Establishing independence

Enhancing Fairness: Wisconsin Experiments with Nonpartisan Election Administration, 2001 – 2016

Author
Daniel Dennehy
Focus Area(s)
Core Challenge
Country of Reform
Abstract

In the wake of a 2001 scandal over the use of government employees to assist political campaigns, public interest groups in the US state of Wisconsin pushed for reform of the state ethics and elections boards, which had been slow to respond to complaints about misuse of resources and had declined to refer suspected lawbreakers for prosecution. During the 2002 election period, gubernatorial candidates of both main parties joined the call to insulate election administration from partisan pressure. Five years of negotiation came to fruition in 2007, when the state senate and assembly voted to create a consolidated election and ethics agency directed by retired judges. The first nonpartisan election administration authority of its type in the United States, the new agency, called the Government Accountability Board, replaced a system that had vested governance of elections in a commission made up of members of both major parties. But eight years later, political alignments shifted. Arguing that the board had overreached in its handling of certain sensitive cases, state legislators in 2015 voted to shutter the institution and reverted to the pre-2007 system run by representatives of the two major political parties. This case illuminates both the circumstances that can drive politicians to introduce a nonpartisan election management system and the challenges associated with the design, implementation, and sustainability of the approach. (Note that the lead reformer in this case, Michael G. Ellis, died in 2018.)  

Daniel Dennehy and staff drafted this case study based on interviews conducted in the United States from August through November 2022. Case published February 2023.

"Inviting a Tiger into Your Home": Indonesia Creates an Anti-Corruption Commission with Teeth, 2002 – 2007

Author
Gabriel Kuris
Focus Area(s)
Country of Reform
Internal Notes
Original draft of case posted September 2012. Correction in spelling of Tina Kemala's name made and new draft posted to the web in October 2012 by Sarah Torian. Minor style changes made and new draft posted to the Web in March 2013 by Suchi Mandavilli.

changed to bring to the front page. original posting 7/11/2014
Abstract
In 2002, under domestic and international pressure to confront corruption after the economic and political collapse of the 32-year Suharto regime, Indonesia established the Corruption Eradication Commission (the Komisi Pemberantasan Korupsi, or KPK). The new commission had powers so strong that one anti-corruption activist said Indonesian politicians were “inviting a tiger into [their] home” by creating it. Still, the public reacted warily, mindful of past failures and distrustful of the commissioners approved by Parliament. After creating an effective operating structure, the commissioners spent more than a year building capacity by introducing innovative human resources policies, cutting-edge technologies, strong ethical codes and savvy investigative tactics. The commission then launched a series of investigations that netted dozens of high-level officials and politicians, with a 100% conviction rate. By the end of 2007, the KPK was standing on a stable foundation, buttressed by solid public support.
 
Gabriel Kuris drafted this case study based on interviews conducted in Jakarta, Indonesia in February and March 2012. For a look at the commission’s second term, see the Innovations for Successful Societies companion case study “Holding the High Ground with Public Support: Indonesia’s Anti-Corruption Commission Digs In, 2007-2011.” Note that many Indonesians have only one name, while others prefer to be referenced by their first name rather than their surname. This study follows the naming conventions used by local media and individuals themselves. Case published September 2012.

Holding the High Ground with Public Support: Indonesia's Anti-Corruption Commission Digs In, 2007 – 2011

Author
Gabriel Kuris
Country of Reform
Internal Notes
Original draft posted on 9/20. Correction to one footnote made on 10/16/12 and new version posted. Minor style changes made and new versions uploaded by SM on 03/25/2013.

original 7/11/2014
posted to the front on 9/27/2019
Abstract
When they assumed office in December 2007, the second-term members of Indonesia’s Corruption Eradication Commission faced high expectations. Established in 2002 in response to domestic and international pressure, the commission had broad responsibilities for combating corruption through investigation, prosecution, prevention and education. The first-term commissioners had built respect and credibility by taking on increasingly prominent cases and maintaining a perfect conviction record. During their first two years, the five second-term commissioners met the public’s high expectations with a string of high-profile arrests, including dozens of members of Parliament, high-level officials and a close relative of the president. They also ramped up preventive and educational measures to permanently reshape Indonesia’s corruption environment. After the 2009 elections, legislators worked to weaken the commission, and law enforcement leaders pressed criminal charges against the commissioners. Allies in media and civil society rallied the public around the agency, mostly frustrating the detractors. While some of the commissioners suffered personally, they left behind an institution with a strong public reputation. This case study documents the strategy the commissioners pursued to defend the agency against potential spoilers.
 

Gabriel Kuris drafted this study based on interviews conducted in Jakarta, Indonesia in February and March 2012. For a look at the establishment, structure and first-term leadership of the commission, see the Innovations for Successful Societies companion case study “‘Inviting a Tiger Into Your Home’: Indonesia Creates an Anti-Corruption Commission With Teeth, 2002-2007.” Note: many Indonesians have only one name, while others prefer to be referred to by their first names rather than their surnames. This study follows the naming conventions used by local media and individuals themselves. Case posted September 2012.

Associated Interview(s):  Erry Riyana Hardjapamekas

Righting the Ship: Uganda Overhauls its Tax Agency, 2004 – 2014

Author
Leon Schreiber
Country of Reform
Abstract

In the early 2000s, the Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) faced a crisis. Even after adopting a modernized legal framework that made the agency semiautonomous—able to operate much as a business would, though still accountable to a public board—the institution remained paralyzed by corruption, outdated technologies and procedures, and a toxic organizational culture. In 2004, to begin righting the ship, the URA’s board appointed 43-year-old Allen Kagina, who had served the agency for more than a decade, as the new commissioner general. Kagina engineered a radical overhaul that required all 2,000 URA staff members to reapply for new positions under a revamped organizational structure. A new modernization office overhauled tax procedures, upgraded the URA’s technology, improved anticorruption measures, strengthened the tax investigation and prosecution function, and enhanced staff capacity. At the same time, the URA was working to smooth its customs procedures and improve cooperation with partner countries in the East African Community. 

Leon Schreiber drafted this case study based on interviews conducted in Kampala, Uganda, in January and February 2019. Case published April 2019.

To view a short version of the case, please click here

See related Uganda Revenue Authority Case Study: Bolstering Revenue, Building Fairness: Uganda Extends its Tax Reach, 2014-2018

Funding Development: Ethiopia Tries to Strengthen its Tax System, 2007-2018

Author
Leon Schreiber
Country of Reform
Abstract

In its 2006 national vision to end poverty, Ethiopia set its sights on becoming a middle-income country by 2025. It was a hugely ambitious goal for a country that, at the time, was one of the poorest in the world. To support development objectives put on hold during a decade of political turbulence, including a costly border war with Eritrea that drained public coffers, the Ethiopian government sought to expand its resources by significantly boosting tax revenues. The new plan called for a sharp increase in the ratio of tax revenue to the size of the economy—and within four years. The government merged its separate customs and domestic tax offices into a single entity and restructured the new agency’s operations along functional lines, increased salaries, adopted stringent anticorruption rules, implemented a modern information technology system, and launched public awareness campaigns. It was important that the new revenue authority worked to improve its coordination with the tax offices of subnational governments, which operated with substantial independence under the country’s federal system. Although unproven charges of corruption against the Ethiopian Revenues and Customs Authority’s long-serving director general in 2013 stalled progress, a new round of IT and legal reforms in 2016 helped increase tax collection significantly: to US$7.8 billion in 2017 from US$1.3 billion in 2006 (measured in constant 2010 US dollars). Nonetheless, revenue gains continued to lag behind economic growth. In 2018, under a new prime minister, the government began to take further steps to strengthen tax collection.

Leon Schreiber drafted this case study based on interviews conducted in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in October 2018. Case published December 2018.

To view a short version of the case, please click here

 

Erry Riyana Hardjapamekas

Ref Batch
A
Focus Area(s)
Ref Batch Number
4
Country of Reform
Interviewers
Gabriel Kuris
Name
Erry Riyana Hardjapamekas
Interviewee's Position
Commisioner
Interviewee's Organization
Indonesia'’s Corruption Eradication Commission
Language
English
Town/City
Jakarta
Country
Date of Interview
Reform Profile
Yes
Abstract
Erry Riyana Hardjapamekas describes his time as one of the first commissioners of Indonesia’s Corruption Eradication Commission (Komisi Perberantasan Korupsi, KPK). He explains the human resource management system the commissioners set up and how they brought together their diverse staff. He points to the implementation of standard operating procedures as one tool they used to create a trustworthy, well-functioning staff during the commission’s rapid growth. From his experience with the KPK, he draws the lessons that a successful anti-corruption commission requires independent investigators, carefully recruited judges (in the anti-corruption court) and a solid internal affairs system. The commissioners worked on preventing corruption as well as repressing it, though convincing the public and media of the importance of prevention was a challenge. Hardjapamekas describes the commission’s relationship with the private sector as a dialogue, with each group learning from the other. From his own time in the private sector, he brought management expertise to the commission.
 
Profile

Erry Riyana Hardjapamekas served as a commissioner on Indonesia’s Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) from 2003-2007. He was President Commissioner of BNI (Bank Negara Indonesia, Indonesian State Bank), while also serving on other national and private sector commissions and as Chairman of the Advisory Board/Founding Committee of the University of Indonesia Center for the Study of Governance in cooperation with Hills Governance Center, CSIS (Center for Strategic and International Studies) Washington. Before his time on the KPK, Hardjapamekas had an extensive career in state-owned enterprises. He held a number of positions just prior to joining the KPK: chief commissioner to PT Agrakom (January 2000-December 2003), commissioner and committee chair of auditing PT Pembangunan Jaya Ancol (March 2001-December 2003), advisor and member of the audit committee for PT Unilever Indonesia (2001-2003), advisor to the commissioner (from 2001) and independent commissioner for PT Semen Cibinong (April 2002-December 2003), auditing committee member (January 2002-December 2003) and independent commissioner to PT Kabelindo Murni (June 2002-December 2003), head of the auditing committee and independent commissioner to PT Hero Supermarket (September 2002-December 2003) and independent commissioner to PT Kaltim Prima Coal (March-October 2003). He had previously served as the finance director and executive director and of PT Timah (a state-owned tin mining company), the director of PT Tamban Batubara Bukit Asam (a state-owned coal mining company), and the head of accountancy for Perum Perumnas (a state-owned housing company).  In addition, Erry also held the position of commissioner (1996-1998) and chief commissioner for the Jakarta Stock Exchange (1998-2001). He holds a Bachelor’s of Economics from Padjadjaran University, Bandung. 

Full Audio File Size
41 MB
Full Audio Title
Erry Hardjapamekas - Full Interview

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

Author
Gabriel Kuris
Focus Area(s)
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

Surmounting State Capture: Latvia's Anti-Corruption Agency Spurs Reforms, 2002-2011

Author
Gabriel Kuris
Country of Reform
Abstract

Eager to demonstrate progress against corruption in order to advance its standing in the accession processes for NATO and the European Union, Latvia established the Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau, known as KNAB, in 2002. Through its investigations into high-level graft and campaign finance violations, the new agency rapidly established a reputation for effectiveness. When a prime minister tried to dismiss KNAB's popular director on a flimsy pretext, citizens rallied in support of the agency, leading to the prime minister's resignation. Despite an internal scandal and leadership conflicts that undercut its credibility, KNAB launched over a hundred investigations, targeting suspects that included three of Latvia's powerful oligarchs. KNAB's work helped drive a wave of reform that reduced opportunities for high-level corruption in government, changing the laws covering asset disclosure, parliamentary immunity, legislative transparency, judicial procedures, and the financing of political campaigns.  

Gabriel Kuris drafted this case study based on interviews conducted in Riga, Latvia, in June 2012. Case published October 2012.  

Balancing Responsibilities: Evolution of Lithuania's Anti-Corruption Agency, 1997-2007

Author
Gabriel Kuris
Country of Reform
Abstract
Influence peddling, organized crime, and petty corruption marred Lithuania’s post-Soviet transition to democracy. Concerned that those problems were jeopardizing the country’s efforts to join NATO and the European Union, the government created in 1997 an elite law enforcement unit within the Ministry of the Interior to combat corruption, called the Special Investigation Service (Specialiuju tyrimu tarnyba, or STT). Director Juozas Gaudutis rapidly built the early agency’s capacity. His successor, Valentinas Junokas, helped the STT establish independence and broaden its mandate to perform corruption prevention activities and oversee education, thereby creating Europe’s first multifunctional anti-corruption agency. But Junokas resigned under political pressure after STT agents executed a controversial search of political party offices and investigated multiple legislators for graft just before the 2004 elections. The STT’s new director, Povilas Malakauskas, patched relations with parliament and recalibrated the STT’s strategy to emphasize preventive and educational measures“changing the rules of the game” and “changing values,” he said. As the STT entered its second decade, its agents investigated hundreds of cases annually but faced difficulties in enlisting a wary public in a long-term war against corruption.
 

Gabriel Kuris drafted this case study based on interviews conducted in Vilnius, Lithuania, in May and June 2012. Case published November 2012

Toothless but Forceful: Slovenia's Anti-Corruption Watchdog Exposes Systemic Graft, 2004-2013

Author
Gabriel Kuris
Country of Reform
Abstract
When Slovenia became independent from Yugoslavia in 1991, the Central European country rapidly transitioned to free-market democracy, with strong institutions and low levels of graft. In 2004, the government established the Commission for the Prevention of Corruption to demonstrate its commitment to good governance during the application process for European Union membership. However, the new watchdog body, which had no official enforcement powers, soon faced deeper challenges than it was equipped to handle. It found that political and business leaders had colluded to profit from Slovenia’s prolonged and underregulated privatization process, undermining the economy and diminishing public trust. Leveraging its moral authority and limited powers, the commission undertook investigations and released advisory opinions that spotlighted public corruption and the systemic flaws that enabled it. By outfoxing political opposition and developing innovative uses for its investigative powers, the commission and its partner institutions helped spark a nationwide anti-corruption movement. In early 2013, public protests toppled a prime minister the commission found had been in violation of campaign finance rules, and Slovenia’s struggle against corruption reached a turning point.
 
Gabriel Kuris drafted this case study based on interviews conducted in Ljubljana, Slovenia, in November 2012. Case published April 2013.