International Anti-Corruption Day Observed by the Justice Department
The U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Overseas Prosecutorial Development Assistance and Training (OPDAT) and International Criminal Investigative Training Assistance Program (ICITAP) helps foreign governments combat corruption. OPDAT provides expert assistance and case-based mentoring to foreign counterparts to help develop justice systems that can effectively combat corruption in furtherance of U.S. national security. ICITAP helps foreign governments combat corruption by building capacity of law enforcement institutions and other government entities to investigate misconduct and corruption and to implement internal controls that encourage professional conduct among government employees.
OPDAT’s Senior Counsel on Global Anticorruption provides specialized technical advice, training, and consultation to foreign prosecutors, judges, and investigators around the world. OPDAT’s anticorruption program assists counterparts from other jurisdictions in analyzing, investigating, and prosecuting corruption pursuant to international standards, including the UN Convention Against Corruption. OPDAT’s anticorruption program aids U.S. law enforcement efforts by strengthening international cooperation and promoting evidence sharing around the globe. Most recently, during the weeks of October 21 and 28, at the International Law Enforcement Academies in Botswana and Ghana, respectively, OPDAT led two anticorruption programs for prosecutors and judges.
In its bilateral programs, OPDAT’s Resident Legal Advisors, Intermittent Legal Advisors, and International Computer Hacking and Intellectual Property Advisors have also provided expert anticorruption assistance and case-based mentoring to foreign counterparts. Notable recent successes include:
- In Indonesia, the OPDAT Indonesia-mentored Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) arrested the mayor of Indonesia’s third largest city, Medan, for allegedly receiving bribes of approximately $25,000. Medan’s public works chief, a protocol official, the mayor’s personal aide, and three businessmen were also arrested. According to the KPK, the mayor had used the funds to cover his family member’s travel expenses.
- In Colombia, an OPDAT-mentored prosecutor helped secure the conviction of the former mayor of Bogotá on 34 fraud and corruption counts related to a public contracting scheme worth $63 million.
- In El Salvador, a judge found that OPDAT-mentored prosecutors had submitted sufficient evidence for the former minister of health and 15 other defendants to be re-tried for defrauding the government of $2.7 million.
- In Paraguay, an OPDAT-mentored organized crime prosecutor oversaw the takedown of a police protection and corruption scheme, filing charges against 21 police officers who were taken into custody for having collaborated with Brazilian transnational criminal organizations, including the Primer Comando Capital and the Comando Vermelho.
- In Serbia, OPDAT supported legislative reforms and institutional capacity building that helped the Ministry of Justice establish four specialized anti-corruption prosecutorial, police, and judicial departments. Since their creation, OPDAT has trained and mentored prosecutors, investigators, and judges assigned to the new departments. The Republic Public Prosecutor’s Office, in close cooperation with Serbia’s Ministry of Interior and regulatory bodies, has secured hundreds of convictions successfully using a task-force model and proactive approach, as trained by OPDAT. In Nis, Serbia, the OPDAT-mentored anti-corruption prosecutorial department has recently garnered positive media attention for achieving significant convictions and having hundreds of ongoing investigations.
Building effective anticorruption investigative capacity depends on institutions having sound management practices and human resource systems. ICITAP helps host-country law enforcement institutions improve their ability to direct and train employees to follow new laws and procedures, to recruit and retain qualified personnel, and to manage them effectively through leadership, discipline, and merit-based incentives. ICITAP also promotes public education campaigns and transparency and assists in setting up units and training personnel to handle citizen complaints in a professional manner. In addition, ICITAP provides training in a range of investigative methods and skills, which are necessary to build a successful anticorruption case.
ICITAP’s team of forensic specialists design and guide critical assistance to foreign laboratories that supports counterparts’ efforts around the world to combat corruption, terrorism, and transnational criminal organizations. Funded primarily through agreements with the U.S. Department of State, ICITAP’s work supports the efforts of the international community and host-country partners to implement and comply with the United Nations Convention Against Corruption.