GIACC.PACS 10.LOGO.2021


PACS Standard 10:

Government Permits

PACS Standard 10 forms part of GIACC’s Project Anti-Corruption System (PACS), which comprises 15 PACS Standards (see links at foot of this webpage). 

[NOTE:  The webpages on PACS Standards 1 to 15 are being updated between 1st and 30th September 2021, during which time the page content may not be complete, and there may be inconsistencies on these pages.]

Requirements

  1. The Project Owner should obtain the following information from the relevant government departments in the country in which the Project is located, and should make such information available in a comprehensive and timely manner to all Suppliers and Sub-suppliers who may require government permits in connection with the Project:
    1. the types of permit which will or may be required in relation to the Project
    2. the conditions which govern the issuing of each permit
    3. the documents which need to be completed by the applicant to obtain each permit, and how these documents can be obtained
    4. the evidence which the applicant needs to provide to support the permit application
    5. the factors which should be taken into account by the public official in deciding whether or not to issue the permit, and what conditions to apply
    6. the time which the permit should take to be issued, from moment of submission of application to moment of issue
    7. the legitimate fee for the permit; if there are various categories of fee, then the different categories and fees should be clearly explained
    8. the commitment of the relevant government departments to deal with applications honestly, impartially, transparently and accountably
    9. the right of the applicant to appeal against a decision not to issue the permit or against the conditions imposed on the permit, and an explanation of how such appeal can be made.
  2. The Project Owner should require each Supplier or Sub-supplier to report to the Project Owner any instance where the Supplier or Sub-supplier believes that, in relation to the application for a government permit:
    1. it has been charged a fee in excess of that legally due
    2. there has been unreasonable delay, obstruction or refusal in relation to the issue of a permit
    3. conditions have been imposed on the permit other than those which are both permitted by the regulations and justified by the circumstances
    4. it has been unfairly or badly treated
    5. there has been a request from a public official for a bribe, or any other suspected corruption in the permit issuing process.
  3. In the case of a report made under paragraph 2 above, the Project Owner should take all reasonable steps to assist the Supplier or Sub-supplier resolve the issue complained of.
  4. In the event that the Project Owner suspects that the issue complained of reveals possible corruption, then the Project Owner should report such matter to the law enforcement authorities.

Guidance

G1:  What types of permit are covered by PACS Standard 10?

The types of permit intended to be covered by PACS Standard 10 include government permits issued by public officials in relation to matters such as (i) planning permission, (ii) compliance with fire, safety, building and environmental regulations, (iii) work permits, (iv) passports and visas, and (v) customs clearance.   These normally tend to be routine permits, where public officials may be issuing numerous permits each day, and where the terms of the permits are likely to be the same or materially similar.

G2:  What is the purpose of PACS Standard 10?

There is a considerable risk of corruption in relation to the issuing of the types of permit referred to in G 1 above.  

  • The corruption may be initiated by the public official, who may refuse to issue a permit which is validly due unless the official is paid a bribe.
  • Alternatively, the corruption may be initiated by the applicant, who may offer a bribe to a public official in return for the official issuing a permit which is not due, or removing necessary conditions on the permit.

The primary purpose of PACS Standard 10 is to try to prevent corruption which is initiated by public officials. 

The Project Owner is required to assist all Suppliers and Sub-suppliers by informing them of the types of permit required for the Project, of how to apply, and of the fees and timescales involved.  Much of the corruption in relation to the issuing of permits arises due to uncertainty in relation to these matters, so, by providing clarity, the Project Owner is helping reduce the risk of corruption. 

The Suppliers and Sub-suppliers are required to notify the Project Owner in the event of any suspicious circumstances or difficulties surrounding the issue of permits, and the Project Owner is then required to assist.

Where the Project Owner is a public sector organisation, the above obligations on the Project Owner should significantly help reduce the risk of corruption in relation to the issuing of permits for the Project, as the relevant public officials will be aware that the Project Owner will intervene if there is corruption , and this may dissuade the public officials from acting corruptly.

It may be be more difficult for a private sector Project Owner to assist the Suppliers and Sub-suppliers in relation to permit issuing difficulties, as it would not have the same internal government influence as a public sector Project Owner.  However, if it is an important Project for the country, the private sector Project Owner may be able to assist.

In the event that the Project Owner suspects that the issue complained of reveals possible corruption, then the Project Owner should report such matter to the law enforcement authorities.  This obligation will help prevent corruption in the permit issuing (as the applicants and public officials will be aware of this reporting obligation), and will help result in enforcement action in the event of actual corruption.

Updated on 16th September 2021

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