Preventing and fighting corruption in Tunisia
Title: Supporting the transformation process in Tunisia: preventing and fighting corruption
Commissioned by: German Federal Foreign Office
Lead executing agency: Instance Nationale de Lutte Contre la Corruption (INLUCC); National Anti-Corruption Authority
Overall term: 2017 to 2020
Widespread corruption under Ben Ali was one of the prime factors that fuelled unrest among the people of Tunisia and ultimately triggered the Jasmine Revolution in 2011. Due account was taken of this in Article 14 of the Tunisian constitution of 2014, in which the fight against corruption is enshrined as a national objective. In reality, however, corruption remains endemic in Tunisia. The regional comparison issued by Transparency International (TI) in its Corruption Perceptions Index still only accords the country a medium ranking. What’s more, 64 per cent of the Tunisians covered by TI’s survey for the 2016 Global Corruption Barometer believed that corruption had even increased compared to the previous year.
In November 2011, the transitional government in Tunisia set up an anti-corruption agency, the Instance Nationale de Lutte Contre la Corruption (INLUCC). While this agency is highly active, it has only limited financial and personnel resources at its disposal and is not fully independent of the government. When the new constitution was adopted in 2014, policy-makers agreed to create an independent anti-corruption authority, the Instance de la Bonne Gouvernance et de la Lutte Contre la Corruption (IBGLCC), which is to replace INLUCC. The Tunisian parliament has now prepared the legal basis required to establish this authority. Further anti-corruption legislation has been passed as well, including a law protecting whistle-blowers. Under Prime Minister Chahed, the Government has launched concrete measures in this field, for instance ordering the arrest of numerous public officials charged with corruption.
Despite such advances in the fight against corruption in Tunisia, much remains to be done at policy level. Critics fear that the new agency will lack the capacities and authority needed to tackle corruption vigorously and effectively. Moreover, parliament has not yet ratified the national anti-corruption strategy adopted by the Tunisian Government. The judiciary also still suffers from poor financial and personnel resources, which in turn limits its abilities to fight corruption efficiently.
The Tunisian people have a heightened level of awareness with regard to corrupt practices. Staff of public authorities at national, regional and local levels perform their tasks related to preventing and fighting corruption more intensively.
The project team is supporting the existing and future anti-corruption agencies in carrying out their tasks in accordance with their mandates, working in close cooperation with their investigators. It also provides professional training courses for journalists in the area of investigative journalism. In addition, the project team is helping to raise awareness of corruption in general and of corrupt practices in one’s immediate environment among the staff of regional and local administrations, elected representatives of regional and local authorities, civil society organisations and citizens at local level. By enhancing the awareness of corruption, the aim is to help reduce the number and scale of corruption cases in Tunisia in the long term. The project is also providing technical and organisational support for the establishment of the new anti-corruption agency. As part of the German-Tunisian Transformation Partnership, the project contributes to stabilising Tunisia’s democratic development by implementing the above measures.