Showing posts from June, 2014

Bhutan launches new national anti-corruption strategy, e-learning course on ethics & integrity

[Facilitator's note: With deep appreciation to Rinchen Namgay, Corporate Services, Anti-Corruption Commission, Kingdom of Bhutan, for providing this information.]

e-Learning Course on Ethics and Integrity

Her Royal Highness Ashi Sonam Dechan Wangchuck, Honorable President of the Bhutan National Legal Institute, launched an e-Learning course on Ethics and Integrity Management for justices, associate professionals, and parliamentarians on 21 June 2014 at the Royal Institute of Management.

The e-learning course continues the programme launched for civil servants in December 2011. It aims to create wider appreciation for the need to promote ethics and integrity in government. The course is in line with the second strategic objective of the National Integrity and Anti-Corruption Strategy 2014-2018 to "Raise Awareness and Foster Integrity Education".

The event brought together some 140 dignitaries representing Ministries, Parliament, Judiciary, Constitutional Office, Armed Forces…

UNDP eyes Korea’s expertise in environment, fighting corruption

[Facilitator's note: Thank you to Diana Torres, Anti-Corruption Research Analyst, UNDP New York, for sharing this information.]

In an interview with The Korea Herald, Anne Marie Sloth Carlsen, director of the United Nations Development Programme's (UNDP) Seoul Policy Center, said UNDP wants to deepen its partnership with Korea, particularly in green technologies and anti-corruption, areas where UNDP and Korea can combine expertise and resources. “And why anti-corruption?" noted Carlsen. "Because it’s where the UNDP is strong and Korea has a lot of measures, institutions and so on."

Read the story by Shin Hyon-hee in The Korea Herald.

Corruption fuels transnational organized crime & human trafficking in Asia

[Facilitator's note: Thank you to Shervin Majlessi, Regional Anti-Corruption Adviser, UNODC Regional Office for Southeast Asia and the Pacific, for sharing this information.]

Recent articles in South China Morning Post (SCMP) and Bangkok Post show how corruption fuels transnational organized crime and human trafficking in Asia.

"The power of illegal money flows [in Asia] that are larger than the size of some national economies can hardly be overstated," said the SCMP article. "Not surprisingly, this money is used to bribe officials, perpetuating and expanding corruption throughout the region."

Citing an interview with assistant army chief Phaiboon Khumchaya, head of legal and judicial affairs of Thailand's military government, the Bangkok Post noted that "inadequate enforcement of anti-human trafficking laws and corruption among authorities assigned to maintain the laws are to blame for the US deciding to downgrade Thailand to the lowest level, or Tier 3,…

On Anniversary of Global Compact’s 10th Principle, Business Issues Call to Action Against Corruption

New York, 24 June 2014 – Marking ten years of the UN Global Compact’s 10th Principle Against Corruption, business called on Governments to address corruption and foster good governance in ways that advance the global development agenda.

Recognizing corruption as one of the greatest obstacles to economic and social development around the world, and good governance as critical for sustainable development and responsible business, the Call to Action: Anti-Corruption and the Global Development Agenda represents a call from companies to Governments to promote anti-corruption measures and to implement policies to establish systems of good governance.  

“It was clear a decade ago – and remains today – that corruption so profoundly corrodes sound business practice and good governance, and thus our ability to realize the other nine principles, that it uniquely deserved to be added to the commitments on which our Global Compact is founded,” said Georg Kell, Executive Director of the …

2014 United Nations Public Service Awards Winners

The United Nations Public Service Awards (UNPSA) is the most prestigious international recognition of excellence in public service. It rewards the creative achievements and contributions of public service institutions to a more effective and responsive public administration in countries worldwide in four categories. These are Improving Delivery of Public Services, Fostering Participation in Public Policy-making Decisions through Innovative Mechanisms, Promoting Whole-of-Government Approaches in the Information Age and Promoting Gender-responsive Delivery of Public Services. 

Through an annual competition, the United Nations Public Service Awards Programme promotes the role, professionalism and visibility of public service. It encourages exemplary public service and recognizes that democracy and successful governance are built on a competent civil service. In brief, the Awards aim to discover innovations in governance; reward excellence in the public sector; motivate publ…

The Ethical Alliance Daily - 26 June 2014

Taiwan's anti-corruption agency lacks manpower

Taiwan's Agency Against Corruption (AAC) has only 106 agents who have to accomplish the job of 3,000 employees. The AAC team relies on high-tech equipment to gather evidence. Investigators disguise as couples, tourists, office workers or students to film and record key evidence. The AAC has stations only in Taipei, Taichung and Kaohsiung. This means AAC investigators are currently spread thin traveling between northern Taiwan's Taoyuan county and Keelung.

Read the story by Hsiao Po-wen in Want China Times.

Thai anti-graft agency steps up cooperation with Philippine Ombudsman & ASEAN counterparts

[Facilitator's note: Thank you to Akharakit Keeratithanachaiyos, International Affairs Strategy Specialist, Office of the National Anti-Corruption Commission Thailand), for sharing this news release.]

Against the backdrop of proliferating economic integration initiatives and mechanisms in preparation for the establishment of the ASEAN Economic Community, a pressing policy question has been posed for its 10 member countries: How ready are ASEAN’s anti-corruption bodies in working together to tackle cross-border corruption? Thailand’s National Anti-Corruption Commission takes stock of its recent initiatives aimed at strengthening anti-corruption collaboration within ASEAN.

On 13 June 2014, Thailand’s National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Office of the Ombudsman of the Philippines at the NACC’s main office in Nonthaburi, Thailand. NACC President Panthep Klanarongran and Ombudsman Conchita Morales of the Philippines presided over the …

Myanmar charges religious affairs minister with misuse of funds

Myanmar’s religious affairs minister Hsan Sint was detained and charged with corruption as the government appointed new leaders to a religious affairs advisory group, local media reported. Hsan Sint, who was appointed to head the Religious Affairs Ministry in January last year, was accused of misusing ministerial funds at a court in the capital Naypyidaw, according to Myanmar’s 7Day Daily newspaper.

Read the story by Radio Free Asia Myanmar Service.

China's national auditor finds investment irregularities at 11 state companies

China's National Audit Office has found irregularities at 11 state-owned conglomerates ranging from misrepresentation of assets to illegal property development, highlighting the challenges the government faces in overhauling the public sector. In a separate report detailed in the official Xinhua News Agency, the auditor said around 6.7 billion yuan was misappropriated in building and operating a trans-regional power transmission project.

Read the story by Matthew Miller in Reuters.

Thai anti-graft agency to target corrupt businessmen

Thai business people found to be corruptly involved with officials in state projects will be prosecuted, under a reform plan by the military, according to anti-graft commissioner Vicha Mahakun. A drastic legal amendment will be needed to empower the National Anti-Corruption Commission to interrogate such business people after officials are found guilty of corruption, Vicha said, adding that the United Nations' anti-corruption body suggested the move to officials in various countries to add power to their anti-graft work.

Read the story by Natthapat Phromkaew in The Nation.

A First-hand Look at Oil Governance in Indonesia

"During last month’s Asia-Pacific hub training in Indonesia, the Revenue Watch Institute – Natural Resource Charter (RWI-NRC) and the Universitas Gadjah Mada organized a field trip for participants to Bojonegoro, an oil-producing district in East Java. As a training participant I had read of the region’s success in managing oil revenues and was curious to see the impact for myself. I hoped the trip would give me ideas for my role as head of advocacy at the Trade Union Rights Centre, in the capital."

Read the full commentary by Dina Ardiyanti, head of advocacy at the Trade Union Rights Centre in Jakarta, Indonesia. Her commentary originally appeared in the Natural Resource Governance Institute website.

Enhancing the UN response to strengthening Transparency, Accountability and Anti-corruption in the EE and CIS region

Corruption and state capture in Europe and Central Asia region still hamper efforts aimed at achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), impacting negatively the quality of life, access to social services, harming the business environment and the effective delivery of the public service. As such, governance and anti-corruption have being increasingly prioritized as one of the top priorities in the National Development Plans across Europe and Central Asia.

With the aim of promoting a coherent and systematic approach in the region towards Transparency, Accountability and Anti-corruption, UNDP, with the support of UNODC, organized the regional training “Integrating Anti-Corruption into the UN Programming Processes”, on June 9-10, in Istanbul, turkey.

The training targeted focal points from twelve countries that are currently undergoing the development of new UN Development Assistance Frameworks (UNDAF); these documents will provide guidance for the work of various UN …

The Ethical Alliance Daily - 24 June 2014

COMMENTARY: East Timor Media Law raises serious concerns

[Facilitator's note: Thank you to Charmaine Rodrigues, Crisis Governance Specialist (Inclusive Political Processes), UNDP New York, for sharing this information.]

In East Timor, as in many States emerging from long periods of undemocratic rule, unprofessional reporting by journalists is a widespread problem. A Media Law adopted in May of this year by the National Assembly, which is currently awaiting Presidential signature, was justified in part as being necessary to address this problem. Comments on the Law by the Centre for Law and Democracy (CLD) reveal serious problems in terms both of human rights and of the stated goals of the law.

Read the CLD analysis here.

RM13 billion probed for money laundering, says Malaysian deputy finance minister

The amount of money investigated for money laundering activities in the country between 2011 and 2013 was worth RM13.1 billion, according to Malaysian Deputy Finance Minister Datuk Ahmad Maslan. He said a total of 216 investigation papers on money laundering cases were opened by the police, followed by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Agency (119), Inland Revenue Board (115), Malaysian Customs Department (104), Bank Negara (five), Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Ministry (five) and the Securities Commission (one).

Read the story by Bernama in The Malaysian Insider.

The Ethical Alliance Daily - 20 June 2014

The Ethical Alliance Daily - 21 June 2014

The Ethical Alliance Daily - 17 June 2013

The Ethical Alliance Daily - 18 June 2014

The Ethical Alliance Daily - 19 June 2014

The Ethical Alliance Daily - 13 June 2014

COMMENTARY: Private corruption

[Facilitator's note: Thank you to Narayan Manadhar, a freelance consultant with an interest in corruption and governance issues, for allowing us to share his op-ed with AP-INTACT members.]

"The issue of private sector corruption has to be looked at not just from the narrow perspective of business bribery. One needs to go beyond and see the problem from a broader perspective, like conflict of interest and ‘revolving door’ policy. In order to restrict a revolving door policy, the government is proposing a ban on the employment of retired senior civil servants in policymaking positions in the private sector for at least three years. Without the commitment and cooperation of the private sector, this policy cannot be implemented."

Read the full commentary by Narayan Manandhar in The Kathmandu Post.

Nepal anti-graft agency "going mostly after small fry" - news report

Officials of Nepal's Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) say they have been arresting junior as well as senior officials involved in corruption and filing cases against them at the Special Court. A news report alleges that the CIAA has been taking action mostly against junior officials only and not paying much attention to corruption at higher levels. The CIAA filed 117 cases against 517 individuals at the Special Court. Of the total 517 accused, hardly 50 are senior officials.

Read the news story by Santosh Ghimire in MY Republica.

Audit office plays powerful role in China's anti-corruption crackdown

One of the powerful – but silent – allies of China's crackdown on graft is the National Audit Office (NAO), whose main task is to provide clues to agencies heading the anti-corruption campaign, especially the Central Discipline Inspection Commission (at the forefront of graft investigations). To follow the money trail, China's auditors not only examine different pieces of information but also look for links between seemingly unconnected data, according to a story in South China Morning Post.

Read the story by Keira Lu Huang in South China Morning Post.

Fight corruption "more quickly and efficiently", CSOs ask Cambodian govt

Civil society organizations (CSOs) of Cambodia have encouraged the government to implement their fight against corruption more quickly and efficiently. The CSOs issued this call during an NGO forum on promoting effectiveness in the context of good governance in Cambodia. “The social disease that is hard to cure is corruption; it is the impediment to the development of the country," said Soeung Saroeun, executive director of the Cooperation Committee for Cambodia, which hosted the forum. "Civil societies in collaboration with the anti-corruption unit must join together to fight corruption in our country.”

Read the story in Khmer Times.

Australian police look to seize $4.3 million from Buddhist nun's bank accounts

The Australian Federal Police want to seize more than $4.3 million from a Buddhist nun’s bank accounts, suspected of belonging to an international money laundering gang. The Malaysia-based nun claims the money was under the floorboards of her temple in Kuala Lumpur before it was transferred to her bank accounts in Australia. She denies any wrongdoing.

Read the story by Mark Russel in The Age.

Hong Kong probes financial firms for money laundering

Hong Kong’s banking regulator is investigating several financial institutions including at least one bank for possible breaches of the city’s anti-money laundering regulation, the South China Morning Post reported.
One bank has been questioned about its money laundering controls, the newspaper reported, citing an unidentified person.

Read the story in Bloomberg Businessweek.

Philippine senator arrested over huge corruption scam

A senator who rose to fame as an action movie hero was arrested in the Philippines, becoming the first politician detained over a massive corruption scandal allegedly involving dozens of lawmakers. He is one of three senators to have so far been indicted for their alleged roles in a scam in which lawmakers are accused of embezzling hundreds of millions of dollars allotted for development projects.

Read the story in Zee News.

COMMENTARY: Why are anti-corruption agencies more successful in some countries?

"Singapore and Hong Kong, which were once infested with corruption, are now virtually corruption-free.  In this transformation, the anti-corruption agencies in those countries played a pivotal role. They eradicated corruption in a relatively short period.  In contrast, countries such as Bangladesh and India, which lie at the top rung of the corruption league, are having a difficult time in making even a small dent in the problem. Why are anti-corruption agencies more successful in some countries than others?"

Read the full commentary by Dr M.G. Quibria, in The Financial Express.

Pakistan to hold talks with Switzerland over $200 billion ill-gotten money - minister

Pakistan's Federal Minister for Planning and Development and Reforms Ahsan Iqbal said the government would start formal negotiations with Switzerland in August to bring back around $200 billion ill-gotten money in Swiss bank accounts. Addressing a seminar on "Corruption: A threat to Good Governance and Economic Development" organized by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), Iqbal said that political stability and continuation of policies is a pre-requisite for eradication of corruption and economic growth.

Read the story by Fazal Sher in Business Recorder.

PUBLICATION: Mixed incentives - Adopting ICT innovations for transparency, accountability, and anti-corruption

[Facilitator's note: Thank you to Andrew Ecclestone, Investigator, Office of the Ombudsman, New Zealand, for sharing this information.]

Mixed incentives: Adopting ICT innovations for transparency, accountability, and anti-corruption
Bergen: Chr. Michelsen Institute (U4 Issue 2014:4) 38 p
Author(s): Tim Davies Silvana Fumega

Governments adopt anti-corruption-related ICT innovations for many reasons. Different motivations for adopting these technologies shape the way they are put into practice and the anti-corruption impacts they may have. ICT for anti-corruption should not be understood as a single approach, since different technologies, and different modes of technology adoption, create different dynamics. Whether or not a particular ICT can bring anti-corruption benefits will depend upon the design of a specific implementation, the incentives driving its adoption, and the wider context in which it is applied. This issue paper raises critical questions for policy makers, funders, a…

China jails anti-corruption activists after high-profile trial

Following a high-profile trial, China has jailed three Chinese activists who campaigned for government officials to disclose their wealth. According to a Reuters report, the activists belonged to a group that is calling on Chinese officials to disclose their wealth. In January, the founder of the group was sentenced to four years in prison.

Read the story by Megha Rajagopalan, Reuters, in Euronews.