Combating Corruption: Constitutional Frameworks for the Middle East and North Africa

“Combating Corruption: Constitutional Frameworks for the Middle East and North Africa”, The Center for Constitutional Transitions, International IDEA and United Nations Development Program Reports: Constitutional Design in the Middle East and North Africa (2015) (also translated into Arabic).

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The term ‘corruption’ is used to describe a wide range of dishonest behaviour, including bribery, embezzlement, abuse of authority, extortion, illicit enrichment, kickbacks, and trading in influence, in addition to actions connected to, and often used to aid in the commission of, corrupt activities such as money laundering, concealment and obstruction of justice. There is no comprehensive and universally accepted definition of corruption. An alternative approach has been to identify the acts or offences that constitute corrupt practices. In general, these acts and offences share two components: first, they involve the misuse of authority in the public or private sector in order that, second, the persons misusing the authority derive a benefit to which they are not entitled. This report considers the constitutional frameworks and mechanisms available to prevent and reduce corruption, with particular reference to the transitional states of the Arab region. This report identifies grand corruption as the misuse of power at the highest levels of government, and differentiates it from petty or administrative corruption, which is identified as instances of low-level officials pocketing small amounts in return for providing government services. While acknowledging that petty corruption continues to be a significant concern, this report begins with the view that a constitutional framework is well-suited to addressing the problems of grand corruption in particular. The report is thus confined to the consideration of how constitutional frameworks can best facilitate and promote efforts to combat grand corruption.