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Identifying & Detecting Corruption

Corruption is defined as criminal offences, such as bribery and embezzlement, abuse of power, trading in influence, illicit enrichment and money-laundering. Corruption is one of Jamaica’s most serious threats as it has a disastrous effect on our economy, our environment and our national security.


Corruption can be difficult to spot but there are a few tell tale signs that mis-conduct or corruption may be taking place.

How to Spot Corruption

If you notice any of these telltale signs at work or in some other public sector organisation, stay alert. It could be a sign of mis-conduct or corruption. 

Problems with decision-making

  • Secrets. Documents and information that according to law are public have not been published. Employees or stakeholders are not told about decisions or the reasons for them.

  • Decisions that repeatedly benefit a partner. The interests of the organisation and employees are constantly marginalised based on vague criteria.

  • Centralised power. Functions such as contract management, ordering and invoice processing are the responsibility of one person or department, and they are not properly monitored.

  • Conflicts of interest and dual roles. For example, a person is responsible for procurement even though his or her close relative owns a company that is submitting a tender for a contract.


Financial ambiguities

  • Dubious invoices. Invoices do not show clearly and simply what is being charged.

  • Very large payments. The payment amount is higher than the actual price of the service or product.

  • Very large entertainment expenses. Unusually large amounts have been spent to entertain an external party.

  • Deficiencies or mistakes in financial reporting. Money has gone missing or been added but its source has not been included or justified in the reporting.

Suspicious procurements

  • Very large or unreasonable procurements. Someone has ordered material for the organisation without any real use for it.

  • Approving poor products or services. A partner is not changed for a better one even though its products or services continue to have problems.

  • One service provider keeps winning contracts. A service or product is regularly opened up to competitive tendering but the same company always wins the contract.

  • Direct award of contracts. Orders are placed for products without competitive tendering or sustainable and legal grounds or against guidelines.

Competitive tendering shows signs of Organised Crime

  • Surprising lack of tenders. A company that was thought of as a certain candidate to tender for a contract does not do so.

  • Unusual tenders. One tender is very different from the others without a clear reason.

  • Withdrawing from competitive tendering. One of the tenderers voluntarily withdraws.

  • Deliberate failure. One of the tenderers makes an elementary mistake which drops the company out of the competitive tendering.

  • Companies win in turns. Out of a group of companies, each makes the best offer in turn.

  • Losing companies become subcontractors. The company that won the competitive tendering uses the losing companies as its subcontractors.

  • Surprising joint tenders. Competing companies submit a joint tender even though one could win the contract without the others.

Questionable motives in recruitment

  • Nepotism and favouritism. For example, the job criteria are tailored to fit a friend. Or an employee’s relative is not the most competent candidate but still gets the job.

  • Revolving doors. For example, a company hires an ex-politician as a thank-you for promoting the sector’s interests.


Who Should You Tell?

Sometimes actions may seem suspicious even though there are good reasons for them. But keeping quiet about your suspicions may harm your organisation or public interest.


If you think misconduct has taken place, give us a call at 888-MOCA-TIP.

businessman secretly giving a bribe by giving money
a lady making a phone call

Reporting & Whistleblowing


One of the most important mechanisms of detecting corruption is self-reporting. MOCA and our partners strongly encourage individuals to report on corruption that they are aware of and to cooperate with the investigating authorities as all citizens have a civic duty to disclose corrupt activities. Employees, victims and other members of the public are often the first ones to witness or experience public sector corruption, and are instrumental in helping us to detect and identify its occurrence. To this end, we have established a partnership with the National Crime Prevention Fund under its Crime Stop program, to help encourage citizens to directly report corruption to us. We have also made our website more accessible to persons who prefer to report on corruption electronically.


Given the ease with which corruption can be covered up, and the fact that a number of individuals can benefit directly, some corruption cases can only be detected if someone on the inside reports it. Whistle-blowing is an important tool for detecting corruption as it may be the only way to raise the issue with external regulators or law enforcement agencies. Whistleblowers are encouraged to contact MOCA and our partners, or to expose the matter publicly by contacting the media. Whistleblowing should not be applied only to corruption, as we encourage persons to report on all forms of public sector misconduct such as illegal acts, harassment, wrongdoing, and risks to persons' lives, health and environment. Jamaica has started to enact whistle-blower protection legislation, the international discussion about good whistleblowing practices and standards is increasing.

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