Legal Approaches to Supporting Good Governance and Integrity in Africa
Chapter 6: Investigating and prosecuting corruption-related offences: challenges and realities
The second pillar of the anti-corruption conventions is that of facilitating the investigation and criminalization of corruption and related offences. The AU Convention is largely devoted to these areas as are 45 of the 54 substantive articles in UNCAC. This emphasis perhaps reflects the popular view that the most effective way of combating corruption is through 'forceful persuasion' that is the use of the criminal law and the imposition of 'effective, proportionate and dissuasive' sanctions. Yet, in practice the number of successful prosecutions of either individuals or corporations for corruption offences in African states is reportedly very low. This 'failure to punish corruption' can inevitably cause frustration and disillusionment on the part of the public and the international community alike and casts doubt upon a state's commitment to supporting integrity and good governance. Crucially it also calls into question the merit of using the criminal law as a main pillar for combating corruption. This chapter focuses on four areas. Section I considers the challenges to investigating corruption-related offences and evidence gathering while Section II explores issues surrounding the prosecution of such offences. Section III examines the scope of the corruption-related offences themselves and the appropriate sanctions and then at the need to develop more effective rules for the admissibility of evidence at corruption trials. Finally, Section IV explores the somewhat controversial area of doing 'deals' with offenders.
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