Investigation or referral

"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

Battling a Cancer: Tackling Corruption in Peru, 2011–2014

Author
Blair Cameron
Country of Reform
Abstract

From 2000 to 2009, Peru’s justice system successfully prosecuted former president Alberto Fujimori and other high-level public officials for acts of corruption committed during the previous decade. But the country’s judicial institutions struggled to curb newer corruption networks that were operating with impunity throughout the country. Because the networks had penetrated the justice system itself, it was increasingly difficult to prosecute—let alone convict—people who had participated in briberies, kickbacks, or other schemes. In the 2011 presidential election, Ollanta Humala, whose slogan was “Honesty Makes a Difference,” captured 51% of the vote and gave a boost to reformers within the country’s legal institutions. Humala joined the Open Government Partnership, strengthened Peru’s anticorruption commission, and brought together top leaders from the country’s judicial and legal institutions to improve the government’s response to corruption. In 2012, the comptroller general, the public prosecutor (attorney general), and the president of the judiciary created a new subsystem to bring to trial those officials accused of corruption. They created a new prosecutorial team and designated a specialized chamber to hear the most-complex corruption cases. At the same time, the Ministry of Justice and Human Rights strengthened its capacity to investigate and bring to trial cases involving the misuse of public resources. By 2015, several cases were in preparation, nearing trial. The fight against corruption in Peru continued to face many obstacles, however, including the perception that anticorruption efforts had lost top-level support.

Blair Cameron drafted this case study based on interviews conducted in Lima in August 2015. Case published December 2015.

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.

Cleaning House: Croatia Mops Up High-Level Corruption, 2005-2012

Author
Gabriel Kuris
Focus Area(s)
Country of Reform
Abstract
Conflict, cronyism, and a flawed privatization process damaged Croatia’s international image during its first decade of independence from Yugoslavia. After a change in government in 2000, a parliamentary consensus formed around the pursuit of European integration, but the European Union demanded real progress in tackling corruption, echoing citizen concerns. In response, the Croatian government created a specialized prosecution service called USKOK, the Bureau for the Suppression of Corruption and Organized Crime, to work in concert with other anti-corruption institutions. At first under-resourced and ineffective, USKOK grew in authority and stature after 2005, aided by new legal powers and new leadership. By building capacity and institutional partnerships at home and abroad, USKOK rose to be one of Croatia’s most-trusted government institutions. By 2012, USKOK had achieved a conviction rate surpassing 95%, successfully prosecuting a former prime minister, a former vice president, a former top-level general, and other high-level officials. By turning a corner on corruption, USKOK’s work strengthened the rule of law and cleared a key obstacle from Croatia’s path to European Union accession. This case study describes how USKOK’s leadership built capacity, public trust, and sustainability under pressure.
 
Gabriel Kuris drafted this case study based on interviews conducted in Zagreb, Croatia, in November 2012. Case published April 2013.

From a Rocky Start to Regional Leadership: Mauritius's Anti-Corruption Agency, 2006-2012

Author
Gabriel Kuris
Country of Reform
Abstract
After gaining independence from Britain in 1968, the island state of Mauritius developed swiftly into one of Africa's most stable and prosperous democracies. However, the nation's newfound wealth-especially in the booming offshore-finance sector-created distinct risks. Corruption and money laundering jeopardized the country's reputation for good governance. In 2002, Mauritius passed laws that created an Independent Commission Against Corruption, with investigative and prosecutory powers as well as preventive and educational roles. Early missteps and internal discord discredited the commission, but in 2006, Senior Magistrate Anil Kumar Ujoodha set the organization on a new course by building investigative capacity, implementing government-wide preventive reforms, and winning numerous court cases. Six years later, however, the commission was still struggling to win public trust, illustrating the difficulties of combating corruption in a politically charged context. 
 
Gabriel Kuris drafted this case study based on interviews conducted in Port Louis and Quatre Bornes, Mauritius, in March and April 2013. Case published July 2013.
 
Associated Interview(s):  Dev Bikoo