Enlisting the Private Sector in the Fight Against Corruption — Part 1

Governments need all the help they can get in the war against corruption.  The enemy is resourceful, well-financed, and will engage in tactics legal and illegal to frustrate an investigation, defeat a prosecution, or undermine prevention policies.  When looking for allies, though, many governments have until recently ignored an obvious source of recruits: the corporations they license to do business.  Doing business in a country is not a right but a privilege, one commonly conditioned on a corporation’s agreement to register, hold an annual meeting, and publish a yearly financial report.  There is no reason, however, why the privilege of conducting business should not also be conditioned on the corporation’s willingness to join the fight against corruption.

As the chart below shows, more and more governments now realize the advantages of enlisting the corporate sector in the fight against corruption.  By my count (additions/corrections welcome) today 21 countries plus the Canadian province of Quebec require corporations to help in someway in the fight against corruption.  The movement to enlist the private sector is picking up steam.  Of the 22 jurisdictions shown below, 15, or almost three-quarters, have enacted legislation in 2016 and 2017.  Argentina is the most recent additon, where a law was approved November 9, and if press reports are accurate Vietnam is about to become the 23rd.

Country Date Country Date Country Date
Argentina 2017 Colombia 2016 Germany 2010
France 2017 Czech Rep 2016 U.K. 2010
Malaysia 2017 South Korea 2016 Chile 2009
Mexico 2017 Spain 2015 Switzerland 2005
Peru 2017 Brazil 2014 Tanzania 2005
Thailand 2017 Russia 2013 U.S. 2004
Ukraine 2017 Quebec 2012 Italy 2001
South Africa 2012

The approaches vary.  In a later post I will discuss the differences and also flag some of the ways these laws can be abused.   In the meantime, I again solicit readers help in ensuring the chart is accurate.


5 thoughts on “Enlisting the Private Sector in the Fight Against Corruption — Part 1

  1. This is intriguing, but I’m not sure I understand what you mean by laws that “require corporations to help in some way in the fight against corruption.” (For instance, you date the existence of such a law in the United States to 2004, but I confess I’m not sure what law you’re referring to.) So I’m not really in a position to respond to your solicitation of views as to whether your chart is accurate. But I gather that this post is more of a “teaser”, and that in your next post you’ll say more about what sorts of laws you have in mind and how they work?

  2. I share Matthew Stephenson’s puzzlement. What kind of law are you referring to e.g. for Switzerland in 2005? I am not aware of a law passed in that year specifically targetting corruption.

  3. In Brazil, the anticorruption law (Law 12,846) was enacted August 1, 2013. It was later detailed by presidential Decree 8,420 of March 18, 2015.

  4. I am not confused at all with this development of enactment of ‘Anti-corruption’ laws countries wise. Almost all democratic sovereigns are equipped with rule sand regulation to check corruption.
    But till today corruption-detection method is not discovered, when most of the decent-world is a corrupt one.
    Just one line is enough to say that we are saving and living with our corrupt-bosses at best of court, police and rules.

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