From Underdogs to Watchdogs: How Anti-Corruption Agencies Can Hold Off Potent Adversaries

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Abstract 
Leaders of anti-corruption agencies frequently encounter opposition from powerful beneficiaries of existing corruption. Those antagonists often seek to neutralize the agencies by weakening the agencies’ credibility, legal power, or operations. Drawing from ISS interviews and case studies, this cross-cutting report explores responses to this strategic challenge by agencies in eight countries (Botswana, Croatia, GhanaIndonesia, Latvia, LithuaniaMauritius, and Slovenia). The leaders and staff of those agencies worked to overcome opposition by recruiting allies, instituting internal controls to bolster transparency and accountability, pursuing low-visibility preventive efforts, and carefully assessing the pros and cons of high-level investigations. The outcomes of their efforts point to conditions that shape effectiveness and suggest possible workarounds or alternative approaches for anti-corruption agencies in adverse circumstances. 
 
Gabe Kuris authored this paper based on Innovations for Successful Societies case studies of eight anti-corruption agencies. Paper published in 2014. 
 
Associated Interview(s):  Bertrand de Speville
Keywords 
Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime
DCEC
Bureau for Combating Corruption and Organized Crime
USKOK
Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice
CHRAJ
Corruption Eradication Commission
KPK
Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau
KNAB
Special Investigation Service
STT
Independent Commission Against Corruption
ICAC
Commission for the Prevention of Corruption
CPC
Prevention
Investigation
Education
Prosecution
Building Capacity
Strategy
Risks
Internal Controls
Staff
Coalition
Allies
Public Trust
Media
Whistleblower
Norms
Institution
Retaliation
Reform
Focus Area(s): 
Anti-Corruption
Critical Tasks: 
Anti-corruption agencies
Building inter-agency cooperation
Compliance with international law
Enforcement
Establishing independence
Investigation or referral
Legal structure
Monitoring
Organization and staffing
Prevention
Country of Reform: 
Slovenia
Croatia
Lithuania
Latvia
Hong Kong
Indonesia
Mauritius
Botswana
Ghana
Type: 
Strategy Notes
Author: 
Gabriel Kuris