• Service: Advisory
  • Type: KPMG information
  • Date: 1/23/2014

GTF Learning Paper: The Battle Against Corruption 

There is no silver bullet for fighting corruption. Instead, evidence suggests that a full magazine may be required. When the assault is led by a vanguard within civil society, using freedom of information weapons and reinforcements are provided by an independent media fanning the flames of public opinion, corruption can be beaten.i This article highlights some of the weapons and tactics used to battle corruption by drawing on evidence from the DFID Governance and Transparency Fund.
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The DFID Governance and Transparency Fund (GTF) helps citizens make their voices heard and hold their governments to account. It has supported more than 800 civil society organisations in over 100 countries to improve access to water, education, health, justice and other basic services. These organisations have demonstrated that making information more available and broadening participation in decisions about how public resources are administered reduces corruption and improves the lives of the poor.


The Body Count


Corruption, like war, kills people. It reduces opportunities for the poorest people in society and inhibits economic growth. The deaths of more than 140,000 children under the age of 5 can be attributed to corruption every year.ii Citing rampant corruption in the construction sector as a primary cause, a recent study has found that over 80% all deaths from earthquakes in the last 30 years have occurred in countries where corruption is widespread.iii The annual global cost of corruption has been estimated to be more than US $1 trillion.iv While there is some debate about how this amount has been calculated, there is no doubt that corruption comes with huge political, economic, social and environmental costs. 


Researchers define corruption as an incident where a government official breaks a rule for private A distinction between ‘grand’ and ‘petty’ corruption is often made because it makes a difference in the choice of countervailing strategies. Petty corruption is in your face. It happens every day in far too many countries. It is encountered in the bribes paid to officials in local schools, hospitals, police, tax inspectors and a host of other front‐line public services.