What is corruption?

Inter American Development Bank

The IDB Group applies the following standardized definitions of fraud and corruption, which include those adopted by the International Financial Institutions (IFI) Anti-Corruption Task Force:
i. A corrupt practice is the offering, giving, receiving, or soliciting, directly or indirectly, anything of value to influence improperly the actions of another party;
ii. A fraudulent practice is any act or omission, including a misrepresentation, that knowingly or recklessly misleads, or attempts to mislead, a party to obtain a financial or other benefit or to avoid an obligation;
iii. A coercive practice is impairing or harming, or threatening to impair or harm, directly or indirectly, any party or the property of the party to improperly influence the actions of a party; and
iv. A collusive practice is an arrangement between two or more parties designed to achieve an improper purpose, including influencing improperly the actions of another party.
v. An obstructive practice is (a) deliberately destroying, falsifying, altering or concealing evidence material to the investigation or making false statements to investigators in order to materially impede a Bank Group investigation into allegations of a corrupt, fraudulent, coercive or collusive practice; and or threatening, harassing or intimidating any party to prevent it from disclosing its knowledge of matters relevant to the investigation or from pursuing the investigation, or (b) intentionally acting to materially impede the exercise of the Bank Group’s contractual rights of audit or access to information.

All parties participating in IDB Group-financed activities are held to the highest standards of integrity. This includes borrowers, grant recipients, executing agencies and contractors participating in IDB Group-financed activities. Bank staff is obligated to report any possible violation of the IDB Group’s anti-corruption regulations.

Source: http://www.iadb.org/topics/transparency/IAD/index.cfm?lang=en


International Chamber of Commerce

The International Chamber of Commerce considers “Corruption is the abuse of entrusted power for private financial or non-financial gain. It diverts resources from their proper use, distorts competition and creates gross inefficiencies in both the public and private sectors.” Corruption can occur in form of bribery, bribe solicitation or extortion. Bribery: is an offer or the receipt of any gift, loan, fee, reward or other advantage to or from any person as an inducement to do something which is dishonest or illegal. Bribe solicitation: is the act of asking or enticing another to commit bribery. Extortion: When bribe solicitation is accompanied by threats it becomes extortion.

Source: http://www.iccwbo.org/policy/anticorruption/id13018/index.html

Korean Independent Commission Against Corruption

The Korean Independent Commission against Corruption promotes reporting of “any public official involving an abuse of position or authority of violation of the law in connection with official duties for the purpose of seeking grants for himself or a third party.”

Source: http://www.icac.org.hk/newsl/issue18eng/button2.htm

Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development

“The OECD, the Council of Europe and the UN Conventions do not define corruption. Instead they establish the offences for a range of corrupt behavior. Hence, the OECD Convention establishes the offence of bribery of foreign public officials, while the Council of Europe Convention establishes offences such as trading in influence, bribing domestic and foreign public officials. In addition to these types of conduct, the mandatory provisions of the UN Convention also include embezzlement, misappropriation or other division of property by a public official and obstruction of justice. The conventions therefore define international standards on the criminalization of corruption by prescribing specific offences, rather than through a generic definition or offence of corruption. Some Istanbul Action Plan countries take a different approach by defining corruption as a specific crime in their anti-corruption and criminal laws. In practice, these definitions of corruption are often too general or vague from a criminal law perspective. As a result, there have been few prosecutions or convictions for these offences.”

Source: OECD Glossaries. 2008. Corruption. A Glossary of International Standards in Criminal Law. Paris, France: OECD Publishing. OECD 2008: 22. 

Asian Development Bank

“Corruption involves behavior on the part of officials in the public and private sectors, in which they improperly and unlawfully enrich themselves and/or those close to them, or induce other to do so by misusing the position in which they are placed.”

Source: http://www.adb.org/documents/policies/anticorruption/anticorrupt300.asp?p=policies

The World Bank

“Many definitions of corruption have been advanced, none fully satisfactory and comprehensive. Although it may be difficult to define corruption precisely, it is generally not hard to recognize. The World Bank settled on a straightforward definition—the abuse of public office for private gain. This definition is not original, but it was chosen because it is concise and broad enough to include most forms of corruption that the Bank encounters, as well as being widely used in the literature. Public office is abused for private gain when an official accepts, solicits, or extorts a bribe. It is also abused when private agents actively offer bribes to circumvent public policies and processes for competitive advantage and profit. Public office can also be abused for personal benefit even if bribery does not occur, through patronage and nepotism, the theft of state assets, or the diversion of state revenues. Like most other definitions, it places the public sector at the center of the phenomenon. This should not be taken to mean that corruption cannot occur or that its effects are minor in private sector activities. Bribery occurs in the private sector, but bribery in the public sector, offered or extracted should be the World Bank’s main concern, since the Bank lends primarily to governments and supports government policies, programs and projects. Fraud and bribery can and do take place in the private sector, often with disastrous and costly results. Weakly regulated financial systems permeated with fraud can undermine savings, increase transaction costs and impose very high economic costs when they collapse. Company employees may solicit bribes from suppliers, and private sector agents may collude to defraud the public. Money laundering is an increasing concern throughout the region. Furthermore, when corruption is systemic in the public sector, firms that do business with government agencies can rarely escape participating in bribery. While it is important to control fraud and corruption in the private sector, public sector corruption is arguably a more serious problem in developing countries, and controlling it may be a prerequisite for addressing private sector corruption. Still, World Bank activities can also promote the control of bribery and fraud in the private sector by helping countries strengthen the legal and regulatory framework to support competitive markets, through prudential supervision and regulation of financial systems, and by encouraging the growth of professional bodies that set accounting and auditing standards. “

Source: http://www.iadb.org/regions/re2/consultative_group/groups/transparency_workshop6.htm#1a

Transparency International

“Corruption involves behaviour on the part of officials in the public sector, whether politicians or civil servants, in which they improperly and unlawfully enrich themselves, or those close to them, by the misuse of public power entrusted to them.”

Transparency International (TI) has chosen a clear and focused definition of the term: Corruption is operationally defined as the abuse of entrusted power for private gain. TI further differentiates between "according to rule" corruption and "against the rule" corruption. Facilitation payments, where a bribe is paid to receive preferential treatment for something that the bribe receiver is required to do by law, constitute the former. The latter, on the other hand, is a bribe paid to obtain services the bribe receiver is prohibited from providing.”

Source: http://www.transparency.org


“Corruption is defined as the abuse of entrusted authority for private gain. This definition recognizes that, while corruption in the public sector has particularly devastating impacts, it cannot realistically be addressed in isolation from corruption in political parties, the private business sector, associations, NGOs, and society at large. Corruption involves not just abuse of public office but other offices as well. In addition, it such as large construction and infrastructure projects. Corruption skews public investment choices away from service delivery—particularly for the poor—toward more lucrative areas. Ronald Noble, Address to 10th International Anticorruption Conference (IACC), Prague, October 2001, reflects the understanding that corruption may be undertaken not only for immediate, personal gain but also for any “private gain,” including that of family or political contacts, long-term rather than immediate payoffs, and the siphoning of public funds to finance an incumbent’s reelection campaign. Under this intentionally broad definition, not all illegal activities are corruption, and not all forms of corruption are illegal.”

Source: http://www.usaid.gov/our_work/democracy_and_governance/publications/pdfs/ac_strategy_final.pdf


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