Going After the Bribe Takers: The World Bank Program

Two weeks ago I wrote about the growing disparity between transnational prosecutions for paying bribes and those for receiving bribes.  The number of cases where OECD countries have prosecuted their nationals or firms subject to their jurisdiction for bribing developing country officials has been growing steadily, but there are disappointingly few cases where a developing state has gone after its nationals for accepting bribes.  Last week I suggested one way to increase the number of cases against bribe-taking officials is to publicize whenever a firm or individual has been convicted of paying a bribe in a developing state.  For every payer, there is a taker, and if the details of the case are widely publicized, my contention was that civil society, the media, and the political opposition would then press the authorities to prosecute the taker.

The World Bank has tried something similar when an investigation reveals corruption in one of its projects, and the experience suggests that, though not a silver bullet, the effort is worthwhile.

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