Around 3.3 billion people live in countries that spend more on debt than health or education. Yet, information on loans is difficult to find, fueling corruption, undermining trust in democracies, and jeopardizing debt sustainability. Mozambique’s infamous Hidden Debt scandal shows just how devastating hidden debt can be. However, even when debt isn’t hidden, legislatures usually have very little input on the public debt or conduct adequate oversight of it, often because of inadequate legal frameworks and lack of capacity on public debt issues.

March 26, 2024
March 6, 2024

Parliaments play an essential role in preventing corruption, including through a sound legislative process and rigorous legal drafting. The risk of corruption increases when the legislative process is opaque or the resulting laws include imprecise definitions, weak enforcement powers, ambiguous accountabilities, or excessive exemptions. There is also the possibility that the law itself was written with corrupt intent or to benefit a select group or harm others.

Kleptocracy, which means “rule by thieves,” describes an especially pernicious, predatory type of corruption whereby the institutions of the state are deformed to serve regime elites to steal as much as they can from their own citizens.

December 5, 2023


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