U4 on the success of the Corruption Eradication Commission of Indonesia

Aug. 17, 2010, 11:18 a.m.

Despite widespread acknowledgment of the debilitating effects of corruption, the phenomenon remains the norm in countless countries.  Anti-corruption bodies have a poor track record of making a difference,  usually having no measurable impact on the perceived level of corruption.  The Anti-Corruption Resource Centre has released a report, which examines a rare exception in this trend - the Corruption Eradication Commission of Indonesia (KPK).  The report uses the Philippines to build a comparative case study of the KPK's success.

A comparison with another such institution in a very similar neighbouring country – the Office of the Ombudsman of the Philippines – illustrates the KPK’s success especially in investigating and prosecuting corrupt public officials. Why was the KPK, in just five years, able to reach a 100% conviction rate against top officials in all major branches of the Indonesian government, while the Philippine Ombudsman has scored only few convictions in its 20-year history? Part of this success can be explained by considerable investigative powers given to KPK, which the Philippine Ombudsman does not hold. Also, rigorous pre-testing of every prosecution and a highly efficient anti-corruption court contribute to KPK’s success. These and other factors are analysed in this U4 Issue, which concludes with recommendations for donors and governments on the establishment and strengthening of anti-corruption agencies.

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