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Jon S.T. Quah

Corruption is a serious problem in many Asian countries, judging from their ranking and scores on Transparency International's Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI). To…

Abstract

Corruption is a serious problem in many Asian countries, judging from their ranking and scores on Transparency International's Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI). To combat corruption these countries have relied on three patterns of corruption control. The first pattern relies on the enactment of anti-corruption laws without a specific agency to enforce these laws. For example in Mongolia, the Law on Anti-Corruption that was introduced in April 1996 is jointly implemented by the police, the General Prosecutor's Office, and the courts (Quah, 2003a, p. 44)1. The second pattern involves the implementation of anti-corruption laws by several anti-corruption agencies. In India, the Prevention of Corruption Act (POCA) is implemented by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC), and the anti-corruption bureaus and vigilance commissions at the state level (Quah, 2003a, p. 66). Similarly, the Philippines has relied on 18 anti-corruption agencies to enforce the many anti-corruption laws since the Integrity Board was formed by President Quirino in May 1950 (Batalla, 2001, p. 47; Oyamada, 2005, pp. 99–101).

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Comparative Governance Reform in Asia: Democracy, Corruption, and Government Trust
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-84663-996-8

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Article

Ernie Ko, Yu-Chang Su and Chilik Yu

The purpose of this paper is to provide insights into the multiple anti-corruption agencies (ACAs) in Taiwan and their conflict resolution. The birth of the Agency Against

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to provide insights into the multiple anti-corruption agencies (ACAs) in Taiwan and their conflict resolution. The birth of the Agency Against Corruption (AAC) in 2011 created the unintended consequence of sibling rivalry with the elder Ministry of Justice Investigation Bureau (MJIB).

Design/methodology/approach

A historical background of these agencies is discussed and followed by an analysis of the diversified conflicts among the prosecutor’s office, the AAC and the MJIB. The empirical sources of this study include 17 in-depth interviews with government officials both at ministerial level and field level, scholars and NGO representatives.

Findings

The redundancy of ACAs in Taiwan is a fact, which is extremely difficult to change in the foreseeable future in the light of current political and fiscal constraints. This paper concludes that the conflicts among multiple ACAs and their operational weaknesses will not fade away after a mere directive from their superior, the Ministry of Justice, unless genuine cooperation is put into place in various individual cases.

Practical implications

This paper provides a road-map for decision makers to improve collective anti-corruption performance. Taiwan’s AAC serves as the latest example testing the efficacy of the multiple specialized ACAs.

Originality/value

This pioneering study provides insights into Taiwan’s anti-corruption policy and practices. More investigative studies should be conducted on the effectiveness of multiple ACAs in other countries.

Details

Asian Education and Development Studies, vol. 4 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2046-3162

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Jon S.T. Quah

Corruption has been defined in different ways by various scholars and organizations according to cultural, legal, or other factors (Organization for Economic Co-operation

Abstract

Corruption has been defined in different ways by various scholars and organizations according to cultural, legal, or other factors (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, 2008, p. 22). The word “corruption” is derived from the Latin word corruptus and, according to the dictionary, it has six possible meanings: dishonesty for personal gain; depravity; undesirable change; corrupting of something; altered word or phrase; or rotting.1 However, the most useful typology of contemporary social science definitions of corruption is Arnold J. Heidenheimer's typology of three major types of definitions (Heidenheimer, 1970, pp. 4–6).

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Public Administration Singapore-style
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-84950-924-4

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Article

Robert Gregory

This purpose of this paper is to discuss the relationship between political independence and operational impartiality in regard to the effectiveness of anti-corruption

Abstract

Purpose

This purpose of this paper is to discuss the relationship between political independence and operational impartiality in regard to the effectiveness of anti-corruption agencies (ACAs). Against this background of western orthodoxy, it asks whether a non-western country with high levels of corruption (Vietnam being an example) can find another pathway in its efforts to effectively combat corruption.

Design/methodology/approach

An exercise in qualitative conceptual clarification and theoretical speculation, drawing upon practical examples.

Findings

It is argued that it is important to distinguish between de jure and de facto political independence, and that neither can be fully understood unless they are considered in relationship to other key values, particularly operational impartiality, public accountability, and systemic legitimacy, and in the context of bureaucratic politics. There is little coherent theoretical knowledge available about the relationships among these variables. Such values are central to western notions of “good government” but are much less institutionalised in non-western jurisdictions with high levels of corruption. The question is raised: can such countries, Vietnam being one example, develop effective anti-corruption strategies which because of the nature of their own political system, cannot depend on political independence for its ACAs?

Originality/value

Attention is drawn to some conceptual and putatively theoretical issues relating to the effectiveness of ACAs, and which have received little explicit attention in the relevant academic literature.

Details

Asian Education and Development Studies, vol. 4 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2046-3162

Keywords

Content available
Article

Maria Krambia-Kapardis

The purpose of this paper is to provide an adequate account of anti-corruption agency (ACA) ineffectiveness and propose the kind of ACA that would hold the promise of…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to provide an adequate account of anti-corruption agency (ACA) ineffectiveness and propose the kind of ACA that would hold the promise of success. The paper draws on legitimacy theory, legal process and the notion of integrity of purpose.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper contextualizes the establishment and proliferation of ACAs; explores different ways of conceptualizing them; examines the broad range of factors that have underpinned ACA ineffectiveness and utilizes both legitimacy theory and the notion of the integrity of purpose.

Findings

The one-ACA-model-fits-all approach in corruption-control has been an abysmal failure. Disentangling the reasons for ACA ineffectiveness reveals various endogenous and exogenous factors. It also emphasizes the crucial importance of integrating both legitimacy theory and integrity of purpose in a revamped ACA concept that meets the corruption-control challenge.

Practical implications

It is possible to design and implement an effective ACA by avoiding various factors that have been shown to seriously undermine corruption control efforts by also drawing on legitimacy theory, legal process and integrity of purpose.

Social implications

Corruption in both the public and private sectors cannot be controlled in isolation from other socio-economic problems. An effective ACA is one that fosters integrity and is considered legitimate by its stakeholders.

Originality/value

While there have been some articles the past two decades discussing the effectiveness of ACAs in particular countries, this is the first paper to account for the overall ACA ineffectiveness also using legitimacy theory, legal process and integrity of purpose to revamp the ACA concept.

Details

Journal of Financial Crime, vol. 26 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1359-0790

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Book part

Jon S. T. Quah

Chapters 2–6 have dealt in turn with how Denmark, Finland, Hong Kong, New Zealand, and Singapore have been effective in curbing corruption, as manifested in their rankings…

Abstract

Chapters 2–6 have dealt in turn with how Denmark, Finland, Hong Kong, New Zealand, and Singapore have been effective in curbing corruption, as manifested in their rankings and scores on the five international indicators of the perceived extent of corruption. In contrast, Chapter 7 focuses on India’s ineffective anti-corruption measures and identifies the lessons which India can learn from their success in fighting corruption. The aim of this concluding chapter is twofold: to describe and compare the different paths taken by these six countries in their battle against corruption; and to identify the lessons which other countries can learn from their experiences in combating corruption. However, as the policy contexts of these six countries differ significantly, it is necessary to begin by providing an analysis of their contextual constraints before proceeding to compare their anti-corruption strategies and identifying the relevant lessons for other countries.

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Different Paths to Curbing Corruption
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78190-731-3

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Article

Jon S. T. Quah

The purpose of this paper is threefold: first, to ascertain the levels of effectiveness of the anti-corruption agencies (ACAs) in China, Japan, Philippines, Singapore and…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is threefold: first, to ascertain the levels of effectiveness of the anti-corruption agencies (ACAs) in China, Japan, Philippines, Singapore and Taiwan; second, to explain why some of these ACAs are more effective than others; and third, to suggest some policy recommendations for addressing their limitations.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper relies on three well-known international indicators to assess the perceived extent of corruption in the five countries. Similarly, their quality of governance is assessed by their total percentile rank on the World Bank’s six governance indicators in 2013.

Findings

Singapore’s Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau is effective because of its government’s political will and favorable policy context. The Philippines and Taiwan rely on ineffective multiple ACAs, which are inadequately staffed and funded, and compete with each other for limited resources. China’s Central Commission for Discipline Inspection is ineffective because corrupt party members are disciplined and not prosecuted, and the political leaders use corruption as a weapon against their opponents. Japan’s weak political will is reflected in its reluctance to address its structural corruption. This paper concludes with policy recommendations for enhancing the effectiveness of the ACAs in the five countries.

Originality/value

The comparative analysis of the effectiveness of the ACAs in the five Asian countries and the policy recommendations for addressing their limitations will be of interest to policy makers, scholars and anti-corruption practitioners.

Details

Asian Education and Development Studies, vol. 4 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2046-3162

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Book part

Jon S.T. Quah

Thaksin Shinawatra became the prime minister of Thailand after his Thai Rak Thai (TRT) party won 248 of the 500 seats in the 6 January 2001 election. This was the first…

Abstract

Thaksin Shinawatra became the prime minister of Thailand after his Thai Rak Thai (TRT) party won 248 of the 500 seats in the 6 January 2001 election. This was the first time that a single political party had won such a mandate in Thai democratic history (Pasuk & Baker, 2009, p. 8). One month earlier, the National Counter Corruption Commission (NCCC) had charged Thaksin with concealing assets worth 4.5 billion baht on three occasions during 1997–1998, accusing him of registering these assets in the names of his housekeeper, maid, driver, security guard, and business colleagues. However, the NCCC's judgment was not upheld by the Constitutional Court, which had acquitted Thaksin on a split 8–7 decision in Thaksin's favor on 3 August 2001 (Pasuk & Baker, 2004, pp. 1, 5). If Thaksin had been found guilty by the Constitutional Court, he would have to resign as prime minister and be prohibited from holding public office for five years.

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Curbing Corruption in Asian Countries: An Impossible Dream?
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-0-85724-819-0

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Article

Jon S. T. Quah

– The purpose of this paper is to make recommendations to address the four limitations of Singapore’s Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB).

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to make recommendations to address the four limitations of Singapore’s Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB).

Design/methodology/approach

The paper begins by attributing Singapore’s reputation as the least corrupt Asian country to the CPIB’s four strengths: its independence from the police; its adequate staffing and funding; its adoption of the total approach to enforcement; and its impartial enforcement of the anti-corruption laws. It then proceeds to identify the CPIB’s limitations and provides four suggestions to address these limitations.

Findings

The sentencing of Edwin Yeo, a senior CPIB officer, to ten years’ imprisonment on 20 February 2014 for misappropriating US$1.76 million for nearly four years reveals that there were weaknesses in the CPIB’s internal controls and procurement procedures in spite of its effectiveness in curbing corruption. This paper recommends that the CPIB addresses its four limitations by strengthening its internal controls and procurement procedures; enhancing public trust and confidence by further improving its outreach to the population; improving the external oversight of its activities; and developing its in-house research capabilities.

Originality/value

This paper will be useful for those scholars, policy-makers, and anti-corruption practitioners who are interested in how the CPIB can further enhance its effectiveness even though Singapore is perceived as the least corrupt Asian country.

Details

Asian Education and Development Studies, vol. 4 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2046-3162

Keywords

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Book part

Jon S. T. Quah

Singapore and Hong Kong are the least corrupt Asian countries according to their rankings and scores on Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index in 2018…

Abstract

Singapore and Hong Kong are the least corrupt Asian countries according to their rankings and scores on Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index in 2018 and other indicators. This chapter explains why these two city-states have succeeded in minimizing corruption and identifies the four best practices which might serve as lessons for policy-makers in other countries.

Details

Corruption in the Public Sector: An International Perspective
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-83909-643-3

Keywords

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