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Feature Article | Apr 6, 2019

The Role Of Modern Technology In Countering Corruption

Corruption is an incurable disease affecting the lives of common African citizens
Corruption is an incurable disease affecting the lives of common African citizens

Advances in modern technology and amazing scientific innovations are continuously changing our environments; easy access business communication, improving the economy, above all, offering immense opportunities in fighting against corruption.

The emergence of such tools has great potential and prospects for the promotion of anti-corruption policies through methods of identifying, preventing and analyzing the causes and conditions conducive to corruption. In order to fight against corruption, advanced countries develop innovative software to detect and deter fraud and collusion.

The usage of data collection is one of the most successful examples of using modern technologies and methods of processing huge data to reduce opportunities for the development of corruption. In organizations, Big Data technology is used to create transparency of activities by increasing automation, accuracy and frequency of its work processes.

The United Nations has determined that more accessible and better data will lead to better policy decisions and greater transparency and accountability in government. Thus, the 2016 Sustainable Development Goals Report noted that countries need to make commitments to ensure the collection of high-quality, accessible and relevant data.

Currently, Big Data technology is mainly used in the areas of health, trade, and taxation. To obtain valuable information, prognostic analysis and visualization are used, which determine trends, patterns, and relationships in huge amounts of data.

An example is the Australian Tax Administration, which uses Big Data technology to search for the necessary information in a huge number of reports to disclose evidence of the use of offshore zones and the correspondence of data containing information about small online stores that do not fulfill their obligations.

It is usually difficult to detect corruption due to a large amount of data. However, the digital data and the popularity of Big Data technology have led to the emergence of new data management methods to prevent fraud and disruption in the public sector.

Fraud detection analytics is now able to identify suspicious transactions in areas such as taxation and health care, both after the violation has been committed and in real time. Authorities in the field of anti-corruption have identified and eliminated fraud, which saved billions of money.

Many countries are also developing new data exchange methods, such as the World Statistics Cloud (World Statistics Cloud), which aims to improve the quality of information. For example, the International Development Bank is following the example of applying a number of innovative tools for monitoring and supervising the process of its activities.

In public procurement, data mining is used as an audit to track government actions when submitting bids, and subsequently to detect collusion and false information. Also, this technology using data visualization identifies corrupt intentions in the implementation of various transactions.

Anti-corruption software tools such as Data Mining technology are developed specifically to detect fraud and respond quickly to its occurrence. The European Commission, together with Transparency International, developed similar data analysis software. This software helps identify projects that are at risk of fraud, conflict of interest, or breach.

Thus, the integration of tools in government practices in the field of e-government and e-procurement will not only facilitate effective decision-making but also ensure a high degree of transparency by simplifying processes.

The advantages of mobile applications
Mobile technologies and applications are used to collect data and gain deeper knowledge. In developing countries, this technology helps citizens from remote areas access the necessary information. There is every reason to believe that this technology can be successfully used in the fight against corruption.

For example, the World Bank has created its own version of an application and websites to counter corruption, in regards to the giving and receiving bribes.

The Integrity application is designed to provide citizens with access to World Bank-funded projects and the ability to immediately report problems of fraud and corruption. Through the application, users can directly send information related to projects funded by the bank, such as photos of the school built or a record of the transfer of a bribe.

They hope to improve anti-corruption in the future, whereby, functions will appear to determine the exact location of these projects and to provide specific information about costs and project completion dates.

In regions where smart-phones are less common, a separate mechanism will allow anyone who has a basic mobile phone to contact the Corporate Ethics department for free. Mobile phones are also used in investigations related to fraud and corruption in World Bank-financed projects, and the hotline reportedly receives more than 26,000 calls per year.

Over the past year, 370 cases were identified, which resulted in 34 cases of applying sanctions to firms and individuals, preventing multiple breaches in contracts before being awarded, and developing safeguards for high-risk projects.

Joel Savage
Joel Savage, © 2019

Joel Savage is a Ghanaian-Belgian journalist and author. The accredited press-card holder of the Flemish Journalists Association once contributed regularly to the features column of the Daily Graphic, The Mirror, Ghanaian Times and the Weekly Spectator. The writer currently lives in Belgium.,

Disclaimer: "The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author(s) and do not neccessarily reflect those of Modern Ghana. Modern Ghana will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article."

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