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Anti-Corruption laws in Côte d’Ivoire

The Government of Côte d’Ivoire reaffirmed its commitment to implement an economic and social development program to make Côte d’Ivoire an emerging country by 2020.

Ivory Coast has undertaken a comprehensive reform to create more confidence in their role as a valued and trusted partner of international institutions.

One of the tangible challenge is to achieve Good Governance by tackling corruption, inefficiency, enhance accountability in Government and speed up the move towards positioning Côte d’Ivoire as an Emerging country by 2020.

In view of curbing the prevailing situation of corruption, in August 9th, 2011, Ivorian Government ministers signed a Code of Ethics to battle rife corruption and ‘moralise’ public life in the Country. 

A new sets of anti-corruption laws was adopted recently.

Before these new laws, the only legal framework after the Independence was the Ivoirian Code Pénal, or Penal Code, which criminalises passive and active bribery of public officials. This Code forbids the act of offering, giving and promising a bribe (active bribery), and the act of soliciting, asking for, agreeing to and accepting a bribe (passive bribery). It was, however, unclear if foreign bribery was criminalised in Côte d’Ivoire, since there was not direct reference to foreign public officials.

This issue is now addressed in our new laws.

Côte d’Ivoire ratified a couple of United Nations Conventions against Corruption as well as the African Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption.

At the national level, Ordinance n° 2013-660 relating to the fight against corruption and assimilated corruption practices specifically defines foreign bribery contrary to the Penal Code.

Oumar Traore is a Senior Associate at AnyRay & Partners in Côte d’Ivoire

“Foreign public official” means any officer or employee of a foreign government or foreign government department, agency, board or commission or other body established to perform a duty or function on behalf of a foreign state, and persons who hold a legislative, administrative or judicial position in the foreign state.  Foreign public official also includes employees, officials and agents of government owned corporations and international organizations of states, such as the United Nations or its agencies.

The scope of application of this Ordinance includes both public administration officers and agents from the private sector.

Corruption practices in the public Administration were enumerated under ordinance 2013-660 as follows:

  • Corruption of public officials
  • Undue influence or trading in influence
  • Abuse of function
  • Embezzlement/ Misappropriation
  • Illegal Gratuity
  • Corruption of foreign public officials.

In the private Sector, corruption practices include the following:

  • Misuse of corporate assets
  • Direct or indirect remuneration solicited by an employee for work he is normally being paid for, also when the employee solicits or accepts offers, donations, gifts to do or refrain from doing something he is being paid for
  • Any independent worker who unlawfully solicits or accepts offers, donations, gifts to do or refrain from doing something
  • Use of  undue means to influence in order to obtain awards, employment, bids
  • Encouraging an public officer to make a decision in your favour
  • Trading in influence by soliciting or accepting offers, donations, gifts  to do or refrain from doing something
  • Use of violence to obtain the adjournment of an act by way of threats, offers, donations or gifts
  • Overcharge or inflate costs of public projects or to modify the quality or standard of goods or services the company has been paid for

The following practices are also assimilated to corruption practices:

  • Conflict of Interest
  • Taking unlawful interest
  • Unjust enrichment or the giving of Gifts
  • Illegal funding of political parties and campaigns 
  • Psychological harassment by abuse of authority, undue pressure to get favour of all sorts from a third party in exchange of an advantage, gifts, and promises
  • Keeping embezzled proceeds
  • Failure to denunciate any corruption practices

A High Authority of Good Governance was set under Ordinance n° 2013-661 of September 25, 2013 relating to the creation of the High Authority of Good Governance to enable effective fighting against Corruption in the public life.

The following organs exist under Ordinance 2013 – 661:

  • The Council
  • The Secretariat

Their main mission is to ensure the fight against corruption is effective.

References

  1. https://www.transparency.org/country#CIV
  2. https://www.economist.com/blogs/baobab/2013/07/c-te-d-ivoire
  3. Code penal
  4. Ordinance n° 2013-661 of September 25, 2013 relating to the creation of the High Authority of Good Governance
  5. Ordinance n° 2013-660 relating to the fight against corruption and assimilated corruption practices specifically refers to foreign bribery.
  6. https://www.imf.org/external/np/speeches/1997/052197.htm

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