Which authorities have jurisdiction to investigate and prosecute bribery in your jurisdiction?
Bribery & Corruption
Considering the multiple legislations inter-alia dealing with aspects of corruption, there are different authorities who have jurisdiction to investigate and prosecute cases of bribery and corruption in India. The said authorities (as stipulated under each of the Acts) are summarized herein below:
- Under IPC, the jurisdictional local police register and investigate cases relating to offences such as criminal conspiracy, criminal misappropriation, criminal breach of trust, cheating and fraud. The Court of the jurisdictional Magistrate has power to try the cases registered for the said offences.
- Chapter IV of PCA lists the persons authorized to investigate cases under the Act. Usually the Central Bureau of Investigation (established under the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act) and the Anti-Corruption Bureau (established under notifications issued separately by every State Government) investigate cases of corruption under the PCA. The cases are then tried by jurisdictional Special Courts presided over by Special Judges appointed by the Central Government.
- Under the Prohibition of Benami Property Transactions Act, there are four authorities exercising power over cases involving Benami transactions. The said authorities are (a) Initiating Officer, (b) Approving Authority, (c) Administrator and (d) Adjudicating Authority. Under the Act, the Central Government is also empowered to establish an Appellate Tribunal to hear appeals against the orders passed by the Adjudicating Authority. Presently the Income Tax Authorities exercise powers and functions of the ‘authorities’ under the Act .
- An Adjudicating Authority consisting of a Chairman and two members is appointed by the Central Government under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act. The Adjudicating Authority is empowered to receive complaints and try cases under this Act. Presently the Enforcement Directorate, established under the Ministry of Finance investigates and prosecutes cases under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 as well as the Foreign Exchange Management Act, 1999.
- The Central Vigilance Commission (consisting of a Chairperson and two members) is appointed under the Central Vigilance Commission Act, 2003, for supervising investigation of corruption cases (under PCA) in central government departments, government companies and local government bodies.
- Investigation into cases under the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act, 2010 may be conducted by such authority as the Central Government may specific and the authority so appointed has all powers which an officer-in-charge of a police station has while investigating a cognizable offence .
- Under the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, 2013, Lokpal comprises of a chairperson and up to eight members. Lokpal has jurisdiction to investigate and prosecute cases of corruption involving, the prime minister, ministers, members of Parliament, public servants and other central government employees, other than members of armed forces. Lokayuktas function at the state-level and perform similar duties, like the Lokpal.
- The Serious Fraud Investigation Office (‘SFIO’) is a multi-disciplinary organization set up under the Ministry of Corporate Affairs, for detecting and prosecuting or recommending for prosecution white-collar crimes/frauds. SFIO is empowered to investigate the affairs of companies based on an order from the Central Government which may be issued under certain circumstances specified under the Companies Act.
Law no. 3/96, April 5th 1996, created the High Authority against Corruption, an independent entity, that was meant to act alongside the National Parliament, with the purpose of developing actions of prevention, enquiry and reporting of acts of corruption and fraud committed in the exercise of administrative powers to the competent authority for penal or disciplinary action. The competences of the High Authority include, as provided in this statute, (i) undertaking enquiries and other investigation efforts to assess the legality of certain actions or administrative procedures, within the relations between the Public Administration and private entities and (ii) monitoring processes along with the competent entities for the penal or disciplinary procedures. Despite being provided for in the Angolan Law since 1996, the High Authority against Corruption has never been effectively created, and it is not, at present, operating. However, on May 1st 2016, the biggest Angolan opposition party (UNITA) disclosed its intention to move forward with the effective creation of the High Authority against Corruption.
Under Article 60.2 of the Law on the Criminalization of Money Laundering Underlying Offences (“LCMLUO”), the fight against the crimes of corruption is a competence of the Public Prosecution Office, aided by the national police.
It is incumbent upon the Public Prosecution Services to conduct a criminal enquiry with the assistance of competent criminal police authorities, in particular, the Judiciary Police.
Regarding crimes of corruption, the Central Department for Criminal Investigation and Action, which is a special department within the Public Prosecution Services, has the power to coordinate and conduct an investigation.
There is also the Council for Prevention of Corruption, which is an independent administrative entity that works with the Court of Auditors and carries out nation-wide activity within the scope of the prevention of corruption.