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Corruption cases within multilateral organisations

Four suspected cases

Most multilateral organisations have anti-corruption measures in place but reports of corruption persist. Specific cases are often undisclosed, with investigative journalism as the primary information source. This Answer provides a review of four cases where various forms of corruption affected operations in these organisations, including collusion, bribery, and sextortion. Corruption triggers can include ignoring early warnings, risks of working with third parties, and oversight challenges. Corruption in these organisations can have dire impacts, not only due to the substantial sums it involves, but because it undermines the organisations’ intended outcomes, disproportionately affecting marginalised populations. Responses from donors and the organisations themselves vary based on the magnitude of the case and media coverage.

5 November 2023
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Corruption cases within multilateral organisations

Main points

  • Most multilateral organisations have established integrity frameworks, anti-corruption policies, and oversight measures. Nonetheless, reports of corruption or misconduct at these organisations continue to emerge.
  • Multilateral organisations are generally cautious about disclosing details about specific cases of corruption, and often what information is available in the public domain comes from the work of investigative journalists.
  • A review of four suspected cases involving multilateral organisations reveals that a range of forms of corruption can affect their operations, including collusion, bribery and sextortion.
  • Triggers and underlying factors can include failure to heed early warnings, risks of working with third parties and challenges in maintaining oversight.
  • Corruption involving multilateral organisations can have severe impacts. Not only due to the high sums involved, but also because corruption undermines the intended outcomes of multilateral organisations’ interventions, and these failures can disproportionately impact poor and marginalised populations.
  • Responses from donors and multilateral organisations themselves appear to vary depending on the magnitude of the case and the media coverage it receives.

Cite this publication

Bergin, J. (2023) Bergen: U4 Anti-Corruption Resource Centre, Chr. Michelsen Institute (U4 Helpdesk Answer 2023:25)

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