The role of all anti-corruption commissions, institutions, and agencies worldwide is simple; they exist mainly to detect, investigate, prevent, and fight all forms of corruption and to promote transparency and intelligibility. Another important role of anti-corruption commissions is to educate the public about corruption in general and to come up with various anti-corruption strategies and programs to battle corruption and fraudulence—both locally and nationally, and even internationally. Today, there are nearly 200 anti-corruption commissions and agencies around the world.
The first anti-corruption commission was established in 1952 in Singapore, and it is known as the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau; this was followed by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission, which was founded in 1967, and the Independent Commission Against Corruption in Hong Kong, which was established in 1974. According to many analysts, the anti-corruption commissions in Singapore and Hong Kong are the most successful and most efficient anti-corruption institutions in the world.
In order to be effective, anti-corruption commissions should be independent and objective investigative bodies which are reinforced by the state. They should also be established by some kind of a law which guarantees their stability, endurance, and continuance. Anti-corruption commissions are usually formed during a political crisis or a corruption scandal or controversy; however, most developing countries tend to form anti-corruption commissions in advance in order to prevent such scandals from happening in the first place.