Combatting Corruption in Developing Countries

Combatting Corruption in Developing Countries

4 September 2015

Justine Greening, the International Development Secretary, announced additional British efforts to combat corruption in developing countries through an International Corruption Unit (“ICU”). The ICU will draw together existing resources and investigative powers from the National Crime Agency (“NCA”), the Metropolitan Police and City of London Police to provide a multi-faceted approach.

The new crime unit, run centrally by the NCA as part of the Economic Crime Command with additional resources from other British law enforcement, will investigate bribery of foreign officials by individuals or corporations in the U.K. and money laundering by corrupt foreign officials. The ICU will replace the Metropolitan Police Service’s Proceeds of Corruption Unit and the City of London Police’s Overseas Anti-Corruption Unit and will also be responsible for tracing and recovering the proceeds of corruption and support foreign law enforcement investigations.

While the creation of the ICU looks in part to be a centralization and rebranding effort, it is also part of the U.K.’s Anti-Corruption Plan, which created nine action points aimed at “Leading the fight against international corruption”. 

In 2013 the Department for International Development prepared anti-corruption strategies for 28 priority countries (see the full list) and since 2006, with the help of various Police units, has prosecuted nearly 30 individuals and companies and recovered over £200 million of stolen assets. 

The creation of the ICU is clearly intended to build on these successes with increased coordination and combined resources.