Strategies for curbing corruption

Strategies for curbing corruption

What are the common drivers, and the effects, or corruption in construction?

Reasons for corruption, particularly in developing countries:

  • A large population with a large proportion of impoverished and uneducated
  • A political and economic elite enjoying monopolistic power
  • An environment of aggressive competition to garner maximum power
  • Lack of effective controls and enforcement
  • A complicated and unclear set of rules and regulations, allowing discretion in interpretation and ‘bending’ the rules
  • Underpaid civil servants

Figure 1
Opportunity for corruption
Source: ‘Fighting Corruption in Developing Countries: Dimensions of the Problem in India’ (Singh, S. Deputy Secretary to Government of India


The effects of corruption

In many developing countries, corruption at project implementation stage often causes project cost and time overrun, concealment of defective work, delivery of poor service and potentially major safety incidents.

How corruption inflates project costs: theoretical example

(Source: GIACC) For more corruption examples and anti-corruption measures, refer to GIACC website

Persue a range of strategies, at all levels, to curb corruption

Strategies to curb corruption include:
Perform financial and technical audits

  • These good management practices may identify financial irregularities, technical inadequacies, inappropriate design, failure to build in accordance with the specification, over-costing, or poor value for money, sustainability, or efficiency
  • It is important the auditors are aware that corruption may be the cause of these problems and they should report any suspicions to an independent assessor
  • Audits can act as a significant deterrent against corruption and may uncover the actual corruption
    Properly enforce anti-corruption criminal law: eg.
  • Blacklisting of firms by a relevant body or professional institution
  • Freeze/suspend funds for corrupt governments
  • Make sure the law applies to everyone regardless of position
  • Enforce contractual remedies and penalties. Corruption can only be reduced if it is reported, investigated and penalised. Encourage a culture where actions have consequences
And, more widely:
  • Encourage “whistle-blowing” and put in place easily available/ accessible, confidential systems for people to report corruption without fear of reprisals
  • State anti-corruption policies in employment terms and reward ethical behaviour. (Empowered, valued and rewarded workers will be less likely to engage in corrupt activities)
  • Allow workers a fair chance to improve their position and avoid nepotism
  • Put in place anti-corruption policies e.g. hospitality and gift policies and make all information public
  • Properly enforce anti-corruption criminal law provisions
  • Blacklist or avoid firms or bodies that engage in corruption
  • Freeze/ suspend funds for corrupt governments
  • Spend money from toll roads on maintenance i.e. the purpose for which the money was raised
  • Get engineers to sign up personally to an anti-corruption charter: