Anti-corruption work at Sida is given a high priority and has become more important in recent years. In all parts of the world, people’s everyday life is affected by corruption. The poor suffer the most. Corruption weakens the trust in a community and thereby risks undermining democracy; if worst comes to worst, the entire social structure may be eroded. Corruption hampers economic growth, among other things by inhibiting investments. Access to social services such as health and education is undermined. All in all, corruption is a serious obstacle to development.
This is how we define corruption
Sida defines corruption as an "abuse of trust, power or position for improper gain. Corruption includes, among other things, the offering and receiving of bribes – including the bribery of foreign officials – extortion, conflicts of interest and nepotism."
Sida’s anti-corruption regulation illustrates our approach: which is "Always prevent, never accept, always inform and always act."
To combat corruption in operations and in countries
It is part of our mission to combat irregularities and corruption in the way we manage our projects, and to support the anti-corruption efforts of the partner countries. Our anti-corruption work is conducted at four different levels:
- Promote ethics and integrity within our own organization.
- Tackle corruption in Swedish-financed projects.
- Support partner countries’ efforts to combat corruption through strategic interventions.
- Participate in international anti-corruption work.
We have raised the level of ambition in recent years in terms of risk analysis, auditing and the reporting of results in order to strengthen anti-corruption efforts in our project management. An increased focus on controls and risk management is necessary. In our partner countries, the corruption situation is too complex to be addressed with control measures only, this is because corruption is a political and social phenomenon rather than a technical or legal problem. Therefore we also support the countries’ own efforts to combat corruption.
Efforts to strengthen human rights and democratic governance include actions that have a direct or indirect impact on the corruption situation. We support efforts aimed at increasing democratic participation, transparency and accountability, essential to change corrupt environments. Civil society has a crucial role to play. We also help to strengthen institutions such as tax authorities, audit institutions and systems for public financial management. Furthermore, we support anti-corruption organizations such as Transparency International, the build-up of a judicial system, free media, parliament and political parties. This is important to strengthen the sense of citizenship and to promote a human rights perspective. Sida also contributes to several global and regional anti-corruption initiatives.
This is the way we deal with corruption allegations
All reported suspicions of corruption are investigated. We use accounting firms to help out with audits and, when necessary, a forensic audit is arranged. A whistle-blowing system is established. The system makes it possible to report allegations of corruption anonymously, both from own staff and from people outside the agency. This system enhances the control to ensure that Swedish development assistance funds are used for intended purposes. The work follows Sida's Whistleblowing guidelines (pdf) and Anti-corruption regulation (pdf).
Our anti-corruption work is also described in a fact sheet (pdf).