Investigation, prosecution and deterrence

The use of prosecution and how sanctions interact with anti-corruption measures.

While our emphasis is on prevention, professional investigations and robust, proportionate sanctions are vital components in the deterrence of corruption. Without the risk of getting caught and appropriate penalties being applied, criminal and unethical activity will escalate beyond control.

Sanctions, whether criminal, civil, disciplinary and regulatory or any combination thereof, should always be pursued. Below are examples across a number of sectors and industries where penalties have been applied to good effect.

Examples and further resources

Legal remedies to corruption

The paper Private Prosecutions: A Potential Anticorruption Tool in English Law examines the challenges and opportunities facing civil society groups seeking to expose and punish grand corruption. It was published by the Justice Initiative as part of their series on legal remedies to high-level corruption around the world. Some common law systems allow for private prosecutions and this approach can be effective where the state is reluctant to take action but other groups can step in.

Addressing corruption in sport

Corruption in many areas of sport is rife, but work has been undertaken to reduce it. In 2015, the first steps were undertaken by the Rugby Football Union (RFU) to prosecute sports players acting corruptly, with a case brought against Phil Blake, former Leicester Tigers coach, which was the first of its kind. Blake was banned from all rugby activity for six months for two breaches of anti-corruption and betting rules. The disciplinary panel also imposed a fine of £669, which was the profit made on the bets placed, and ordered Blake to pay costs of £500.

Seeking the roots of corruption

In his article Zero tolerance: there’s a realistic alternative, Nigel Krishna Iyer considers how the response to finding corruption and fraud is to make an example of those who get caught. Investigating complex cases is difficult, and so the ‘big cheaters’ often get away and the root causes remain unresolved. The article argues that we need fresh ideas, based on:

  • thinking collectively rather than individually
  • working together to detect corruption early
  • less reliance on others to find fraud, such as police, the media, regulators or external auditors.
Find your investigation style

B4 Investigate have an online test that identifies what type of fraud investigator you are. The assessment takes around five minutes gives you feedback on your style. There are four different types of fraud detective and the quiz is open to anyone, to support the initiative that everyone can learn to spot fraud.

Preventing state capture

State capture refers to external or private actors gaining undue influence over a national government as a result of systemic corruption. The Transparency International report Examining State Capture examines two key enabling factors of state capture in the western Balkans and Turkey: impunity for high-level corruption and tailor-made laws. The report provides insight into how the judiciary ineffectively handles grand corruption and other corruption by high-level officials.