Review of anti-corruption and anti-fraud structures in criminal justice enforcement
As part of the Government’s “Measures to enhance Ireland’s corporate, economic, and regulatory framework” strategy document, it was agreed that the Department of Justice and Equality would lead a review of anti-corruption and anti-fraud structures to ensure that all state bodies with a role in the prevention, detection, investigation and prosecution of fraud and corruption are working effectively together. The terms of reference were agreed by Cabinet in July 2018 and Mr. James Hamilton, former Director of Public Prosecutions and a member of a number of international anti-corruption bodies has been appointed as the chair. The review group met for the first time in September 2018.
The terms of reference are as follows:-
- Identify scope and extent of the structures and strategies within AGS and other relevant agencies to prevent, investigate and penalise fraud and corruption and identify what gaps exist, by reference to international standards;
- To recommend options or potential solutions to any gaps or deficits identified during the analysis (e.g., whether a stand-alone anti-fraud/anti-corruption agency should be established, or improved cross-agency working/secondments, or thematic time bound joint-agency task forces set up as required);
- To review the extent of potential cross-over of any new structure with the evolving role of the ODCE and the work of the Cost of Insurance Working Group and make recommendations to minimise risk of duplication;
- To review the adequacy of the legal basis for sharing of information/evidence between relevant bodies (national and international) necessary to tackle fraud and corruption and make recommendations for any areas where additional legislation may be required;
- To assess the levels of resourcing and expertise or experience in relevant bodies and make any relevant recommendations;
- To make recommendations within 9 months of the initial meeting of the review group.
While the work is being led by the Department of Justice & Equality, a range of experts from across the public sector are involved. The Review Group is due to present it’s findings by Summer 2019.
What Bribery and Corruption means
- Bribery is a specific offence which concerns the practice of offering something, usually money, to gain an illicit advantage.
- Corruption is an abuse of a position of trust in order to gain an undue advantage.
The Consequences of Bribery and Corruption
Bribery and corruption have serious consequences for companies operating in an international business environment. In such an environment, companies are operating under serious pressure, competition is stiff and margins are tight. This, in conjunction with trying to adapt to unfamiliar legal systems, conventions and specific political circumstances, can make doing business very difficult. There is therefore much depending on whether a company can win a contract, obtain a licence or market a product in good time.
- The consequences of bribery and corruption are very serious from an economic perspective, with the World Bank estimating that 0.5% of GDP is lost each year.
- It also creates and unfavourable business environment, particularly in relation to trade and Foreign Direct Investment and it allows organised crime to thrive unimpeded.
Tackling Bribery and Corruption Globally
Thankfully, the fight against corruption has been strengthened substantially on national and international levels in the last number of years and in the following ways
- The international community has committed itself to a number of international treaties to establish corrupt practices both at home and abroad as criminal offences.
- As part of process to improve prevention and detection individual countries are monitored to see how they comply with their international commitments and whether additional efforts are necessary.
Ireland’s Commitment to Tackling Bribery and Corruption
- Ireland is very committed to ensuring that bribes to officials either at home or abroad are treated as criminal offences.
- It is also committed to raising awareness of its obligations under international treaties or conventions so that a level playing field can be created for all companies operating internationally.