Anti-Corruption

anti corruptionThis webpage is part of collaborative efforts to ensure the public has information on what Fraud/corruption looks like and have accessible avenues to the complaints process where they believe breaches have occured. 

Agency information is available including contact information for complaints to individual agencies.

The Cook Islands have ratified the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (“UNCAC”) which acknowledges that “corruption hurts the poor disproportionately undermines a Governments ability to provide basic services, feeding inequality and injustice and discouraging foreign aid and investment.  Corruption is a key element in economic underperformance and a major obstacle to poverty alleviation and development” (UNCAC, 2004, p.iii).  The Cook Islands Government is committed to the provisions of the ADB/OECD Asia Pacific Anti-corruption Action Plan Initiative in 2003 (“APACAP”).  Local anti-corruption legislation, which includes but is not limited to the bribery provisions of the Crimes Act, the Proceeds of Crime Act, the Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters Act, the MFEM Act and the PERCA Act.  The Government confirms the importance of collective leadership, teamwork and partnerships within and outside government to effectively combat corruption, and the need to involve the community and private sector.  However the Government acknowledges the limited resources and therefore the effectiveness of a cooperative approach in the fight against corruption as opposed to individual efforts.  The Government reinforces their commitment to promote and strengthen anti-corruption measures and practices (Cabinet Minute CM (11) 0369).

What is Fraud/Corruption?

The definition of fraud varies among countries, however in simple terms, fraud is any act or omission that intentionally misleads, or attempts to mislead, a party to obtain a financial or other benefit or to avoid an obligation.  For the purposes of this communication, fraud includes: 

  • Corrupt practice, which is the offering, giving, receiving, or soliciting, directly or indirectly, anything of value to influence improperly the actions of another party;
  • Fraudulent practice, which is any act or omission, including a misrepresentation, that knowingly or recklessly misleads, or attempts to mislead, a party to obtain a financial or other benefit or to avoid an obligation;
  • Coercive practice, which is impairing or harming, or threatening to impair or harm, directly or indirectly, any party or the property of the party to  influence improperly the actions of a party;
  • Collusive practice, which is an arrangement between two or more parties designed to achieve an improper purpose, including influencing improperly the actions of another party;
  • Abuse, which is theft, waste or improper use of assets related to government activity, either committed intentionally or through reckless disregard;
  • Conflict of interest, any situation in which a party has interests that could improperly influence that party’s performance of official duties and responsibilities, contractual obligations, or compliance with applicable laws and regulations;
  • Obstructive practices, which includes (a)deliberately destroying, falsifying, altering, or concealing of evidence material to an investigation; (b) making false statements in order to materially impede an investigation;  (c) threatening, harassing, or intimidating any party to prevent it from disclosing its knowledge of matters relevant to the investigation or from pursuing the  investigation; or (d) materially   impeding  contractual rights of audit or access to information
  • Retaliation against whistleblowers or witnesses, which is any detrimental act, direct or indirect, recommended, threatened or taken against a whistleblower or witness, in a manner material to a complaint because of the report or cooperation with an investigation by the whistle blower or witness.

MFEM Antifraud and Anticorruption Policy

MFEM Antifraud and Anticorruption Policy

The Cook Islands have ratified the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (“UNCAC”) which acknowledges that “corruption hurts the poor disproportionately undermines a Governments ability to provide basic services, feeding inequality and injustice and discouraging foreign aid and investment.  Corruption is a key element in economic underperformance and a major obstacle to poverty alleviation and development” (UNCAC, 2004, p.iii). 

The Cook Islands Government is committed to the provisions of the ADB/OECD Asia Pacific Anti-corruption Action Plan Initiative in 2003 (“APACAP”).  Local anti-corruption legislation, which includes but is not limited to the bribery provisions of the Crimes Act, the Proceeds of Crime Act, Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters Act, the Ministry of Finance and Economic Management (MFEM) Act and the Public Expenditure Review Committee and Audit (PERCA) Act. 

The Government confirms the importance of collective leadership, teamwork and partnerships within and outside government to effectively combat corruption and fraud, and the need to involve the community and private sector.  However the Government acknowledges the limited resources and therefore the effectiveness of a cooperative approach in the fight against corruption as opposed to individual efforts.  The Government reinforces their commitment to promote and strengthen anti-corruption measures and practices (Cabinet Minute CM (11) 0369).

The MFEM considers any kind of fraud and corruption as very detrimental to the realisation of its vision and will therefore MFEM will not tolerate fraud and corruption in its activities and operations.

Therefore, the MFEM will focus on the following key policy objectives:

  • Establishing a systematic commitment to the implementation of the Antifraud and Anticorruption Policy for all staff members, consultants and service providers who collaborate with the MFEM; this includes consequences for involvement, directly or indirectly, in an act of fraud, corruption or wrongdoing.
  • Establishing proactive prevention by means of a due diligence obligation for MFEM staff.
  • Considering integrity and impartiality in all stages of tenders examination and assessment, selection of suppliers and procurement procedure or during services implementation or payment. Each member involved, from within or external to the MFEM, has to commit to the fight against fraud, corruption and wrongdoing.
  • Providing an independent and confidential whistleblowing procedure to report any reprehensible practice, conduct necessary investigations, and regulate reported acts.

In this context, the Ministry of Finance and Economic Management (MFEM), has developed this Anti-Fraud and Anti-Corruption Policy.

In addition to the Anti-fraud and Anti-Corruption Policy, MFEM also have in place a Whistleblowing Procedure.

Whistleblowing Procedure

The Ministry of Finance and Economic Management (MFEM) considers fraud and corruption as detrimental to the realisation of the vision and objectives of the Ministry. As such, the MFEM has adopted an Antifraud and Anticorruption Policy. The main elements of this Policy can be summarised as follows:

  • Establishing a systematic commitment to the implementation of the Antifraud and Anticorruption Policy for all staff members, consultants and service providers who collaborate with the MFEM; this includes consequences for involvement, directly or indirectly, in an act of fraud, corruption or wrongdoing.
  • Establishing proactive prevention by means of a due diligence obligation for MFEM staff.
  • Considering integrity and impartiality in all stages of tenders examination and assessment, selection of suppliers and procurement procedure or during services implementation or payment. Each member involved, from within or external to the MFEM, has to commit to the fight against fraud, corruption and wrongdoing.
  • Providing an independent and confidential whistleblowing procedure to report any reprehensible practice, conduct necessary investigations, and regulate reported acts.

The Whistleblowing procedure summarises MFEM procedure for the treatment of fraud, corruption or similar acts, with all transparency, independence, and rigour.