Togo - Corruption
Although Togo has laws on the books that make corruption a crime, it has spread as a business practice in recent years. Government procurement contracts and dispute settlements are more likely to go forward after palms are greased. Giving a bribe, whether to private or government officials, is considered a crime but is often expected. The police, gendarmes, and courts are charged with combating corruption in Togo. Some Togolese officials have been charged and convicted of corruption-related charges, but these cases are relatively rare and appear to involve mostly those who have in some way lost official favor.
Although Togo has government organizations that are supposed to investigate corruption, it is a common business practice and remains a problem for businesses. Often, “donations” or “gratuities” result in shorter delays for obtaining registrations, permits, and licenses, thus resulting in a competitive advantage for companies that are willing and able to engage in such practices.
In 2011, the government effectively implemented procurement reforms to increase transparency and reduce corruption. New government procurements are now announced in a weekly government publication. Once contracts are awarded, all bids and the winner are published in the weekly government procurement publication. Other measurable steps toward controlling corruption include joining the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) and establishing public finance control structures and a National Financial Information Processing Unit.
The Togolese government has established several important institutions designed in part to reduce corruption by eliminating opportunities for bribery and fraud: the Togolese Revenue Authority, the One-Stop Shop to create new businesses, and the Single Window for import/export formalities. In 2015, the Togolese government also created the High Authority for the Prevention and Fight against Corruption and Related Offenses (HALCIA), which is designed to be an independent institution dedicated to fighting corruption, though the members of the HALCIA have yet to be named and the body has yet to begin work. Although emblematic of Togo’s growing efforts to improve its business climate and attract greater investment, it remains to be seen whether these reforms will measurably reduce corruption.
The police, gendarmes, courts, and an anti-corruption committee are charged with combating corruption in Togo. A few minor Togolese officials have been prosecuted and convicted of corruption-related charges, but these cases are relatively rare and appear to involve mostly those who have in some way lost official favor. The body officially responsible for combating corruption is the National Commission for the Fight against Corruption and Economic Sabotage.
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