What is the likelihood of you encountering corruption?

If you work in the infrastructure sector, you are likely to encounter some form of corruption during the course of your employment.  This is for the following reasons:

The risks of corruption on an infrastructure project are widespread and complex.

  • Many types of corruption:  There are many different types of corruption which can occur on a project.  These include: bribery, facilitation payments, extortion, fraud, cartels, abuse of power, embezzlement, and money-laundering.
  • Numerous individuals and organisations:  This corrupt activity may be perpetrated by anyone connected with the project including any personnel of the project owner, funders, contractors, sub-contractors, suppliers, consultants, agents, joint venture partners, and government officials responsible for approvals and permits.
  • Different project phases:  The corruption can take place at any stage through the project cycle; for example in project selection, planning, design, funding, tendering, project construction, operation and maintenance, and dispute resolution.

Factors relevant to the infrastructure sector enable corruption to occur, and make it more difficult to identify and prevent.  For example:

  • There are often large sums of money involved.
  • There are normally a large number of contracts on a project linking together the project participants. Every contractual link contains a corruption risk during the tender, certification and payment process.
  • The payment process on projects normally involves measurement of work done, and certification of quality, which creates a corruption risk during the measurement and certification process.
  • Work is often concealed (e.g. steel in foundations, pipes in ducting) which makes it more difficult to check whether work has been properly carried out.
  • Projects are often complex (in contractual, technical and financial terms) which makes it more difficult to ascertain whether a problem or cost overrun has been caused by management error, negligence or corruption.
  • There are significant interfaces with government officials (e.g. in applying for planning permission, building approval, import permits etc.).
  • There is often a lack of an effective anti-corruption control environment over procurement and construction management.

Consequently, you need constantly to be alert to the risk of corruption in relation to your day to day activities.

1st April 2024