THE ASIA PACIFIC JOURNAL OF PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION VOL. 31, NO.

2 (DECEMBER 2009): 171-195

Benchmarking for Excellence: A Comparative Analysis of Seven Asian Anti-Corruption Agencies
Jon S T Quah

Anti-corruption agencies (ACAs) have been established in many Asian countries to tackle the problem of corruption. However, with the exceptions of the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau in Singapore and the Independent Commission Against Corruption in Hong Kong, many Asian ACAs have been ineffective. What criteria should be used to evaluate their effectiveness? After analyzing the functions of the ACAs in India, Hong Kong, Macao, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea and Thailand, this article recommends that their performance should be benchmarked according to 22 indicators. It concludes that benchmarking provides an ACA with an objective method for evaluating its performance by comparing it with the performance of more effective ACAs. Benchmarking also enables an ACA to improve its performance by introducing reforms to remove the weaknesses exposed by comparison with more effective ACAs in other countries.

Introduction Corruption is perceived as a serious problem in many Asian countries today according to Transparency ’ s International 2008 Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI). The most common response in these countries is the establishment of anti-corruption agencies (ACAs) to combat corruption. However, according to Pope (2000: 104), ACAs have been “more often failures than successes.” What criteria should be used to evaluate their effectiveness? This article addresses this question by suggesting several criteria for benchmarking the performance of Asian ACAs. The article is divided into five sections. The first section defines benchmarking and identifies its rationale. The second section discusses the advantages of establishing ACAs. The third section focuses on the different types of ACAs and describes the functions of these ACAs: the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) in Singapore; the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) in the Hong Kong SAR; the Commission Against Corruption (CCAC) in the Macao SAR; the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in India; the Korea Independent Commission Against Corruption (KICAC) in South Korea; the National Counter Corruption Commission (NCCC) in Thailand; and the Tanodbayan or Ombudsman in the Philippines. These seven ACAs are selected for
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comparative analysis to illustrate their diverse functions and also because of their available published performance data. The fourth section compares their performance according to several indicators. The concluding section recommends that Asian ACAs should benchmark their performance according to 22 indicators, as benchmarking enables their political leaders and policy-makers to assess their effectiveness and make the necessary changes for improving their performance. Benchmarking: Meaning and Rationale The origins of benchmarking can be traced to Japanese business firms which visited other countries in the 1950s to benchmark the best organisations from which to transfer technology and business practices to themselves. These Japanese companies described what they did as “industry tours” instead of benchmarking. The process of the tours involved these four steps: researching published data to identify the best organisations; contacting the organizations to schedule a visit; visiting the organizations and carefully selecting pertinent data; and returning home and adopting (with relevant adaptations) the lessons learnt to gain a competitive advantage (Harrington & Harrington 1996: 29). The application of benchmarking to measure business performance in terms of cost/sales and investment ratios during the 1950s encouraged companies in the United States to identify their own strengths and weaknesses by comparing them with those of their counterparts within the industry. The growth of computer technology in the 1960s and 1970s further spurred the application of benchmarking (Kozak 2004: 9). Xerox’s success in reinventing itself through benchmarking resulted in the recognition of benchmarking as an important tool of continuous improvement for American companies in the 1980s. Benchmarking is now employed in the automotive, education, health, medicine, telecommunications, transport and tourism industries and is recognised internationally as a quality improvement tool (Kozak 2004: 9-10). In his content analysis of 11 widely-used definitions, Kozak (2004: 7) found that “ all these definitions have a common theme, namely: the continuous measurement and improvement of an organization ’ s performance against the best in the industry to obtain information about new working methods or practices in other organizations.” The most useful definition for this article is Spendolini’s (1992: 9) definition of benchmarking as “a continuous, systematic process for evaluating the products, services, and work processes of organizations that are recognized as representing best practices for the purpose of organizational improvement. ” Here, benchmarking refers to the process of evaluating the effectiveness of Asian ACAs with the objective of improving their performance. What is the rationale for benchmarking? Internal benchmarking refers to “two-way communication and sharing opinions between departments
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public outreach and information. permanent agencies whose primary function is to provide centralized leadership in [such] core areas of anti-corruption activity . In short. the advantage of benchmarking Asian ACAs is that it identifies those ineffective ACAs and encourages them to perform better by emulating the best practices of their more effective counterparts. benchmarking can stimulate policymakers to adopt improvements by learning from comparable countries that do do better. external benchmarking involves “a comparison of work with external organizations in order to discover new ideas. and prosecution”. Insofar as the results are positive. enhanced public profile. Rose (2005: 35) contends that benchmarking provides policy-makers with a tool for evaluating a national programme and enables them to learn about successful programmes in other countries. external benchmarking provides an organisation with “opportunities for learning from the best practices and experiences of others who are at the leading edge” (Kozak 2004: 11). This article focuses on external benchmarking to compare the performance of seven Asian ACAs on the basis of several indicators. . Thus: The intention of benchmarking is constructive: to evaluate a programme ’ s performance by a measure independent of the opinions of policymakers . . Evaluating a programme against a benchmark standard will show whether. methods. the process endorses the predisposition to ignore what is done abroad.” External benchmarking enables an organisation to improve its performance by measuring how it performs. Rationale and Advantages of ACAs ACAs are specialised agencies established by governments for the specific purpose of minimizing corruption in their countries. satisfaction is justified. In contrast.Benchmarking for Excellence: A Comparative Analysis of Seven Asian Anti-Corruption Agencies within the same organization or between organizations operating as part of a chain in different countries” (Kozak 2004: 10). and reduced uncertainty over the jurisdiction by avoiding duplication of powers and work. . and determining how the latter have achieved their performance levels. or to what extent. But insofar as benchmarking shows that a programme producing domestic satisfaction is not so successful as others evaluated by the same standard. products and services. monitoring. Meagher (2005: 70) defines ACAs as “separate. concentration of expertise. [as] policy analysis and technical assistance in prevention. comparing it with its competitors. investigation. Nicholls et al (2006: 476) observe that an ACA has four advantages: reduced administrative costs. Thus. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime’s AntiCorruption Toolkit (2004: 89-90) has identified nine advantages of an ACA: 173 . .

However. the government should provide the ACA with operational autonomy so that it can investigate anyone. audit and similar agencies.The Asia Pacific Journal of Public Administration a high degree of specialisation and expertise. as the CID’s top priority was to deal with serious crimes 174 . separateness from the agencies and departments that it will be investigating. Table 2 summarises the features of the seven ACAs which are analysed below. successes and failures. All of the operational advantages listed above will count for naught if the government does not support the ACA by allowing it to operate independently and by providing it with adequate resources for performing its functions effectively. established security protection. clarity in the assessment of its progress. from the CPIB’s formation in Singapore in October 1952 to the creation of the Independent Authority Against Corruption (IAAC) in Mongolia in December 2006. regardless of status or position. on whether their jurisdiction is limited to the public sector only. and thus free from corruption and other problems that may affect existing institutions. the ACB was a small unit of only 17 men with a difficult task to perform: the eradication of corruption in the civil service. Types and Functions of Asian ACAs Types of ACAs Table 1 shows that 16 ACAs were established in Asia between 1952 and 2006. There are several types of ACAs depending on whether they are concerned with combating corruption solely. the British authorities relied on the Anti-Corruption Branch (ACB) of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) in the Singapore Police Force to curb corruption. The most important advantage of creating an ACA is that it sends a powerful signal to the citizens in the country that the government is committed to fighting corruption (UNODC 2004: 90). a “fresh start” when new. a high degree of autonomy to insulate it from corruption and other undue influences. Functions of CPIB During Singapore’s colonial period. or with the performance of many functions including anti-corruption. First. this initial advantage is eroded if the government does not demonstrate its commitment by providing the ACA with sufficient legal powers and adequate human and financial resources. considerable public credibility. and swift action against corruption as task-specific resources are used and officials are not subjected to the competing priorities of general law enforcement. and on the nature of their anti-corruption functions. This was a serious mistake for three reasons. or to both the public and private sectors. legal and public accountability. Second. political. Also.

the ACB was ineffective because of the rampant police corruption in colonial Singapore (Quah 2007: 14-15). The Office of the Ombudsman became operational on 12 May 1988. As it was ineffective. China South Korea Indonesia Bangladesh Bhutan Mongolia February 1982 May 1988 1990 November 1994 November 1999 November 1999 December 1999 January 2002 December 2003 May 2004 January 2006 December 2006 *The Tanodbayan was originally established by President Ferdinand Marcos in July 1979. Third.Benchmarking for Excellence: A Comparative Analysis of Seven Asian Anti-Corruption Agencies Table 1 Anti-Corruption Agencies in Asian Countries Country Singapore India Malaysia Hong Kong SAR.330) was stolen by a gang of 175 . China Anti-corruption agency Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau Central Bureau of Investigation Anti-Corruption Agency Independent Commission Against Corruption Anti-Corruption Bureau Tanodbayan* (Ombudsman) Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption National Accountability Bureau National Counter Corruption Commission** Commission Against Corruption Korea Independent Commission Against Corruption*** Corruption Eradication Commission Anti-Corruption Commission Office of the Anti-Corruption Commission Independent Authority Against Corruption Date established October 1952 April 1963 October 1967 February 1974 Brunei Darusalam Philippines Nepal Sri Lanka Pakistan Thailand Macao SAR. **The NCCC was renamed the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) on 15 July 2008. In October 1951. it was reorganised when President Corazon Aquino issued Executive Order No 242 on 24 July 1987. like homicide.000 (US$133. ***The KICAC was merged with the Ombudsman and the Administrative Appeals Commission to form the Anti-Corruption and Civil Rights Commission (ACRC) on 29 February 2008. the task of fighting corruption received lower priority as the ACB had to compete with other branches for limited resources.800 pounds of opium worth S$400. a consignment of 1.

to perform these functions: receiving and investigating complaints concerning corruption in the public and private sectors. prevention and education Anti-corruption. Macao SAR. prevention and education Inspection of assets of public officials. economic crimes and special crimes (organised crime and terrorism) Anti-corruption and ombudsman Anti-corruption. prosecution. The opium hijacking scandal made the British authorities realise the importance of creating an independent ACA that was separate from the police. Hong Kong SAR. Singapore Functions Jurisdiction Location Investigation. India Public sector only Central Vigilance Commission CCAC. ombudsman. and examining the practices and procedures in the public service 176 . prevention and education Investigation. the ACB was replaced with the CPIB. A special team appointed by the British colonial government to investigate the robbery found that corruption was widespread especially among those policemen involved in protection rackets (Quah 2007: 16). South Korea Public sector only Office of the President robbers. investigation. China Chief Executive’s Office NCCC (NACC from 15 July 2008) Thailand Senate CBI. ombudsman and administrative appeals Public and private sectors Public and private sectors Public sector only Prime Minister’s Office ICAC. which was formed as the first Asian ACA in October 1952. China Ombudsman Philippines Public sector only Public sector only Chief Executive’s Office House of Representatives KICAC (ACRC from 29 February 2008). Accordingly. investigating malpractices and misconduct by public officers. which included three police detectives. and public assistance Anti-corruption.The Asia Pacific Journal of Public Administration Table 2 Types of Anti-Corruption Agencies in Seven Countries Anti-corruption agency CPIB. discipline.

community relations and prevention (Heilbrunn 2006: 136). Functions of NCCC/NACC Section 19 of the Organic Act on Counter Corruption B E 2542 (1999) identifies the powers and duties of Thailand ’ s NCCC (ONCCC 2006a: 10-11). and Community Relations (ICAC 1989: 28-29). Unlike the CPIB’s investigative model. As part of its preventive function. Those found guilty are removed from their positions and barred from holding political office for five years. was compelled by public criticism to accept the Blair-Kerr Commission’s recommendation to establish an independent ACA. when the ACB was upgraded to the Anti-Corruption Office (ACO).Benchmarking for Excellence: A Comparative Analysis of Seven Asian Anti-Corruption Agencies to minimize opportunities for corrupt practices (CPIB 1990: 2). enhancing the integrity of the officials and public by organising contests. the Governor. Sir Murray MacLehose. Following Singapore’s experience. Officials who fail to declare their assets or make false declarations are reported to the Constitutional Court by the NCCC. separate from the RHKPF. and fostering cooperation among the public by conducting 177 . to fight corruption (Quah 2003: 137-140). which was under British rule from 1841 to 30 June 1997. The NCCC ’ s second role involves making recommendations on preventing corruption to the Cabinet and other government agencies. Corruption Prevention. Consequently. the ACB of the CID in the Royal Hong Kong Police Force (RHKPF) was also responsible for curbing corruption from 1948 to 1971. the ICAC is described as the “universal model” because of its three-pronged strategy of focusing on investigation. The NCCC’s first function is to inspect and verify the declaration of the assets and liabilities submitted by politicians and civil servants. meetings and seminars on fighting corruption among the people and civil servants. which was also ineffective in tackling the extensive police corruption. Functions of ICAC The same story can be told in Hong Kong. The ICAC was formed on 15 February 1974 to “root out corruption and to restore confidence in the Government” (Wong 1981: 45). ” The ICAC ’ s “ three-pronged approach ” is critical for developing “ a new public consciousness ” and is reflected in its organisational structure of the three Departments of Operations. The ICAC’s raison d’etre is to perform “a trinity of purpose comprising investigation. the CPIB is also responsible for screening candidates selected for positions in the civil service and statutory boards to ensure that only those candidates without any taint of corruption or misconduct are actually appointed (Republic of Singapore 1994: 638). prevention and education. The escape of a corruption suspect (Chief Superintendent Peter F Godber on 8 June 1973) to the United Kingdom angered the public and undermined the ACO’s credibility.

Section 59 specifies that the Senate can also initiate the impeachment of corrupt politicians and bureaucrats if it receives a request that is supported by one-quarter of the House of Representatives. and its investigators are also given the status of criminal investigation police officers (CCAC 2007: 12). Second. To meet the increase in the number of securities scam cases and economic offences with the liberalisation of India’s economy. bomb blasts. antiques and cultural property. the Anti-Corruption Division was established to deal with cases of corruption and fraud committed by public servants of all central government departments. kidnapping for ransom. seizure and use of weapons. lawfulness and efficiency of the public 178 . as well as ensuring fairness. the CBI was reorganised in 1994 and three investigation divisions were formed. and smuggling of other contraband items.” or for committing corruption. Macao ’ s Legislative Assembly enacted the Organisational Law of the CCAC (Law No 10/2000) on 14 August 2000 to give the CCAC powers of detention. the Economic Crimes Division was formed to handle bank and financial fraud. large-scale smuggling of narcotics. and the Senate has the power to impeach them for having “unusual wealth. export and foreign exchange violations. or if the complaint is signed by 50. the government of India created the CBI by incorporating the Delhi Special Police Establishment as one of its six divisions. sensational homicides. freedom and legitimate interests of individuals.The Asia Pacific Journal of Public Administration seminars on countering corruption in Bangkok and the other provinces. namely the Investigation and Anti-Corruption Division. malfeasance. which deals with cases of terrorism. The CCAC performs four functions: preventing acts of corruption and fraud. It investigates corruption complaints against politicians and civil servants. or abuse of power. and protecting human rights. public sector undertakings and financial institutions. import. First. Section 58 empowers the Senate to initiate the removal from office of political leaders and senior bureaucrats for such offences. search. investigating allegations of corruption and fraud in electoral registration and the election of members of government institutions in Macao. The third division is the Special Crimes Division. Functions of CCAC To enable the CCAC to combat corruption more effectively.000 members of the public (ONCCC 2006a: 23). Functions of the CBI In April 1963. an Economic Offences Wing was added to the CBI (CBI 2008: 2). The NCCC ’ s third function is to suppress corruption by taking disciplinary action against corrupt politicians and bureaucrats. In February 1964. and crimes committed by the mafia or underworld (CBI 2008: 3-4). investigating crimes of corruption and fraud committed by civil servants.

prosecution of graft cases in the Sandiganbayan (Special Anti-Graft Court). Functions of the Ombudsman In the Philippines. President Kim Dae Jung’s comprehensive anti-corruption strategy met with stiff resistance in the National Assembly. The “ rejuvenated ” Ombudsman is the constitutionally mandated lead ACA in the Philippines and performs the following functions: investigation of anomalies and inefficiency. promoting cooperation to fight corruption by encouraging civil society involvement and publicprivate partnership against corruption. In its Annual Report 2005.Benchmarking for Excellence: A Comparative Analysis of Seven Asian Anti-Corruption Agencies administration (CCAC 2001: 12). requiring public officials and employees to give assistance to the public. resulting in “the systematic plunder of the country” (Varela 1995: 174). disciplinary control over all elected and appointed officials except for members of the Congress and Judiciary and impeachable officials. “ there was high expectation that the end of the culture of graft and corruption was near ” (Varela 1995: 174). In fighting corruption. it took more than two years before the Anti-Corruption Act was passed on 24 July 2001. the Ombudsman’s role was to file and prosecute civil and administrative cases involving graft and corrupt practices and other offences committed by civil servants. Consequently. Six months later. It also performs the function of an Ombudsman to protect the rights. the KICAC (2006: 4. Functions of KICAC/ACRC In South Korea. the KICAC was formed on 25 January 2002 as the de jure ACA in South Korea (Quah 2003: 169). When President Corazon Aquino assumed office in February 1986. and engaging in the global fight 179 . the CCAC is concerned not only with investigating and preventing corruption among civil servants. the Office of the Ombudsman was originally formed in July 1979 when President Ferdinand Marcos issued Presidential Decree No 1630. However. the Tanodbayan was reorganised in 1988 during Aquino ’ s term of office. as corruption “reached its all time high” and “permeated almost all aspects of bureaucratic life and institutions”. and graft prevention by analysing anti-corruption measures and increasing public awareness and cooperation (Office of the Ombudsman official website). freedom and interests of individuals in Macao. Unlike the previous ACAs. evaluating the levels of integrity and anticorruption practices of public sector organisations. the Ombudsman was ineffective during the remaining seven years of Marcos’ rule. 7) identified its functions as: formulating and coordinating anti-corruption policies by organising regularly the InterAgency Meeting on Corruption. monitoring corruption and protecting and rewarding whistle-blowers. Among the anti-corruption measures introduced.

However. Similarly. along with its anti-corruption functions. and inculcating ethical values in society by promoting public awareness of corruption risks and by enforcing the code of conduct for public sector employees. Third. but also for economic crimes and special crimes like terrorism and organised crime. first. it devotes more attention to investigation than the other functions of prevention and education (Republic of Singapore 2008: 374). the CPIB and ICAC are the two ACAs which focus on the investigation of corruption offences. disciplinary control of civil servants. building a clean society by preventing and deterring corruption in the public sector. and protecting people’s rights from illegal and unfair administrative practices through the administrative appeals system (ACRC website). as the CPIB has a relatively limited number of staff (eg. In contrast. Comparative Analysis A comparison of the functions of the seven ACAs shows. Thailand’s NCCC. On 29 February 2008. it has to rely on the Board of Audit and Investigation and other agencies to do so.200 staff in 2007. for example. emphasises all of the functions of investigation. that only Singapore’s CPIB and Hong Kong’s ICAC are concerned with combating corruption in both the public and private sectors. Macao ’ s CCAC and the Philippines’ Ombudsman not only combat corruption but also perform the functions of an Ombudsman. is also concerned with the inspection and verification of the assets and liabilities of politicians and senior bureaucrats. prevention and education (ICAC 2008: 30). In contrast. However.The Asia Pacific Journal of Public Administration against corruption. After the KICAC’s merger with the Ombudsman and the Administrative Appeals Commission on 29 180 . the Philippines ’ Ombudsman performs more functions as it is also responsible for the investigation. the other five ACAs perform other functions in addition to combating corruption. the ICAC. and the provision of public assistance. Unlike the other six ACAs. which performs these functions: handling and addressing public complaints and improving related unreasonable systems. South Korea’s KICAC was concerned only with the preventive and educative aspects of combating corruption during its first six years as it did not have investigative powers. the KICAC was merged with the Ombudsman and the Administrative Appeals Commission to form the Anti-Corruption and Civil Rights Commission (ACRC). the KICAC cannot investigate corruption cases by itself. Second. and the education of the population on the negative effects of corruption. improving the legal and institutional frameworks to remove laws and practices which encourage corruption. which had 1. only 89 in 2007). the CBI in India is responsible not only for combating corruption. prevention and prosecution of corruption cases. the other five ACAs devote their anti-corruption efforts only to the public sector. the prevention of corruption by reducing the opportunities for corruption.

As political will is the most important factor for ensuring the effective implementation of a comprehensive anti-corruption strategy in a country (Quah 2003: 181). 37) describes this first step as the agreement on a standard for comparing programme outcomes. and the Political and Economic Risk Consultancy ’ s (PERC) 2008 survey on corruption. in 2008. Rose (2005: 35. the KICAC and ACRC have been unique as ACAs. National Indicators Three indicators are used here: Transparency International’s 2008 CPI score. data on their personnel numbers and budgets for a selected year (2005) are used to calculate these two indicators: 181 . respectively. as they have not been responsible for investigating corruption cases even though their function is to combat corruption. and the anti-corruption laws are impartially enforced by an independent ACA (Quah 2007: 37-38). Thus. The second step is to compare programmes with the chosen standard so as to create a league table indicating the performance of all of the ACAs according to the selected indicators. the ranking of the seven Asian countries does not change very much if they are ranked according to the 2008 CPI. the ACRC is now responsible for anticorruption (without investigation). the independent ACA is provided with sufficient personnel and resources. ombudsman functions. how can it be ascertained? Political will refers to the commitment of political leaders to minimize corruption. and the control of corruption percentile rank. These indicators reflect the effectiveness of the countries’ anti-corruption strategies which are implemented by their respective ACAs. PERC scores. The only changes are the higher ranking of South Korea and India over Macao and Thailand. As shown in Table 4. Benchmarking the Seven ACAs’ Performance As the first step in benchmarking the performance of Asian ACAs.Benchmarking for Excellence: A Comparative Analysis of Seven Asian Anti-Corruption Agencies February 2008 to form the ACRC. Table 3 ranks the seven Asian countries according to their scores on the 2005 CPI and PERC and their percentile rank on the World Bank’s control of corruption indicator. it is necessary to identify the most effective ACAs. and considering administrative appeals. the World Bank’s 2008 control of corruption indicator. Agency Indicators: Per Capita Expenditure and Staff-Population Ratio To assess whether the seven ACAs are provided with adequate personnel and budget by their governments to perform their functions. It exists when these three conditions are met: comprehensive anti-corruption legislation exists.

50 4. Staff-population ratio – that is.3 6.8 2. and PERC (2008).4 54. CC and PERC Indicators for Seven Asian Countries.78** 6. 2008 Economy CPI score Control of corruption 99.13 1.2 69.9 2.3 1. 2.00 9.6 5. 1.9 70.30 7. it is ranked second as 182 .5 Control of corruption* 98.6 58.7 68.2 8. PERC score ranges from 0 (least corrupt) to 10 (most corrupt). Per capita expenditure – that is.00 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Sources: Transparency International (2008). Sources: World Bank (2009).20 8.4 3.63 8. and control of corruption uses a percentile rank.0 26.6** 5. divided by the total population in the country for the same year. and PERC (2008). Table 5 shows that while Hong Kong ’s ICAC is the best funded of the seven ACAs with a budget of US$85 million. **2006 figures are used as Macao was not included in the 2005 CPI and PERC survey.1 92.0 3.4 3. 2005 Economy Singapore Hong Kong Macao South Korea Thailand India Philippines CPI score* 9.0 PERC score* 0.5 2. Transparency International (2005).80 5.5 94. Table 4 CPI.65 3.1 34.25 8. the ACA’s budget for 2005 in US$ (to ensure comparability).1 5.4 8.80 Rank 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 *CPI score ranges from 0 (most corrupt) to 10 (least corrupt).4 46.The Asia Pacific Journal of Public Administration Table 3 CPI.4 43.50 7.0 44. the ratio of the population in the country in 2005 to the number of ACA personnel in 2005. CC and PERC Indicators for Seven Asian Countries.65 3. World Bank (2009).1 PERC score Rank Singapore Hong Kong South Korea Macao India Thailand Philippines 9.

which is ranked second with a staff-population ratio of 1:5. its per capita expenditure of US$12.79 is ranked third as Singapore’s population of 4. as Thailand has more people than South Korea. While the per capita expenditures of the ACAs indicate their level of funding. and the Ombudsman 183 . The KICAC’ s per capita expenditure of US$0. On the other hand. In contrast. The NCCC’ s staff-population ratio of 1:69.200.200.72 US$12. their staff-population ratios indicate whether they are adequately staffed or not. KICAC (2006).8 m US$22.72.3 m US$12 m Population 488. but its per capita expenditure of US$1. The Ombudsman’s lowest per capita expenditure of US$0.4 million.000 81.37 US$0. which has the best staff-population of 1:4. the CPIB has the smallest staff with 82 personnel.8 m US$30. The NCCC is ranked fifth with a per capita expenditure of US$0.6 m US$85 m US$7. CCAC (2006).000 Per capita expenditure US$21.3 million is higher than the budgets of the NCCC.081.400.37 is fourth.000 47.3 million is the second smallest among the seven countries.15 Rank 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Sources: Budget data are obtained from CBI (2006). ONCCC (2006b).358. Table 6 shows that even though the CBI has the most staff with 4.79 US$0.7 million.28 US$0.Benchmarking for Excellence: A Comparative Analysis of Seven Asian Anti-Corruption Agencies Table 5 Per Capita Expenditure of the Seven ACAs in 2005 ACA CCAC ICAC CPIB KICAC NCCC CBI Ombudsman Budget US$10.300. as South Korea has a smaller population than Thailand and the Philippines.481 is ranked fourth. the per capita expenditures of the other four ACAs are less favourable because of their larger populations.15 is not surprising in view of its budget of US$12 million and the country’s population of 81.000 64. Office of the Ombudsman (2006).863. This explains why the CBI is ranked sixth in terms of per capita expenditure even though its budget of US$30.14 is below that of Macao’s CCAC.800. behind the CCAC.000.000 4. The 2005 population figures are taken from Economist (2007).711 personnel. but its staff-population ratio of 1:53. ICAC (2006). which has a per capita expenditure of US$21. and the Ombudsman.36 even though its budget is larger than the KICAC’s budget. and Republic of Singapore (2007).36 US$0.14 US$1.100 7.086 is ranked third.7 m US$17. it is ranked sixth with a staff-population ratio of 1:229. KICAC.0812 billion). Singapore’s CPIB has the second smallest budget of US$7. with India having the world’s second largest population (1.000 1. and the ICAC.505.

that choices 184 . Second.081.171 indicates that it is understaffed with 205 personnel given the country’s population of 47.100 7. permanence.8 million.000 64.300.” Indeed. and that they can file reports without fear of reprisals” (Johnston 2002: 257).086 1:69. Independence ensures that an ACA will have adequate funding and access to information. Johnston (2002: 255) has identified four prerequisites for its success: independence. powerful officials can ‘protect their own’ and conceal evidence” (Johnston 2002: 256). it publicises all its activities freely and conducts them in a transparent manner to assure citizens that “the evidence they give will be taken seriously.505 1:233. The first prerequisite of independence is important to prevent an ACA from being used as a political weapon against the opponents of the government. that prevention activities are available to all.481 1:85.171 Rank 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 is ranked fifth with a staff-population ratio of 1:85. how does an ACA enhance its credibility? Johnston (2002: 261) contends that: … if the public believes that all complaints will be carefully considered. Furthermore.358 1:5. and pursued as far as the evidence takes them.000 1.057 1:229. coherence. However.The Asia Pacific Journal of Public Administration Table 6 Staff-Population Ratios of the Seven ACAs in 2005 ACA CCAC ICAC CPIB NCCC Ombudsman CBI KICAC Sources: as in Table 5. Personnel 112 1. as “corruption investigations do become weapons in partisan conflicts and tactics of reprisal.400.000 47. for this discussion. and credibility. that investigatory and monitoring functions are sustained and broadly employed. An independent ACA can follow the evidence of corruption wherever it leads and resist pressures to conduct investigations and prosecutions of political targets.057.000 81. Agency Indicators: Independence and Credibility In his analysis of the strategy of relying on an ACA.000 4.711 205 Population 488.200.194 82 924 957 4. only the criteria of independence and credibility are considered.000 Staff-population ratio 1:4.200. The KICAC’s least favourable staff-population ratio of 1:233.000.800. “where corruption investigations are politicized.863 1:53.

and that the agency itself is incorruptible (no small challenge in its own right). an ACA has to conduct public education campaigns regularly. 6. 5. 3. will be considered by the ACA? What is the proportion of complaints investigated by the ACA? Public perceptions of the ACA ’ s professionalism: Does the public perceive the ACA to be impartial in its investigations and not abuse its powers? Does the public believe that the ACA will keep the corruption reports confidential? 2. Location: Where is the ACA located in the government? Appointment of director: Who appoints him/her and to whom must he/she report? Independence from police: As the ACAs in former British colonies originated from the police. is the ACA still part of the police or is it an independent agency? Investigation of political leaders and senior civil servants: Has the ACA investigated political leaders and senior civil servants if they are accused of corruption? Taking action against “big fish”: Has the ACA taken action against corrupt prominent individuals? How many “big fish” have been prosecuted and convicted? Weapon against opposition: Has the ACA been used by the government as a weapon against its political opponents? 4. 2.Benchmarking for Excellence: A Comparative Analysis of Seven Asian Anti-Corruption Agencies and priorities are guided by a vision of the overall good. Based on Johnston’s criteria of independence and credibility. a credible image of independence can be built up over time. Credibility is perhaps the most important criterion as an ACA’s reports and efforts will “become suspect or seen as futile” if it loses its credibility (Johnston 2002: 261). rather than by expediency or partisan gain. 185 . How does an ACA ensure its credibility among the citizens in the country? There are four main indicators of an ACA’s credibility: 1. To sustain its credibility. how can an ACA’s independence and credibility be evaluated? An ACA’s degree of independence can be assessed according to these indicators: 1. Consideration of all complaints: Does the public perceive that all complaints. no matter how small.

The ICAC ’ s annual surveys from 2003-2006 showed that nearly all of the respondents said that the ICAC deserved to be supported.9 percent) were pursuable. However.5 percent in 2004.The Asia Pacific Journal of Public Administration 3. surveys must be conducted of a country ’s population to obtain information on these aspects. Their high level of trust in the ICAC was manifested in the fact that an average of 72.844 reports (82.7 percent in 2004 to 25 percent in 2007. Like the CPIB.6 percent in 2002 to 68. CPIB and CCAC are provided in Tables 7. The relevant findings of surveys conducted in Hong Kong and Singapore are highlighted in Tables 10 and 11.942 cases during 2000-2007. and 19. that 13 percent of the respondents rated corruption control in Singapore as excellent.927 corruption reports during 2001-2006. 39 186 . The proportion of reports investigated by the CPIB varied from 47. Ninety-five percent of them indicated that their confidence would increase or remain the same in the next year. On average. Table 7 shows that the proportion of “pursuable reports” in the ICAC’s Operations Department increased from 78. Table 11 shows. 8 and 9. only 949 cases (19 percent) were commenced or investigated by the CCAC during that period. Table 9 shows that the CCAC received 5. however. 42 percent as very good.3 percent in 2001 to a peak of 91. Enforcement of the anti-corruption laws: Does the ACA enforce the anti-corruption laws impartially? Does the ACA focus on petty corruption and ignore grand corruption? Are the rich and powerful protected from investigation and prosecution for corruption offences? Public image of the ACA: How is the ACA viewed by the public? Is it seen as an incorruptible agency or as an agency riddled with corruption? How are complaints against ACA officers dealt with? 4.6 percent of the respondents would reveal their identity when reporting corruption to the ICAC. first. available data on the actual proportion of corruption complaints investigated by the ICAC. Unlike the ICAC. about three-quarters of the respondents in all of the four surveys viewed the ICAC as an impartial agency.9 percent in 1999. Finally.563 reports were received by the CPIB during 1998-2002. To illustrate the use of the first indicator of an ACA ’ s credibility. Nearly 68 percent of them believed that the ICAC ’ s anti-corruption work was effective. The ICAC received 23. the CPIB has received fewer reports of corruption. To assess the public perceptions of an ACA’ s professionalism and public image. The proportion of commenced cases varied from 9. Table 10 demonstrates the tremendous public support for the ICAC and their positive assessment of its professionalism. as Table 8 shows that 4. the CCAC has also received fewer reports than the ICAC. respectively. respectively. nearly 60 percent of the reports received by the CPIB from 1998-2002 were investigated.

Table 8 Proportion of Reports Investigated by CPIB.685 3. 61 percent of them trusted the CPIB to keep Singapore corruption free.310 3.563 percent as good.0% 81.735 Proportion of reports investigated 67.371 4.476 4.1% 82. and 56 percent of them agreed or strongly agreed that the CPIB was world-class in curbing corruption. when the respondents were asked whether the CPIB was impartial or fair in its investigations.255 3.0% 61. 2001-2006 Year Total corruption reports 4. Table 11 shows that 65 percent of them said that 187 .927 Pursuable reports 3. 71 percent of them agreed or strongly agreed that the CPIB had done well in solving corruption offences.844 Proportion of pursuable reports 78. and 24.746 3.5% 68.930 3.2% 47.5% 82.3% 74.9% 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 Total Source: CPIB (2003: 5. Similarly.Benchmarking for Excellence: A Comparative Analysis of Seven Asian Anti-Corruption Agencies Table 7 Proportion of Pursuable Reports by ICAC.6% 59.5 percent did not know or have an opinion.9 percent said that it was impartial or fair.128 991 812 780 4.2% 91.36). 2007). Second.022 2. Third.339 23.504 3.6 percent said that it was partial or unfair. 1998-2002 Year Reports received Reports investigated 575 777 515 497 371 2.426 3.5% 91.9% 52.9% 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 Total Sources: ICAC (2004. when the respondents were asked whether the CPIB had abused its investigation powers.707 19. 5. 852 1. Table 11 shows that 69. and only 7 percent as fair.

6% 67. 135 134 131 90 76 142 116 125 949 Table 10 Public Perceptions of Hong Kong’s ICAC. 2003-2006 Survey Item % indicating that the ICAC deserves to be supported % indicating that their confidence in ICAC would increase or remain same next year % believing that ICAC would keep corruption reports confidential % indicating that they would reveal their identity when reporting corruption to ICAC % believing that ICAC’s anti-corruption work is effective % believing that the ICAC is an impartial law enforcement body Source: Compiled from ICAC (2004-2007).0% 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 Total Source: CCAC (2001-2008).9% 75.1% 92. and 27. 2000-2007 Year Commenced cases Not-commenced cases 783 1.2 percent said that it had done so.1% 93.The Asia Pacific Journal of Public Administration Table 9 Commenced Cases by CCAC.9% 89.9% 97.3% 71.062 917 333 708 438 377 375 4.993 Proportion of commenced cases 14.5% 25.5% 70.9% 72.3% 73.8% 74.9% 2005 98.7% 11.3% 94% 88.3% it had not.3% 9.9% 72.8 percent had no opinion or did not know.6% 72.8% 67.5% 21.6% 2006 98.2% 12.5% 23.7% 24.5% 80.6% 70.0% 68.0% 88. 7.9% 67. and only 10 percent said that it would not do so.3% 89.7% 67.9% 96.0% 19.1% 95. 66 percent of the respondents believed that the CPIB would keep the corruption reports it received confidential.3% Average 99. 188 . Finally. 2003 99.4% 2004 99.

Do you think CPIB will keep corruption reports it receives confidential? Source: CPIB (2003: 5.71 in 1994 to 4. don’t know/no opinion = 24. no = 10% don’t know/no opinion = 24% 5. agree = 51%. The Operations Department’s staff also grew from 744 to 966 during the same period. poor = 0 Strongly agree = 20%.068 civil servants were disciplined during 2001-2006. CPIB has done well in solving corruption offences 3. only the performance indicators of the CPIB and ICAC are available and shown in Tables 12. input-output ratio.8% Yes = 66%. How would you rate corruption control in Singapore? 2.16 in 2002. not sure = 32%. fair = 7%. While the Operations Department’s productivity ratio increased from 2. 13 and 14 as illustrations. no = 5. disagree = 7%. not sure = 28%.9%.751 persons were prosecuted for corruption and 1. yes = 7.05 in 1987 to 5. don’t know/no opinion = 27. not sure = 36%. strongly disagree = 1% Strongly agree = 17%. good = 39%.522 in 1987 to 4. and unit costs. Table 12 identifies and defines the CPIB’s performance indicators and data from 1997 to 2002.39 in 1999.97) Performance Indicators for ACAs Meagher (2005: 80-81) suggests three types of performance indicators for ACAs: output indicators based on their workload. it declined from 4.Benchmarking for Excellence: A Comparative Analysis of Seven Asian Anti-Corruption Agencies Table 11 Public Perceptions of CPIB’s Performance in 2002 Survey item 1. and increased again to 5. CPIB is world-class in fighting corruption Survey findings Excellent = 13%. Do you think CPIB is impartial/fair in its investigations? 6. agree = 39%. and efficiency and productivity indicators such as cost-effectiveness. agree = 37%. Finally. Table 13 shows that the number of cases investigated by the ICAC’s Operations Department increased from 1.09 in 2000. However.40 & 14. outcome indicators to measure their effectiveness in attaining goals. 189 . strongly disagree = 0 Strongly agree = 24%. disagree = 2%.989 in 2002. strongly disagree = 1% Yes = 69.6%. D o y o u t h i n k C P I B h a s a b u s e d i t s investigation powers? 7. very good = 42%. The ICAC’s average conviction rate during this period was 83 percent.5% No = 65%.2%. CPIB can be trusted to keep Singapore corruption-free 4. Table 14 shows that 2. disagree = 6%.

086 3.895 2.49 3.71 4. Table 13 ICAC Operations Department’s Productivity Ratio.99 4.065 2.24. Number of persons charged and disciplined Definition Time taken to complete an investigation Percentage of cases completed in a year Percentage of case resulting in prosecution Percentage of cases convicted in court Target is to attend to 80% of its visitors within five minutes Number of persons charged and number of public officers disciplined Performance data Exceeded target by an average of 31% from 1999-2002 Exceeded target of completing 90% cases from 1999-2002 Increased from 47% to 60% from 2000-2002 Increased from 97% to 99% from 2000-2002 Exceeded target by 1% to 6% from 1997-2000 680 persons were charged and 293 public officers were disciplined from 2000-2002 Source: CPIB (2003: 3.09 5.56 4.36.68 3.30 3. 3.30 2.710 3.748 4.522 1. Completion rate 3.25.502 3.39 5.96).139 4.307 3.The Asia Pacific Journal of Public Administration Table 12 CPIB’s Performance Indicators and Data. 14.25 5.06 3. Prosecution rate 4. 5. Cycle time 2.774 4.954 4. Conviction rate 5.989 Productivity ratio (b/a) 2. 1987-2002 Year 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 Source: ICAC (2003: 104).61 3.699 1.430 2.836 3.257 3.05 2. Attendance to visitors 6. Number of staff (a) 744 739 736 791 794 758 773 814 827 885 929 925 943 932 943 966 190 Number of cases investigated (b) 1.57 2.16 . 1997-2002 Performance indicator 1.08 4.

Benchmarking for Excellence: An Agenda for Action The previous section has suggested that the performance of Asian ACAs should be benchmarked according to 22 indicators. Furthermore. and learning from the experiences of more effective ACAs by eliminating their weaknesses and reinforcing their strengths.Benchmarking for Excellence: A Comparative Analysis of Seven Asian Anti-Corruption Agencies Table 14 Number of Persons Prosecuted for Corruption.751 Conviction rate Civil servants disciplined 188 165 234 161 170 150 1. In their overview report on Pacific Island countries. identifying their strengths and weaknesses. as “senior appointments in these countries are often made to reward political support. they recommended caution as the existing auditor-general offices and other watchdog agencies are under-staffed and ineffective. These 22 indicators are not exhaustive as not all of the performance indicators employed by other Asian ACAs are included. It gives these ACAs and their governments the necessary data for making improvements if they are dissatisfied with the effectiveness of their anti-corruption strategies. ICAC’s Conviction Rate.068 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 Total 79% 83% 85% 84% 81% 88% 83% Sources: Compiled from ICAC (2004-2007). Another advantage of benchmarking the ACAs’ performance is that governments which are considering the creation of an ACA will find the benchmarking data on the existing Asian ACAs useful in identifying their strengths to emulate and their weaknesses to avoid. more resources must be allocated by their governments 191 . which are listed in Table 15. the position of anti-corruption commissioner may end up being just such a resource” (Larmour & Barcham 2004: 22). In view of their low state capacity. Larmour and Barcham (2004: 33-34) found that the 12 countries considered did not have any ACA. and Number of Civil Servants Disciplined. Benchmarking provides the Asian ACAs with an objective method for evaluating their performance by comparing their performance with the performance of more effective ACAs. In discussing the utility of introducing an ACA in these countries. 2001-2006 Year Number of persons prosecuted 535 604 421 494 356 341 2.

Conviction rate f. Frying “big fish” f. Agency Indicators (19) 4. their governments must demonstrate their political will by providing these agencies with the necessary legislation. Consideration of all complaints b. 2. World Bank’s control of corruption percentile rank for the same year. Public image of ACA 8. Number of persons charged and disciplined if they wish to establish ACAs. ACA’s staff-population ratio 6. PERC’s corruption score for the same year. In view of these advantages of benchmarking. Investigation of grand corruption e. Attendance to visitors g. Enforcement of anti-corruption laws d. comparing their performance with the performance of other ACAs. Appointment of director c. Public perceptions of ACA’s professionalism c. otherwise such ACAs would have to compete with other existing agencies for the limited resources available. ACA’s independence a. ACA’s performance indicators a.The Asia Pacific Journal of Public Administration Table 15 Indicators for Benchmarking the Performance of Asian ACAs National Indicators (3) 1. and making improvements to rectify those 192 . ACA’s credibility a. Prosecution rate e. If they decide to introduce ACAs. Productivity ratio d. personnel and financial resources. Benchmarking the performance of Asian ACAs enables Pacific Island states and other countries to learn from the experiences of both the effective and the ineffective Asian ACAs to make the right decision in deciding whether or not to establish ACAs. Completion rate c. ACA’s per capita expenditure 5. the recommendation here is that Asian ACAs should initiate the benchmarking of their performance by adopting a definite agenda for action. as well as the autonomy for them to perform their functions impartially and without political interference. Location b. 3. Transparency International’s CPI score for a selected year. Weapon against opposition 7. Independence from police d. including collecting data on the 22 performance indicators. Cycle time b.

Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) 2006. Macao. Benchmarking an ACA’s performance also enables interested stakeholders to assess the government’s political will to curb corruption in the country. Heilbrunn.acrc. Pocket World in Figures 2008 Edition. References Anti-Corruption Civil Rights Commission (ACRC) website at http://www. by not interfering in its daily operations. ----- 2003. In short. Conversely. jsp. and.gov. Commission Against Corruption (CCAC) 2001-2008. John R 2006. 193 .” However.cbi. Annual Reports of the CCAC 2000-2007. Economist 2007. London: Profile Books. Swift and Sure Action: Four Decades of Anti-Corruption Work.in/annualreport/cbi_ annual_report_2007. a corrupt government can make a mockery of its anti-corruption strategy by using the ACA to victimize its political foes. Harrington.pdf.kr/ eng_index. The Role of Parliament in Curbing Corruption. New Delhi. Annual Report 2007. In the hands of a clean government. an ACA is a double-edged sword and can be used by a government for good or for evil. See http://www. ----- 2008. James H & Harrington. most importantly. bureaucrats and businessmen. Singapore. New York: McGraw-Hill. Niall Johnston & Ricardo Pelizzo (eds). if a government has established an ACA to spearhead its anti-corruption strategy. The vast disparity in policy contexts and the varying degrees of political will in fighting corruption in Asian countries require their policymakers to heed Johnston’s (1999: 225) sound advice that ACAs are “unlikely to be right for every country. by resisting the temptation to use the ACA as a political weapon against its opponents. Annual Report 2005. High Performance Benchmarking: 20 Steps to Success. New Delhi. Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau. James S 1996.go. Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) 1990. Benchmarking enables the Asian ACAs to strive for excellence by providing them with a tool for measuring their performance against the best ACAs to improve their own performance by initiating reforms to rectify those weaknesses exposed by the comparison with best practices elsewhere. it can enhance the ACA’s prospects for success by providing it with adequate staff and budget.Benchmarking for Excellence: A Comparative Analysis of Seven Asian Anti-Corruption Agencies weaknesses exposed by comparison with the more effective ACAs.” in Rick Stapenhurst. the ACA is an asset and a powerful weapon against corrupt politicians. Singapore. “Anti-Corruption Commissions.

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