The role of legislative oversight and its promulgated laws concerning the corruption in administrative agencies
“Study of Saudi’s General Auditing Bureau laws and its effectiveness in reality”
Abdulrahman Zahim Alsulami
Many governments around the world are facing the phenomenon of administrative and financial corruption. The Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) in 2015 shows that Sixty-eight per cent of countries have corruption issues[footnoteRef:1]. Also, a statistic of The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) shows that 57% of foreign bribery cases prosecuted under the organization Convention involved bribes to receive public contracts[footnoteRef:2]. In fact, the problem which has a negative impacts on the societies and the economies and the development of countries creates worldwide concern. Corruption became one of the obstacles which make many of the governments become unable to develop their countries. Indeed, the development of societies will not be perfect unless these societies adopt a complete and consistent legal systems which ensure justice, transparency, disclosure, and accountability to advance anti-corruption reform. The international community recognized the risk of corruption in various forms after this issue started to appear as an international phenomenon. Therefore, several of non-profit organizations appeared and aim to anti-corruption. For example, Transparency International, Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development and Corruption Watch. [1: (Transparency International organization , 2015)] [2: See Open Government Guide, public contracting available at http://www.opengovguide.com/topics/public-contracting/]
Getting rid of the phenomenon of administrative corruption especially in administrative contracts requires addressing a numbers of political, legally, judiciary and economy issues as well as educate the public concerning the dangerous of this corruption because their role will be important step to eliminate it.
In 2004, the international community built a new step toward anti-corruption by adopting United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC)[footnoteRef:3]. Hence, the member countries adopt the same concepts of corruption and have the same vision to fight against it. [3: See United Nations Convention against Corruption available at https://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/treaties/CAC/]
The kingdom of Saudi Arabia signed the convention in 2011 in order to share the international community the responsibility in solving this phenomenon. Concurrently, the king of Saudi Arabia established an “Anti-Corruption Commission” which directly connects to him to exhibit the sincere desire to fight against corruption.
On the other hand, there is an important role and responsibility on legal researchers and scholars to discuss the legal weaknesses of auditing laws and the role of administrative oversight generally in order to protect government public contracts, tenders and Procurement Law mechanisms especially, which create environment for such corruption. There is no doubt that once a government is entrusted each role to the specialized authority legislative, executive and judicial with the obligations of each authority to do its role, this will affect a positively to overcome corruption in general.
Statement of the Problem
Saudi Arabia is not in isolation from the world in the problem of public bodies’ corruption. It appears in some of the government agencies even if this corruption does not reach high percentage, but it cannot be denied. In attempting from the government to fight against corruption, Saudi Arabia works hard to design and develop its laws in order to make sure that our society is free of corruption. For example the establishment of General Auditing Bureau and the law of tenders and government procurement which guarantee the competition. And most recently, the establishment of the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) by Royal Decree No M / 10 in 2011 as a new administrative body which directly connects to the king to gives it more power[footnoteRef:4]. The royal decree states that “The Commission shall also be responsible for monitoring the administrative and financial corruption”[footnoteRef:5]. The government has also recently joined some regional and international conventions, such as United Nations Convention against Corruption which included 178 countries as parties in 2015[footnoteRef:6]. [4: See more detail about its goals, available at http://www.nazaha.gov.sa/en/About/Pages/Establishment.aspx] [5: Id.] [6: See the countries list, available at https://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/treaties/CAC/signatories.html]
Even though all these efforts, an official report of NACC indicate that 67% of the administrative and financial corruption are through the administrative abuse, misuses of public funds, and abuse of power[footnoteRef:7]. Moreover, the official report indicate that there are 70% of public projects are stalled, poor quality construction or delays[footnoteRef:8]. This is a serious indicator because Saudi Arabia is seeking to set up a good infrastructure, which will help the growth and development of the country, but the existence of these rates of the phenomenon of corruption in government contracts will lead to face slow growth and wasting of public funds and negatively impact on the Saudis society. [7: National anti-corruption commission, available at http://nazaha.gov.sa/en/About/Pages/ReportsEN.aspx] [8: Id. ]
Thus, clarity of corruption poses important question which is whether the executive branch lacks to adequate regulations and monitoring in the issue of administrative contract corruption. And whether the government tenders and Procurement law give administrative authority wide latitude so government employees can work corruptly in administrative agencies and have a fertile environment to manipulate.
Objective of study
I believe this subject is worth to be researched because of the unfavorable consequences of current situation on social and economy satisfaction. Without ignoring the waste of public money due to the corruption in the government contracts, a lot of foreign investors avoid entering into any type of investments inside the country. Consequently the government loss the opportunity to get the advantages of foreign investments.
There are numerous of researches and studies concerning governments’ corruption from different views, socially, politically and economy. However, this research aims to focus on the legal side of the issue in Saudi Arabia by examine whether the current auditing regulations (which promulgated before 48 years) work effectively while there are a lot of administrative corruption in government contracts. It also attempts to focus on administrative contracts law breaches which helped to have such corruption in the public contracts. And whether the law give the administrative authority wide power to act by signing contracts which might help their personal interest. Moreover, it will consider the laws and experiences of developed countries, especially since statistics indicate that the developed countries do have corruption but in low percentages[footnoteRef:9]. That In order to propose a set of regulatory recommendations to enhance efficiency, credibility and transparency in government contracts to protect the public funds. [9: Transparency International organization, corruption perception index 2015, available at https://www.transparency.org/cpi2015]
The Importance of the topic
In fact. The phenomenon of corruption was not given much attention from the public and media in Saudi Arabia. However, in 2009 second largest city in Saudi Arabia suffered from floods which caused death of hundreds of people. This disaster was a major cause for the detection of massive corruption issues like the contracts of implementation of storm water drainage projects. After this incident, the government started to take serious steps to find the reasons and solutions of administrative corruption by encouraging professionals and academics in Saudi Arabia to research and give their recommendation. Therefore, studies need to be continued in order to analyze the drawbacks of the current systems and suggest for applicable laws of developed countries.
Having a clear and complete monitoring systems will contribute in the development and help the country to maintain the public money as an indispensable matter of good governance. Also having a country a free of corruption makes it a place of trust with other governments and between government and its citizens and foreign investors.
The personal, local, regional and international motivations in fighting against corruption in all of its forms and the ways to eliminate it, and by virtue of a specialist in the field of law, I believe that one of my role in the community is to research and try to find legal solutions to resolve these problems in general and especially in the proposed study which is the role of legislative oversight and its promulgated laws concerning the corruption in administrative agencies.
This study will be divided into six chapters, an introduction, four main chapters and the recommendations by the end of the dissertation.
This chapter will give an overview about the constitutional law and the historical development of regulations of auditing, which all together have important role to organize the process of government contracting and prevent corruption. Also, this chapter will explain the concepts of administrative contracts. By the end of this chapter readers will have an inclusive idea about how laws in the kingdom of Saudi Arabia work in making administrative contracts especially.
The system of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
In order to understand the issue of corruption I will explain Saudi Arabia’s political system. There are three branches of the government, legislative, executive and judicial each one of these has its certain role and should not interfere with the other authorities. However, due to the overlap between the legislative and the executive authorities there are many of the tasks are taken from people who do not have the legal position to take. In general, this chapter aim to describe the three authorities of the government and how these complexes between them might influence on the corruption in executive authority.
Analyzing the laws of Saudi Arabia which regulate the process of public contracts.
This chapter aims to analyze written acts concerning the monitoring and protraction of the budget from corruption. Saudi Arabia has numerous of written acts and agencies that aim to eliminate the corruption but we are still facing and reading in the newspaper about corruption issues. For this reason, I will analyze those acts and compering them with other regulations from different countries in order to see and suggest about what should be modified or what should be deleted at all or what should be adopted.
The causes of the phenomenon of corruption in administrative contracts.
In this chapter, I will focus on the types and manners of corruption, particularly in government procurement contracts to look for an appropriate means to combat that. Also, we will study the stages of government procurement and the risk of corruption at each stage and which legal solutions might help to overcome the issue.
The extent of transparency in administrative bodies in regard to contracts of public projects in both clarity of the conditions and the selection of the contractor. On the other hand, the extent of applying current laws in administrative bodies
Conclusion and recommendations.