In this series, Phil Mason covers the origins of anti-corruption in DFID as an illustrative example of how development agencies came to encounter the issue in the late 1990s. He lays out how he and DFID saw the development implications of corruption, how the world was so ill-equipped to deal with it, and how the global response has developed to what it is today.
Mason explores the origins of DFID’s involvement in some of the ‘niche’ areas that often stump development practitioners as they lie outside their usual comfort zones of development assistance: money laundering, financial intelligence, law enforcement, mutual legal assistance, illicit financial flows, and asset recovery and return. He summarises lessons learned over the past two decades, highlights some of the innovations that have proved especially valuable, and point up some of the challenges that remain for his successors.
- Old issue, new concern – anti-corruption takes off
- Fighting the ‘seven deadly thins’ – starting the DFID journey
- The international journey – from ambition to ambivalence
- Evidence on anti-corruption – the struggle to understand what works
- Money laundering and illicit financial flows – the ‘getaway car’ of corruption
- The end game: asset recovery and return – an unfinished agenda
- The UK Overseas Territories and global illicit finance: the peculiar British problem
- Working with other parts of government … when they don’t want to work with you
- The UK’s changing anti-corruption landscape – new energy, new horizons
- Keeping the vision alive: new methods, new ambitions (final note)
About the author
Phil Mason OBE was senior anti-corruption adviser in DFID from 2000 until March 2019. He formally retired from the UK public service after 35 years, 31 of which were with ODA/DFID. He continues in the anticorruption field in an independent capacity. To reach him, write to: philsmason (at) virginmedia.com