New civil society report on Chad: Gaps in legal and institutional frameworks hampering real progress on UNCAC implementation

29 February 2024 – 

Click on the image to download the report in French.

A recent report authored by the Organisation Tchadienne Anti-Corruption (OTAC) finds that provisions for the prevention of corruption and asset recovery (Chapter II and V of the UNCAC) are largely missing from legal and institutional frameworks within the country, and implementation is moderate at best, but largely lacking. Greater recognition for the work of and interaction between civil society organizations (CSOs) and the government is necessary, coupled with stronger cooperation with neighboring states to combat transnational corruption challenges. The report is intended as a contribution to the UNCAC implementation review process in its second cycle, produced with technical and financial support from the UNCAC Coalition.

In Chad, the creation of a new independent anti-corruption authority (AILC) in August 2023 marks a significant step forward in the fight against corruption. The institution, tasked with preventing and punishing acts of corruption while strengthening ethics within the public sphere was the result of a bill drawn up in response to the recommendations of the National Sovereign and Inclusive Dialogue (DNIS). However, the impact of the AILC remains to be seen, and the issue of non-meritocratic hiring among civil servants in the country presents obstacles to its efficient operation.

In terms of implementation for Chapter 5 of the UNCAC, specialized institutions – such as a State Judicial Agency to represent the state before the courts – are in a nascent stage. The now-dissolved Inspection Générale d’Etat (IGE) had no authority to recover assets when cases were brought before the courts, nor the capability of working freely and independently in the exercise of its functions, since its activities were marred by political interference. Chad is in the process of creating an agency dedicated to the management of seized and recovered assets.

The official UNCAC review process in Chad was scheduled to begin in 2020, but has experienced significant delays. The governmental experts list is the only document available on Chad’s UNODC Country Profile Page and the country report has been completed but not published. No date has been communicated for a country visit by peer reviewing countries Tanzania and Tuvalu, and it is unclear whether civil society will be involved in the review.

For all the detailed findings, read the full civil society parallel report in French. A translated version in English is forthcoming.

Main findings

Anti-corruption bodies and policies

The Chadian State has incorporated relevant anti-corruption provisions into its penal code. Nevertheless, corrupt practices continue without the perpetrators being brought to justice. Non-compliance with the Republic’s texts and laws is a real brake on the implementation of policies to prevent and combat corruption. This is reinforced by political interference in judicial affairs, undermining the independence of the judiciary.

Chad has a General State Inspectorate and a Court of Accounts within the Supreme Court. There is also an authority responsible for awarding and monitoring public contracts. These bodies are only concerned with cases of misappropriation of public assets committed by people outside the upper echelons of power. In addition, many contracts are awarded by mutual agreement, with no regard for the rules governing them.

Existing anti-corruption bodies within the country suffer from a serious problem of objectivity in their modus operandi. They seem to target one category of offenders, but turn a blind eye to another category of ‘untouchables’ – this constitutes a serious breach of the responsibilities assigned to them.

Public sector employment

The Ministère de la Fonction Publique is responsible for recruiting government employees, while the other ministries and institutions are responsible for managing their careers. A legal framework exists to govern recruitment to the civil service based on objective criteria, such as the Law on the General Statute of the Civil Service. In 2017, the government undertook a digital plan to modernize public administration over the course of four years.

However, in practice, obtaining a job in the civil service in Chad is not based on the principle of meritocracy and is instead determined by influence peddling, social ties and the payment of large sums of money to ministry officials.

Political financing

Political parties are prohibited from having bank accounts abroad. An annual subsidy of 5 million CFA francs (approximately $8000 USD) is legislated for political parties according to article 31 of Law no. 032/PR/2019, on the Charter of Political Parties in the Republic of Chad, as well as a reimbursement of electoral expenses for candidates having obtained more than 10% in the presidential elections. This funding is often only paid out when the state wants to use political parties for political support. Their payment to radical opposition parties is often subject to conditions. The payment of campaign expenses is often problematic: for example, two opposition parties with more than 10% in the 2016 presidential elections were not reimbursed until the 2021 elections.

Codes of conduct, Conflicts of interest and Asset declarations

The Chadian government has incorporated provisions such as Law 17 on the general status of the civil service into its legal framework. Civil servants promoted to high office in the Republic (president, ministers, etc.) are required to declare their assets at the beginning and end of their term of office.

Enforcement of the various codes of conduct is very weak. Conflicts of interest are recurrent among members of the public service and asset declarations are not made systematically. It is not uncommon for senior officials to own businesses, companies and other enterprises, sometimes in the names of relatives, that benefit from public contracts. The asset declarations of senior civil servants are not made public.

Whistleblower protection

This mechanism is non-existent in Chad, and there is no formal written policy for the protection of whistleblowers. Instead, intimidation and influence peddling have generated a quasi-permanent mistrust that renders public officials mute in the performance of their duties.

The Government and the Inspection Générale de l’État have used mechanisms that provide guarantees of anonymity to allow citizens to report misconduct. However, these anonymous whistleblowing mechanisms have not yielded real results. Whistleblowers are not only exposed to all sorts of threats, but are also subject to prosecution in the courts.

Public procurement and Management of public finances

There are two bodies overseeing public procurement procedures in Chad: the Autorité de Régulation des Marchés Publics and the Direction Générale du Contrôle des Marchés Publics (DGCMP). Decree No. 2417/PR/PM/2015 on Public Procurement has been signed to this effect. Yet contrary to the laws, the awarding of public contracts is most often done by mutual agreement, without respecting the standards and criteria established by the Public Procurement Code. Newer legislation on the DGCMP is not aligned with the previous one.

Several measures have been taken by the government to promote transparency in public finance management. These include measures instituted by Law No. 018/PR/2016 of November 24, 2016 on the Code of Transparency and Good Governance in Public Finance Management, Decree No. 2417/PR/PM/2020 of October 15, 2020 on the Public Procurement Code, Order No. 6081/PR/PM/2016 on the publication of standard tender documents for public procurement of supplies and services, and other texts. However, these measures have never fully been put into effect: in practice, public finances are managed in an informal and opaque manner.

Access to information & Civil society participation

In Chad, government departments that are supposed to produce information and make it accessible refuse to do so, claiming that this information is sensitive and therefore cannot be published. Civil society organizations have limited capacity and resources to interact with the government and are hampered by various obstacles. Strict anti-terrorism laws enacted in the wake of the 2015 Boko Haram attacks in the capital only serve to restrict civil and political liberties.

Despite these obstacles, the activities of Chadian civil society are making an impact in the fight against corruption. This is particularly true of advocacy and awareness-raising activities in partnership with the local media, which have demonstrated some success in influencing bad practices.

Judiciary and prosecution services

The principle of the independence of the judiciary is guaranteed by the Constitution and the Statute of the Judiciary. Prosecution and punishment are provided for members of the judiciary who fail in their duties.

Despite assurances in legal texts, the independence of the judiciary is a key issue, insofar as the judges involved in corruption prosecutions are closely tied to the political process, skewing their ability to act. The Constitution itself subordinates the judiciary to the executive branch by placing the Conseil Suprême de la Magistrature (CSM) under the authority of the president of the Republic.

Anti-money laundering

In Chad, this regime focuses on requirements for identifying customers and, where applicable, beneficial owners, recording and reporting suspicious transactions. The Agence Nationale d’Investigation Financière regulates and monitors banking operations and transactions. Until 2022, the Inspection Générale d’Etat (IGE) was responsible for auditing and inspecting state bodies and recovering misappropriated or misspent assets. This institution was dissolved in 2022.

Asset Recovery

Chad set up the Inspection Générale d’Etat (IGE) to investigate economic and financial offences and recover misappropriated assets. However, recovery was carried out on an amicable basis, and the IGE had no authority to recover assets when cases were brought before the courts. This institution has not had the time to work freely and independently in the exercise of its functions, and its activities are marred by political interference in its operations.

With regard to the representation of the State before the courts, a State Judicial Agency is currently being set up. It will be responsible for representing the interests of the Chadian State before the courts, initiating legal proceedings and requesting the recovery of funds on behalf of the State.

International cooperation for the purpose of confiscation

Chad has set up several bodies specializing in economic and financial investigations such as the Agence Nationale d’Investigations Financières (ANIF). There is also a specialized anti-terrorism and anti-corruption unit within the Ministry, known as Service Interne pour la Prévention et la Protection au Travail (SIPPT). Chad is home to a branch of INTERPOL, which groups together 17 French-speaking African countries and pools information on the fight against terrorism and corruption.

Restitution and disposal of assets

Chad is in the process of creating an agency dedicated to the management of seized and recovered assets. The Code of Criminal Procedure contains a provision on the management of seals, but not on asset recovery. Prior to its dissolution, the IGE was unable to recover assets, despite having sent out payment injunction notices.

Once a court decision has been handed down, there is no agency dedicated to enforcing it. It is envisaged that the State Judicial Agency will be in charge of this once it is created. However, Chad has already recovered assets through INTERPOL in Cameroon, Gabon, Nigeria and the Central African Republic.

Key recommendations

In its report, the Organisation Tchadienne Anti-Corruption (OTAC) makes several recommendations to the Chadian authorities to ensure the full implementation of the UNCAC in the country, among them:

  1. Strengthen interaction and exchanges between the government and civil society organizations (CSOs) on issues related to anti-corruption, anti-money laundering and organized crime policy, through regular consultations and frequent information-sharing, in particular on the application of Law No. 018 on the Transparency and Good Governance Code and EU texts.
  2. Adopt a code of conduct and ethics for the civil service, providing a set of clear principles and minimum standards to minimize the risk of corruption and prevent conflicts of interest.
  3. Promote the setting up of focal points within state structures to monitor their management.
  4. Create an information unit for relevant stakeholders on the management of subsidies granted to the State.
  5. Apply, without restriction, the provisions of the Penal Code relating to corruption, bribery and influence peddling in all areas.
  6. Ensure greater justice and equity in access to public services.
  7. Combat corruption in the public and private sectors by introducing a priori monitoring and evaluation.
  8. Interact efficiently with all stakeholders: the authorities, the private sector, technical and financial partners, UN organizations, the European Union, the African Union, religious leaders, traditional community leaders, young people, women and civil servants.
  9. Improve public governance to enable the population to benefit from the positive effects of public policies.
  10. Strengthen the capacities of the Audit Office.
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