Combatting public procurement criminality or simple rules for complex cases

Date07 January 2019
Publication Date07 January 2019
AuthorBijan Nowrousian
SubjectAccounting & Finance,Financial risk/company failure,Financial crime
Combatting public procurement
criminality or simple rules for
complex cases
Bijan Nowrousian
Fachhochschule für öffentliche Verwaltung Nordrhein-Westfalen,
Studienort Münster, Germany
Purpose Crimes that takeplace in the context of procurements, such as corruptionand subsidy fraud, are
a major problem for both integrity and scal accountabilityof public administration. Therefore, combatting
such crimes is of great importance. However, this course of action works only if the prosecutors have the
instruments designed for what is precisely needed for their ght. One of the things needed is elements of
crimes thatcan be handled easily; and to show this is the purposeof this study.
Design/methodology/approach The authors practical experienceas a state prosecutor dealing with
corruption casesand enriched with philosophical thinking about the principlesof law indicates that one thing
is especiallyimportant with regard to the elements of crimes: simplicity.
Findings Corruption and nancialcrime cases are quite often very complex, involving many participants
and considerableeffort by the perpetrators to disguise their real actionsas normal business procedures. As a
result, nding evidence is a difcult task.If the elements of crimes are complex and if they demand detailed
evidence, then proving procurement criminality will be even more difcult as it already is and will quite
frequently end upin failure. Therefore, giving prosecutors a simplelegal framework with elements of crimes,
demandingonly what realistically can be proven is a keyfactor for success.
Originality/value Only with such a simple legal framework can the prosecutorsght against
procurementcriminality bring urgent, positive results.
Keywords Corruption, Procurement, Bribe, Restricting competition, Subsidy fraud
Paper type Case study
Fighting public procurement criminality, i.e. all kinds of crime connected to public
procurement, especially corruption, subsidy fraud and restricting competition through
agreements in the context of publicbids, is as important as it is difcult. Not much has to be
said concerning the importance of ghting these crimes; public procurement criminality
costs taxpayersmoney and diminishes the correctness and the acceptance of the decisions
of public authorities. Of greater importance is why ghting them is such a difcult task.
This question shall be the guideline of the speech.
Before starting, the outline topic shall be put in the broader context of anti-corruption
strategies and research.Since the 1990s, numerous international anti-corruptionagreements
have been made[1], accompanied bya strong growth of research on corruption[2]. However,
international agreements mainlyfocussed on prevention[3], and scientic research focussed
on reasons of corruption[4]. Both approaches are of course crucial. A society ridden by
corruption cannot be freed of this evil by policemen, prosecutors or judges. As long as
corruption is normal, there is no way out. Without forceful prosecution of corruption,
however, no anti-corruption strategy focussing on prevention will be successful as the risk
for the perpetrators is simply nothigh enough, for example, taking bribes may be regarded
as wrong but does not cause serious consequences when it is happening. Thus, criminal
Journalof Financial Crime
Vol.26 No. 1, 2019
pp. 203-210
© Emerald Publishing Limited
DOI 10.1108/JFC-11-2017-0114
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