Fighting Corruption

Intensive Anti-Corruption Training Programs for Prosecutors, Investigators, and Judges

The CEELI Institute’s highly acclaimed training program on “Investigating and Prosecuting Official Corruption” continues to be in high demand.  The Program is running since 2013, and the Institute again conducted spring and fall sessions of the week-long course. The program brings together an extraordinary faculty line-up consisting of some of the world’s most experienced anti-corruption prosecutors, forensic accountants, and practitioners.

The CEELI Institute anti-corruption programs are designed as highly interactive trainings, which walk participants through the actual investigation of a case involving official corruption in the public procurement process. Participants work in small groups to develop their own investigation strategy, learning to use time-tested investigative tools along the way, and ultimately making a recommendation to the larger conference on whether this was a case they would pursue to prosecution or not. The course is designed to develop and improve practical skills as the participants pursue the investigation, augmented by expert guidance and instruction.

The CEELI Institute puts great emphasis on designing and conducting programs that use case-based, interactive curricula. Using practical case scenarios as a learning tool demands that participants take an active role in the workshop. With each session, participants are presented with additional facts and legal obstacles to confront and overcome as the fact pattern becomes more complicated. Participants start with a few red flags, indicating a possible case involving corrupt activities. They work in small groups to pursue their investigation. The case studies are designed to expose participants to all aspects of an investigation – initial allegations or suspicions, preliminary inquiries, development of an investigation plan, collection and analysis of documentary materials, forensic accounting analysis, interviews of witnesses and targets, and preparation for trial or other disposition. The use of a case scenario as a teaching tool allows the participants to form close bonds as the training progresses, challenging their intellect and expanding their skills and knowledge base as they are exposed to new approaches in the investigation and prosecution of complex high level corruption cases. The case scenario is supported by relevant faculty presentations on key topics. Our highly experienced faculty provide mentoring to the small groups, as well as one-on-one mentoring throughout the program.

The programs draw together investigators and prosecutors from most of the countries in the CEE region, and beyond, including Kenya, Ghana and Singapore. Participants were funded by a number of donors interested in promoting anti-corruption efforts,especially as official corruption has emerged as one of the most prevalent and pernicious threats to the rule of law around the world.

Supporting Anti-Corruption Activism

Official corruption undermines public trust in democracy and the rule of law, strengthens oligarchies and autocracies, bolsters populist responses,harms state institutions, and weakens legal and judicial systems. In response, the Institute supports civil society organizations, journalists and lawyers striving for greater public accountability and transparency in Central and Eastern Europe. CEELI efforts tackle the problem from two angles.  First, we work to train journalists, civic advocates, lawyers and civil society organizations on methods of conducting research about governmental activities, on finding and collecting publicly available data, and on using that data in the design of advocacy efforts to highlight and expose official corruption.  We support activists in their development of anti-corruption campaigns to promoting public accountability, including public interest litigation. Second, because successful efforts by activists often draw retaliation from powerful, public officials or from the oligarchs, we will also work to equip lawyers to effectively represent bloggers, activists and investigative journalists who are exposing corruption and who are attacked as a result of their efforts. CEELI’s efforts engage civil society participants from the Visegrad, Baltic and Balkan regions, as well as the Eastern Partnership countries.

CEELI Launches New Anticorruption Compliance Training

The CEELI Institute launched a new curriculum designed to train practitioners on effective corporate compliance with international anti-corruption standards, including the operation of the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), the UK Anti-Bribery Law and the UN Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC).  The program is targeted at individuals who have responsibilities for advising their clients or employers on internal corporate compliance, including compliance officers and in-house lawyers.  CEELI recognized a growing demand for such training, particularly for practitioners in Central and Eastern Europe and Eurasia. In-house advisors are increasingly required to have detailed knowledge of industry practices, relevant anticorruption statutes, and the broader international context in which multi-national corporations must now function. Avoiding corporate liability for corrupt practices is now critical to business operation, yet many lawyers in the regionhave had limited experience with international anti-corruption laws and with corporate compliance mechanisms.

The program examines various situations which present corruption risks, and explained how a good compliance program is a risk-reduction tool that can help manage corruption risks and reduce the likelihood of improper conduct and violations of law.  Based on the enthusiastic participant response, we look forward to making this program a regular component of our anti-corruption program offerings.

Promoting Corruption Reforms in the Balkans

The CEELI Institute was delighted to partner with the International Foundation Electoral Systems (IFES) in 2019 on a new project to strengthen the implementation of anti-corruption standards in Europe, with particular focus on Bulgaria, Romania and Montenegro.  The project will focus first on the identification ofpriority substantive anti-corruption reform recommendations, and then on steps to assist local stakeholders in pursuing actual implementation of those reforms; for example, the project will assist in addressing as of yet unmet recommendations arising out of the evaluation processes undertaken by the Council of Europe’s Group of States against Corruption (GRECO). CEELI has helped to assemble an impressive consortium for this project, and will work with domestic stakeholders and influencers in the three countries to identify, prioritize, and create action plans to tackle relevant anti-corruption reform recommendations. This latest project continues long-standing collaborative work between CEELI and IFES, which has included organization of a number of joint roundtables at the Institute in Prague, as well as the hosting of IFES regional events.

Past programs:

Supporting the Tunisian Anti-Corruption Agency

In 2014-2016, the CEELI Institute continued its multi-year program to provide support and training to the Tunisian Anti-Corruption Agency, Instance Nationale de Lutte Contre Corruption(INLUCC). The INLUCC is charged with leading Tunisia’s anti-corruption efforts as an agency with direct responsibility for pursing the investigation and prosecution of corruption cases. The CEELI Institute’s efforts are designed to support INLUCC staff and a broad cross section of other Tunisian government agencies and non-government actors with responsibilities for combating corruption in the public and commercial sectors partners as they take on these roles. With funding from the Swedish International Development Agency and in partnership with the International Legal Assistance Consortium, the CEELI Institute’s program is specifically designed to assist Tunisian stakeholders in their efforts to identify and investigate corruption, and to build cases for prosecution.

This year’s programs again brought together representatives from a wide range of Tunisian stakeholder agencies and other bodies with anti-corruption and compliance responsibilities, including the INLUCC, the Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Information and Communication Technologies, Ministry of Industry and Commerce, the High Commission for Administrative and Financial Control, various banks, the Association of Internal Auditors, academics, and journalists. The CEELI Institute was able to work closely with INLUCC to continue to develop highly specialized sessions based on the agency’s stated priorities. Institute programs in 2016 included training focused on corruption and fraud in the financial and banking sector, fraud in securing government permits and licenses, and fraud in tax administration. The Institute also partnered with the International Association of Women Judges to provide specialized training on “sextortion“ crimes, i.e. abuse of power by government officials (often police) seeking sexual favors in exchange for safety, security, or access to government resources or services.

Through the course of these programs, Tunisian participants were familiarized with strategies employed for the investigation and prosecution of corruption, with emphasis on how to identify, acquire, and preserve relevant information for investigation. Special emphasis was given to the use of forensic accounting tools and on new trends in computer forensics. The Institute also included a Tunisian delegation of participants selected by INLUCC at our course on “Investigating and Prosecuting Official Corruption,” held in Prague.