The 9th International Anti-Corruption Conference
Elements of Corruption in the Middle East and North Africa
In general, corruption all over the world has common features, causes, and results; however, there exist certain elements which tint corruption that are affected by and specific to political systems and to the local culture such as the Middle East and North Africa. The main two types of corruption that exist are internal and transborder. Internal corruption occurs within the public, private and NGO sectors while, transborder, as implied from the name, occurs across territorial borders including international organisations resulting in Global corruption. The Palestinian case will be used as an example particularly due to its status as a nation in the building. Palestine, at such an early stage, already resembles the rest of the Arab countries in its traits of corruption. The aim here is to highlight the features, causes, and results of corruption concluding with ways that the Middle East and North Africa can combat corruption.
Since Palestine is a newly established nation, corruption has not yet penetrated deep within the Palestinian culture and society nor has been legitimised as de-facto in the society. The recent corruption found in the Palestinian National Authority is similar to the corruption that exists in the rest of the Arab countries' governments. It is similar in its abuse of power by those in public positions. Prominent features, causes, and results of Palestinian corruption were revealed during the Parliamentarian investigations conducted by the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC).
Role of the PLC in Combating Corruption:
As any parliament in a democratic society, the role of the PLC in general is the areas of legislation, oversight and participation in development of public policies. Actions taken by the newly established PLC in combating corruption include:
The establishment of a special committee composed of members of the Budget and Oversight committees to study and investigate the report submitted by the General Auditor. This committee came up with its own report which included comprehensive details of the work of the various governmental institutions and officials mentioned in the Auditor's report with specific recommendations. The mechanisms used by the committee included:
Main Features of Corruption:
The main features that were revealed by the report are:
Causes of Corruption.
The main causes of corruption are:
Results of Corruption:
The PLC experience in combating corruption so far dealt with internal corruption specific to the public sector. In general, the results of corruption culminate in the:
The report revealed that 52 Palestinian public officials had violated laws and public policies. The Council decided that these actions classified under corruption. Another group of public officials actions were classified as "mismanagement" which included cases resulting from lack of information and not for personal benefits. The first group of individuals was held responsible for the misuse of their public positions and acquiring personal gains which were in direct violations of the law and/or approved public policies. The PLC requested from the President of the PNA to submit these cases for review by the Attorney General prior to their indictments. Based on the findings and the report, the Cabinet submitted its resignation to the President of the PNA.
As corruption consists of many multi-faceted elements, combating it requires an assortment of intertwined elements and actions, which combine the political will of the government, its leadership, and the society at large. These requirements include: