Defining corruption – Finding an angle to strike

Since there is no agreement on what constitutes corruption, the surveys, indices and analysis that have been developed to assess it are based on “perception,” not on facts. The US government and the major international organizations have developed and funded many “anti-corruption” programs. Yet, the millions of dollars spent on these programs yielded very little.

Clearly, there has to be a better, more pragmatic and effective way to handle this problem.

IIS – The International Integrity Standard

The development of an International Integrity Standard (IIS), which would draw together the essential elements of the many international instruments against corruption, would provide another important indicator that will measure the implementation and the effectiveness of the international standards and codes. It would also provide a minimum package of anti-corruption measures. The IIS would be an essential policy tool for an objective, practical and measurable systemic anti-corruption reform. It would help to determine whether countries are eligible for loans or any other financial assistance, as well to monitor the implementation and success of reform programs. The IIS would also help to develop safeguards that would make business more reliable, honest and lower the cost of doing business for Americans and others.

The proposed International Integrity Standard (IIS) would form the benchmark against which all countries’ anti-corruption programs can be tested. These tests would provide the input for a databank on countries’ anti-corruption measures and could help identify the emerging best international practices against corruption. The IIS would provide an objective, result-oriented and measurable approach.

The IIS offers a methodology for assessing the robustness of countries’ economic, legal, and political systems and their existing structures to resist corruption.

The IIS has been developed by the ACD, as an action-oriented standard, which can also become the basis for a “corruption audit.” A corruption audit, based on the IIS would provide, for the first time, an objective assessment based on facts of a country’s seriousness in fighting corruption, that the US and the international organizations could rely on in their pursuit to “root out corruption.”  The IIS should become part of the International Financial Institutions conditionality.


Anti-corruption audit – International organizations

The IIS’s “anti-corruption audit” for international organization will focus on: 

  • Public disclosure of standards and procedures for allocation and disbursement of funds by international organizations to recipient countries and officials ;
  • Public disclosure of standards, procedures and contractual arrangements for obtaining private sector funding and bank loans ;
  • Public disclosure of accounting and auditing arrangements for the use of international and bilateral donor funds ;
  • Introduction of codes of conduct for officials of international

To begin with, the proposal will look at the Most Prevalent Forms of 

  • Nepotism: including impediments against free competition, through favoritism or patronage of family or tribe, as occurs in Asia, Middle East, Africa and Latin America, and parts of Europe, including Eastern and Central Europe;
  • Cronyism: including the appointment of friends to political positions as practiced in many areas of the world;
  • Kleptocracy: involving the sale at less than market value of state assets to favored customers; this is particularly prevalent in many transitional economies with incomplete or flawed privatization programs;
  • Narcocracy: the subversion of political and economic structures with the huge profits from illegal drug traffic;
  • Government for hire: bribery of officials to influence government policy, judicial decisions and to obtain favored treatment by government agencies, illegal lobbying and intimidation, as practiced in many industrialized as well as developing countries.

The following are some of the other areas that the IIS focuses on:

  • Elements of Vulnerability to Corruption;
  • Overview of the Main International Instruments against Corruption;
  • Elements of an International Integrity Standard
  • Cross Border anti-Corruption Policies and Practices;
  • Methodology for Assessments against the International “Integrity Standard”;

ISS has many tasks, and the majority of them deal with high-level corruptions which makes it hard to make any progress. Another thing about ISS is the lack of focus on corruption that is connected with funding various criminal activities. The most problematic activities that get funds through bribery are drug and human trafficking along with terrorism.