Combating corruption in Finland

Prevention and combating of corruption require extensive cooperation between various parties.

Finland has no separate anti-corruption agency, but several different authorities and other bodies are jointly responsible for the work against corruption.

This page provides information on the key anti-corruption actors in Finland: 

Cooperation network promotes anti-corruption activities

The aim of the anti-corruption cooperation network is to ensure that there occurs as little corruption in Finland as possible.

The network is the local anti-corruption body in Finland as required by many international conventions. The Ministry of Justice appointed the network for the first time in 2002.

The anti-corruption cooperation network is responsible for

  • promoting anti-corruption efforts
  • preparing an anti-corruption strategy and action plan for Finland and promoting their implementation
  • raising awareness of corruption, importance of anti-corruption efforts and anti-corruption guidelines in the central government, municipalities and private sector
  • monitoring and promoting the implementation of international anti-corruption conventions and other international obligations
  • participating in the definition of Finland's positions in matters related to corruption and its prevention and producing information to support decision-making
  • following and promoting research on corruption. 

The network does not comment on individual cases.

The members of the network represent the relevant ministries, the police, the prosecution service, business and industry, and non-governmental organisations. The network promotes intersectoral cooperation against corruption. 

Ministry of Justice coordinates anti-corruption work

The Ministry of Justice functions as the national coordinating body for anti-corruption work in Finland. 

In this capacity, the Ministry of Justice 

  • coordinates development projects aiming to combat corruption
  • supports different authorities' anti-corruption efforts 
  • coordinates the activities of the anti-corruption cooperation network.

The different departments and units of the Ministry of Justice support and supplement this work in their own areas of responsibility:

  • The Department of Criminal Policy is responsible for certain national and international anti-corruption duties.
  • The Unit for Democracy, Language Affairs and Fundamental Rights maintains the voting register and participates in election-related anti-corruption work. 
  • The Law Drafting Department is responsible for assessing and drafting anti-corruption legislation.
  • The Department of Judicial Administration is responsible for reforming the legislation governing the judicial system and organising relevant training for judges, among other things.

The prosecution service operates in the administrative branch of the Ministry of Justice. Prosecutors are responsible for the enforcement of criminal liability in corruption offences.

Police investigates and prevents corruption offences

The police carries out criminal intelligence gathering and investigations to expose corruption and submit corruption cases to prosecutors for consideration of charges. This work is part of the prevention of economic crime and grey economy.

The Financial Intelligence Unit, working under the auspices of the National Bureau of Investigation, receives reports on suspicious transactions and financing of terrorism. By analysing these reports, it is possible to expose cash flows and transactions that may have connections to corruption.

The corruption function of the National Bureau of Investigation maintains situational awareness of corruption at national level and develops methods for identifying, exposing and investigating corruption.

The Police University College has conducted several studies on corruption. The requirements of legality and ethicality in police work are emphasised in the basic training of police officers.

The National Police Board plans, develops, directs and supervises the activities of the police. As for the prevention of corruption, the Board is responsible for reconciling the operational policies of the police and ensuring sufficient resources for their work. The Ministry of the Interior is responsible for the overall guidance and direction of police work.

Ministry of Finance provides guidance for public officials

The Ministry of Finance participates in the anti-corruption work by drawing attention to ethicality and values within the state administration. The Ministry of Finance issues guidelines to public officials and is responsible for developing the legislation governing public officials. 

Furthermore, the Ministry of Finance coordinates the Open Government Partnership that Finland joined in 2013. Opening up the activities of public administration and data helps secure possibilities for citizens and non-governmental organisations to participate in the development of society. Corruption can be prevented through openness.

Finnish Tax Administration prevents corruption through tax supervision

The Finnish Tax Administration collects the majority of taxes and tax-like charges in Finland. Its responsibilities also include tax supervision. Tax supervision staff is trained to detect corruption.

A tax audit is the most thorough form of tax supervision. In a tax audit, the auditor checks whether the accounting entries correspond to reality and whether all information has been duly reported to the Tax Administration.

Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority intervenes in cartels and supervises public procurements

The Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority (FCCA) applies the Competition Act and other provisions governing competition. Pursuant to these provisions, the FCCA intervenes in situations involving illegal restrictions of competition, such as cartels.

Furthermore, the FCCA monitors compliance with the legislation governing public procurements, especially illegal direct procurements. Anyone who feels that a contracting entity has failed to comply with the procurement legislation is entitled to submit a request for action to the FCCA.

Through active supervision and intervention, the FCCA strives to minimise the costs that cartels incur for the national economy. It also aims to improve contracting entities' knowledge of which phenomena are problematic from the perspective of competition and how their occurrence could be prevented.

Ministry for Foreign Affairs keeps an eye on development cooperation funds 

The Ministry for Foreign Affairs monitors development cooperation and supports Finland's partner countries in combating corruption. The Ministry provides training to both its own staff and its partners on the prevention and combating of corruption. The Ministry has also published Anti-corruption Handbook for Development Practitioners

The Ministry for Foreign Affairs has set up an e-service for reporting suspicions of misuse of Finnish development cooperation funds. Anyone suspecting a misuse of development cooperation funds may submit a report in the service. The Ministry for Foreign Affairs investigates all suspicions and strives to recover the misused funds. 

Parliamentary Ombudsman and Chancellor of Justice oversee public sector

The Parliamentary Ombudsman and the Chancellor of Justice participate in the combating of corruption by overseeing that courts, other public authorities and public officials observe the law and fulfil their duties.

The Chancellor of Justice also oversees legality of the official actions of the Government, the ministries and the President of the Republic. Furthermore, the Chancellor of Justice has certain duties related to the supervision of attorneys-at-law.

Complaints concerning the actions of authorities, public officials and other persons entrusted with public duties can be filed with the Parliamentary Ombudsman and the Chancellor of Justice. Read more about reporting of corruption.

Association of Finnish Local and Regional Authorities advises municipal actors

Anti-corruption activities of the Association of Finnish Local and Regional Authorities consist of training, drawing up of instructions, provision of advice and guidance, and raising of awareness. All these activities are targeted at actors in the municipal sector.

Guidelines and advice provided by the Association concern, for example:

  • hospitality and acceptance of advantages
  • personal interests and avoidance of conflicts of interest
  • transparency and communication
  • questions related to liability for acts in office
  • ethicality in administration and decision-making.

The Public Procurement Advisory Unit, functioning under the auspices of the Association of Finnish Local and Regional Authorities, provides contracting entities with information on the application of the procurement legislation and on procurement processes. The activities of the Unit are financed by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment and the Association of Finnish Local and Regional Authorities.  

Transparency International investigates and studies

Transparency International Finland is a non-governmental organisation and one of the more than hundred chapters of Transparency International. All of them share the same goal and vision: a world in which governments, business life and civil society are free from corruption.

In Finland, Transparency International

  • organises seminars and discussion events concerning anti-corruption efforts
  • conducts studies and compiles reports on corruption
  • follows the development of legislation and case law
  • issues comments and opinions on legislative proposals.

The organisation is involved in the communication activities related to the international Corruption Perceptions Index.