Counter-corruption: Values and strategies

3.1 Introduction

Moving on from investigating the various issues pertaining to the corruption phenomenon in the previous chapter, this chapter aims to achieve two related objectives of the book (the second and fifth objectives). In terms of the second objective, this chapter further investigates the literature on corruption regarding two issues. The first issue is the principles and values that underpin counter-corruption efforts, which, from the viewpoint of the book, countries should attempt to instil in legal and political contexts before/while combating corruption. The second research area examines various counter-corruption strategies, each of which proceeds from a distinct philosophy. Essentially, the second objective is to understand these two issues both in general and in relation to Kuwait, to bring to the centre of the discussion the compliance of Kuwaiti counter-corruption efforts with universal principles and strategies. In terms of the fifth methodological objective, this chapter uses socio-legal methodology to ensure a fuller understanding of some of the subjects of this chapter. A qualitative-based study, which relies on semi-structured interviews, is adopted to answer, in part, the second objective of this book.

The chapter is divided into two substantive sections. Section 3.2 investigates legitimacy (including transparency, accountability, human rights, morality of law, and legal certainty) and effectiveness (including the issues of an effective legal framework and evidence-based policymaking) as two key counter-corruption values, in general and in relation to Kuwait. Section 3.3 investigates a number of counter-corruption strategics in both contexts. These include the universally identified strategies of social reforms, law enforcement efforts, and situational crime prevention (SCP).

Counter-corruption values

For the purposes of this book, the values to be considered should be treated as instrumental. Each value is not an end in itself, but represents a means that is intricately linked to the achievement of counter-corruption objectives. The values have a ‘counter-corruption’ functionality in that they are targeted at the root

Table 3.1 CPI and World Bank Worldwide Governance Indicators in 2018

Country/ indicator


Control of corruption

Voice and accountability

Government effectiveness

Rule of law

Regulatory quality

Political stability


















causes of corruption. Inculcating these values is an indirect approach to combating corruption, which involves core principles that should be recognised as the initial conditions for the success of counter-corruption strategies. The analysis here is conducted within the corruption-governance nexus. Governance can be understood as ‘the traditions and institutions by which authority in a country is exercised’, including the process through which the government manages the state, the government’s capacity to formulate policies, and the citizens’ respect for, and the legitimacy of, the state institutions.[1] Because ‘curtailing corruption requires addressing the causes of mis-governance’, it is necessary to instil values that relate to the broader context in which a state is governed. When institutionalised, counter-corruption values govern the process in which the state is administrated and pave the way for making counter-corruption laws enforceable, legitimate, and abiding. The correlation between the Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) and the World Bank Worldwide Governance Indicators may signify that corruption is just one symptom of a more profound problem, as indicated in Table 3.1.

The counter-corruption values should be considered in Kuwait for three reasons. First, Kuwait is a developing country that adopts a democratic regime, and therefore, it accommodates an environment that supports these values. Secondly, Kuwait suffers from corruption, or at least fosters favourable conditions for corruption to grow. So, it is necessary to adopt measures to combat this phenomenon and its drivers. In particular, because of the oil-based economic structure of Kuwait, and its relation to corruption, values such as transparency and accountability should be observed. Thirdly, Kuwait is part of the global community that induces its members to respect and fulfil human rights, which renders ‘human rights’ a value that Kuwait also endorses. After all, the universality of the values studied here is a sufficient reason to call on Kuwait to adhere to them (as well as the explicit statements in its constitution).

  • [1] Kaufmann, Kraay and Mastruzzi (2011, pp. 222-223). 2 Huther and Shah (2000, p. 2). 3 The source works as follows: ‘Estimate of governance measured on a scale from approximately -2.5 to 2.5. Higher values correspond to better governance’. See World Bank (2019). 4 See chapter
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