ACA series: Reflections on the value, functions, and conditions for success of anti-corruption agencies (ACAs)

Luís de Sousa, Research Fellow, Instituto de Ciências Sociais, Universidade de Lisboa (ICS-ULisboa), e-mail:

The growth of ACAs

Over the past three decades, and especially after the signing of the United Nations Convention of Corruption (UNCAC), international standards have converged regarding the need to increase specialization and coordination in the field of corruption control in terms of both prevention and containment. One proposed option for doing this was to set up a body, bodies, or persons specialised in overseeing and coordinating the implementation of anti-corruption policies, producing and disseminating knowledge about corruption prevention (article 6, UNCAC), and/or combating corruption through law enforcement (article 36, UNCAC).

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ACA series: AFA, The French Anti-Corruption Agency

François Valérian, member of the International Board of Transparency International, writes about the development, design, remit, and record to-date of France’s nascent anti-corruption agency.

The Agence Française Anti-corruption (French Anti-Corruption Agency, AFA) was created by a 2016 law voted under the then French Finance Minister’s initiative and known as “Sapin II Law”, the major law passed a few years after the Cahuzac scandal which saw a finance minister’s resignation for tax evasion. The AFA is headed by a magistrate appointed by the President of the Republic for a non-renewable six-year term.

The AFA’s missions are of advice and assistance, and of control. The overall goal is to promote a culture and practices of anti-corruption prevention in the economic world, as provided for by the Sapin II law.

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Can the law tackle contested appointments in the House of Lords?

Joseph Sinclair, a lawyer, research associate at Spotlight on Corruption, and recent alumnus of Sussex’s Corruption and Governance MA, writes about the recent controversy over Peter Cruddas’ appointment to the Lords and the shortcomings in the criminal laws that govern the purchasing of honours.

Image source: David Jakab/Pexels

Peter Cruddas: Appointment to the Lords & Controversy

In December 2020, the Prime Minister appointed Peter Cruddas to be a Conservative peer in the House of Lords. He is described on the Lords’ website as “a businessperson, philanthropist, and Conservative Party donor and former co-treasurer [of the Conservative Party]”. As a donor, he had given £50,000 to Boris Johnson for his 2019 leadership campaign and in total over £3m to the Conservative Party since 2007 (£1.2m since Boris Johnson became PM) as well as £1.5m to the Vote Leave campaign. Cruddas’ appointment was especially controversial because, after undertaking a vetting process, the House of Lords Appointment Commission had told the PM that they could not support the nominee.

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Do we still need the G20 Anti-Corruption Working Group?

The G20’s ACWG has been around for a decade. In this post, Professor Robert Barrington argues that on balance it is more useful than not, but that is hardly a ringing endorsement.  If it is to survive a further decade, he argues, some tangible progress is necessary.  This is the sixth and final blog post in the CSC’s series ‘The role of the G20 Anti-Corruption Working Group in influencing the global agenda.’ 

G20 ACWG Accountability Report 2021
Credits: G20 Italy – Anti-Corruption Working Group
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