Corruption within the infrastructure life cycle

Corruption within the infrastructure life cycle

How and where does corruption occure in the infrastructure life cycle

Corruption in project identification and selection

People can be influenced to choose projects that divert resources away from pro poor projects towards defence or those projects which benefit an elite section of society. They can also encourage the selection of projects which are either uneconomical or less economical because of financial or political favours. Decision makers may also choose projects to promote a short term political agenda.

Corruption in planning and approval

During the planning and approval process, officials can be bribed to obtain planning permission, or to obtain approval for a design which does not meet relevant building regulations or environmental legislation.

Corruption in project design

Project requirements may be overstated or tailored to fit one specific tenderer or tenderers from a specific country. Corruption in the design phase deflates the value of work performed in project planning because subsequent detailed planning decisions do not depend on a careful assessment of needs and goals, but on other factors that are unrelated to the purpose for which the project was conceived.

Corruption during implementation Corruption at the project implementation stage often causes project cost and time overrun, concealment of defective work, delivery of poor service and potentially major safety incidents.

Corruption in the project life-cycle:
(Source: O'Leary, D (2006))

Corruption during maintenanceNeglect of maintenance is potentially the most serious form of corruption as it can lead to environmental damage, loss of quality of life, personal injury and even death.

Further reading

O’Leary, D (2006) The Role of Transparency International In Fighting Corruption in Infrastructure

Implement review and auditing processes, at every 'gateway' in the life cycle

The delivery and maintenance of infrastructure needs to be managed and controlled in a logical, methodical and auditable manner. The Construction Industry Development Board’s Infrastructure Gateway System is based on the information flow as illustrated below (see also

Source of further examples:

Transparency International and UK Anti-corruption Forum joint report (2006) Preventing Corruption on Construction Projects - Risk Assessment and Proposed Actions for Funders

A gateway is a control point in the infrastructure life cycle where a decision is required before proceeding from one stage to another. Such decisions need to be based on information that is provided that is pertinent to the project. If done correctly, a gateway may provide assurance that a project:

  • remains within agreed mandates
  • aligns with the purpose for which it was conceived
  • can progress successfully to the next stage

A gateway system allows managers to audit the life cycle of projects. This improves transparency which, in turn, reduces the opportunity for mismanagement and corruption in planning and implementation.

The review systems can also be effectively used to balance expenditure of new construction against the maintenance of existing infrastructure. Decisions to proceed with new projects needs should only be taken if such infrastructure can be maintained.