

It is always good to have clarity as to where we are going and be clear as to what is working and what is not. IACA is a great place to learn and share experiences and I am very enthusiastic about the idea of creating a positive, global network there. I’m also very eager to learn from those who attend IACA trainings.

What is your opinion on legal frameworks on crimes against humanity?

I think that we have enough legal tools. The real issue is how we can be more efficient in using them.

How did your early experiences from the Trial of the Juntas shape your views on anti-corruption and the power of the law in prosecuting human rights violators?

My first case was against the top commanders in my country (Argentina). It was an incredibly important case; the whole country was waiting for the trial and its impact was enormous. The case changed Argentina. After, I spent my life using my legal education to investigate people in power, and anti-corruption was part of that.

I started to work on anti-corruption cases in 1988 and was part of all major international anti-corruption developments. First of all, I co-founded Poder Ciudadano in Argentina in 1988, one of the first NGOs working on anti-corruption. I also accepted Peter Eigen’s invitation and joined Transparency International in 1993, first as a member of the Advisory Board responsible for Latin America and later as a member of the Board of Directors. In 1995, was involved in the OECD Convention and met Mark Pieth and Fritz Heimann as they were starting to work on it.

From 1996 on, I was advising and learning from Daniel Kaufman in his work at the World Bank Institute. I have been having discussions with Rafael Di Tella since he wrote some of the first papers on economic corruption and also co-taught an anti-corruption course as a visiting professor with Philipp Heymann at Harvard University. So, I was involved in efforts to tackle crimes committed by people in power from the very start. After leaving the ICC, I became Chairman of the World Bank’s Expert Panel to Review Allegations of Corruption in the Padma Bridge Project.

It has been almost two years since you left your post at the ICC. Looking back, could you tell us about your greatest achievement?

My main goal was to build an institution and I am very proud to say that my team and I achieved this. There were doubts about the viability of the ICC when I first started, but now it’s a reality - the institution is there.

What is the greatest challenge you faced?

It’s interesting but never easy to prosecute people in power. They use their power to attack you using different techniques.

What was the most difficult case for you at the ICC and why?

Each case was impossible. In the Darfur case, we had to investigate genocide without going to the country. In the Gadhafi case, we had to investigate crimes while they were happening and try to stop them. In the Kony case, kids were misused for 20 years. Each case was impossible yet fascinating.

After your career at the ICC, what motivated you to focus your work on whistleblowing cases?

I think that the idea of using U.S. courts to deal with corruption in the world is a cutting edge exercise. Those companies using U.S. money are exposed to U.S. laws and we are developing strategies to enforce such laws. I am working as a Global Practice Counsel at Getnick & Getnick, a Manhattan boutique law firm specializing in whistleblowing. We like to show that integrity is a good business. I am also doing research on Global Order at Harvard University.

For more information on IACA’s Best of Luis Moreno Ocampo seminar, please click here. Registrations close on 15 June.

Corruption in Procurement: A Conversation with Christopher Yukins

Christopher Yukins, Lynn David Research Professor in Government Procurement Law at the George Washington University Law School and a regular lecturer at IACA, is a leading expert on public procurement. Together with Max Kaiser Aranda from the Center for Anti-Corruption Studies at the Instituto Tecnologico de Mexico, also a frequent IACA lecturer, he teaches on IACA’s Procurement Anti-Corruption Training.

The next edition of this training runs from 24 August - 18 September 2015.

In this short conversation with IACA, Professor Yukins explains why fighting corruption in procurement is so important, expresses his admiration for anti-corruption professionals, and shares some of his latest thinking on current procurement trends.

Corruption takes many forms. Why should we pay particular attention to corruption in procurement?

Corruption in procurement destabilizes governments. It's that simple. Around the world, governments have been badly weakened — and in some cases, have fallen — because of scandals in procurement. Addressing corruption in procurement is actually quite doable, in part because procurement systems are so similar from country to country. Fixing a procurement system is hard work though, and requires a sound technical understanding. Our course at IACA gives participants that technical grounding in procurement and teaches them how to improve their procurement system by containing the corruption which threatens it, and which threatens the legitimacy of the government sponsoring the system

Participants in IACA’s Procurement Anti-Corruption Training come from all over the world and operate in very different local contexts. What exactly can they learn from each other?

What's astonishing is not what our participants can learn from each other, but how much they actually do learn from each other. Because procurement systems are so similar across nations, our participants can readily exchange lessons and best practices, involving (for example) investigative techniques, more effective procurement methods, or improved compliance initiatives. That cooperative learning is enhanced by the structure of the IACA training. It is designed to be open, allowing for ongoing discussions between the professors, the participants, and the expert guests we invite to speak to our participants.

Could you give some examples of things you have learned from them?

From our IACA participants, I have learned a great deal of humility and respect. Anti-corruption is very lonely and hard work in many countries; several of our participants have received death threats, and they must sustain regular criticism from corrupt officials and contractors. I have enormous respect for our participants' work, and I have learned that sharing lessons and experiences among professionals from other nations is critical to maintaining morale and professionalism among those fighting corruption.

How far can investigators, compliance experts, and procurement officials fight corruption without support from those at the top of the political tree?

Anti-corruption efforts clearly require commitment from senior leadership, both in government and industry. You absolutely need this commitment at the top in the public and corporate sectors. And one of the benefits of this training at IACA is that it encourages cooperation among anti-corruption officials from around the world.

Could you identify a couple of big emerging issues in procurement and anti-corruption right now?

As the World Bank, the European Union, and other international bodies make enormous changes to their procurement rules, one thing has become clear: if procurement systems are to mature — to become more sophisticated, more sustainable, and better suited to rapid technological change — the anti-corruption systems that surround and protect procurement processes must mature as well. This means, for example, improving debarment systems to exclude corrupt contractors, and developing cost-effective compliance systems so that contractors can help police themselves. It means developing anti-corruption strategies to accommodate new forms of procurement, such as reverse auctions, and the effective ethics systems contemplated by the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC). We address these and many other topics in our procurement training at IACA, which expands every year as new anti-corruption strategies emerge.

To what extent is e-procurement likely to reduce corruption?

E-procurement's promise is just beginning to be recognized around the world. By digitizing procurement, the process becomes instantly much more competitive and transparent — cornerstones to an effective procurement system. As we discuss in our class, e-procurement changes the way procurement opportunities are publicized (it makes borders much less relevant), and enables members of civil society groups, many of whom have attended our training, to monitor procurement much more effectively. As data accumulates in e-procurement systems, it becomes much easier to identify and sanction contractors who have cheated the government — and to reward those contractors whose past performance has been exemplary. E-procurement is, in sum, playing a remarkable role in modern procurement.

If you could give the IACA participants one piece of advice for fighting corruption in public procurement, what would it be?

To think of anti-corruption strategies dispassionately, as a system of systems that surround, and protect, a very fragile (but vital) public procurement function.

For more information about IACA’s Procurement Anti-Corruption Training, please click here.

Ambassador of Malaysia Presents Credentials

On 27 April, H.E. Mr. Dato’ Adnan Bin Othman, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Malaysia to the International Organizations in Vienna, presented his credentials to Martin Kreutner, Dean and Executive Secretary of IACA.

Malaysia ratified the Agreement for the Establishment of IACA as an International Organization in November 2011. H.E. Mr. Senator Datuk Paul Low Seng Kuan currently serves as Vice President of the Bureau of IACA's Assembly of Parties and Mr. Abu Kassim bin Mohammed as Vice President of the Board of Governors.

The country is also a strong partner of IACA’s Master in Anti-Corruption Studies (MACS) programme and hosted the sixth module of MACS 2012-2014 at the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Academy in Kuala Lumpur.

MACS Students Discuss Corruption in Sport

Fans love sport for its unpredictability, but organized crime loves sport because of the chance to fix matches and make huge amounts of money. Corruption in sport is big business, and the fight against it is rising fast up the international agenda.

The 30 students in IACA’s Master in Anti-Corruption Studies (MACS) programme discussed this issue late last week at a roundtable with two leading experts in the field: Drago Kos, Chair of the OECD Working Group on Bribery and a UEFA/FIFA football referee observer, and Dennis Adriao from INTERPOL’s Integrity in Sport Unit.

Combating sports corruption is a tough task. Match-fixing criminals are skilled, especially at approaching lower-level players who receive salaries infrequently, Kos said. Sportspeople can sometimes be naïve about match-fixing and therefore easy to corrupt, so it’s important for them to be able to recognize an approach to match-fixing, resist and report it, Adriao added. In addition, match-fixing is often hard to detect and potential whistleblowers may not be sure of protection.

“You can’t take a strange event in sport as proof that something is wrong. You need other evidence, and that’s very hard if people don’t talk,” Kos argued. “Without effective protection there will be big problems because whistleblowers can help us a lot.”

The fight against sports corruption starts with raising awareness among athletes and officials, sports organizations, government bodies, and legal betting companies. The next step is international cooperation to report, investigate, and prosecute match-fixing.

“In every sport there is gambling, and therefore an opportunity for match-fixing and organized crime. If we don’t take action, sport won’t be credible,” Adriao said.

Kos had similar words for the MACS students.

“Corruption is bad. Corruption in sport is even worse, so go after it,” he concluded.

The roundtable was part of the in-class phase of Module III of the MACS, focusing on disciplinary perspectives in the fight against corruption. Thirty working professionals are taking part in MACS 2014 – 2016, from public relations officers to humanitarian workers and compliance managers. The countries represented include Afghanistan, Angola, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Brazil, El Salvador, Germany, India, Italy, Liberia, Malaysia, Netherlands, Nigeria, Serbia, Sierra Leone, South Sudan, Switzerland, Tanzania, Thailand, and Uganda. The students are also on campus this week.

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