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Researching the evidence to fight global corruption

25th January 2019

Northumbria University, Newcastle, has been awarded research funding by an international partnership led by the UK Government to help tackle global corruption.

The Global Integrity Anti-Corruption Evidence Programme (GI-ACE) is a partnership between Washington DC-based anti-corruption and open governance organisation Global Integrity, and the UK Department for International Development (DfID). It is funding 14 research partners from around the world to generate new and operationally relevant evidence aimed at helping policy makers, practitioners and advocates design and implement more effective anti-corruption initiatives.

Northumbria has received funding worth £266,000 over the next two years for a research project entitled: Practical interventions for uncovering and identifying ‘Beneficial Ownership’ as a mechanism to recover the proceeds of corruption – A Nigerian case study. It will be led by Dr Jackie Harvey, Professor of Financial Management and Director of Business Research at Newcastle Business School. In particular, Northumbria will investigate whether current international anti-corruption frameworks can be better targeted to reduce opportunities for the proceeds of corruption to be moved across the globe.  

Professor Harvey said: “GI-ACE is a research programme of global significance. Awarding an important element of the work to Newcastle Business School reflects Northumbria’s growing international reputation for excellence and world-leading research quality.

“Corruption is a major inhibitor to economic growth, discouraging to domestic and foreign investment and destabilising of governments. Unsurprisingly, international attention has intensified in recent years with global initiatives to counter corruption and money laundering. These have placed requirements upon national governments to increase transparency, reducing opportunities for the legitimate legal and financial infrastructure to be used to disguise and move the proceeds of corruption. Using Nigeria as our case study, this cross-disciplinary and mixed methods research aims to understand current processes and highlight system weaknesses for successfully identifying ‘beneficial ownership’ of funds. By creating a simpler, re- balanced and importantly cost-effective solution, we aim to contribute to the prevention of laundering of the proceeds of corruption and to their recovery. An assessment of what works in Nigeria as a means to prevent corruption will provide valuable empirical evidence of what may be transferable to other developing countries.”

As well as Professor Harvey, the research team at Northumbria includes Dr Peter Sproat and Dr Sinan Gonul from Newcastle Business School, and Sue Turner, Chris Mitford and Professor Tony Ward from Northumbria Law School. Northumbria visiting professors Alan Doig and Petrus van Duyne add further depth and bring with them an international team from Northern Ireland, the Netherlands and Nigeria.

The combined $7.1m GI-ACE programme will cover three priority areas: the international architecture that supports corrupt exchanges; integrity systems in the public and private sectors; and tackling corruption at sub national and sectoral levels.


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