Showing posts from July, 2014

PAPER: The Fiscal Cost of Weak Governance: Evidence from Teacher Absence in India

The Fiscal Cost of Weak Governance: Evidence from Teacher Absence in India
Karthik Muralidharan, Jishnu Das, Alaka Holla, and Aakash Mohpal
NBER Working Paper No. 20299
July 2014

We construct a new nationally-representative panel dataset of schools across 1297 villages in India and find that the large investments in public primary education over the past decade have led to substantial improvements in input-based measures of school quality, including infrastructure, pupil-teacher ratios, and monitoring. However, teacher absence continues to be high, with 23.6 percent of teachers in public schools across rural India being absent during unannounced visits to schools. Improvements in school infrastructure and service conditions are not correlated with lower teacher absence. We find two robust correlations in the nationally-representative panel data that corroborate findings from smaller-scale experiments. First, reductions in pupil-teacher ratios are correlated with increa…

Almost 150 million USD lost to corruption in Laos

More than 1.2 trillion Lao kip (149.40 million U.S. dollars) has been misappropriated from 2012 to the present day through corruption, according to state-run daily Vientiane Times. The announcement was made by Head of the Government Inspection Authority Bounthong Chitmany during his report to the National Assembly (NA) on the status of inspection and anti-corruption activities. According to Bounthong, the authority inspected more than 300 targets since 2012. The main forms of corrupt activity were personal abuse of power for personal benefit, bribery, forgery of documents, illegally modifying technical standards and designs, and delaying document approval for personal gain.
Read the story by Xinhua in Shanghai Daily.

Pacific Anti-Corruption Updates (31 July 2014) -- Solomon Islands, Fiji, West Papua, PNG, Tonga

[Facilitator's note: Thank you to Tony Prescott, Annika Wythes, Isikeli Valemei, Luisa Senibulu, and Samita Singh of the joint UNDP-UNODC Pacific Regional Anti-Corruption Project, for sending these updates.]
SOLOMON ISLANDS: Concerns over vote buying in Solomon Islands Transparency Solomon Islands wants the Electoral Commission and government to help stamp out vote buying ahead of this year's elections. Tubi log case returns to court The case involving a Taiwanese national will return to court on August 13. Solomons police boss under scrutiny The Solomon Islands police force has come under criticism for the appointment of a man accused of manufacturing a riot at an Australian offshore detention centre.…

The Ethical Alliance Daily - 24, 25, and 26 July 2014

Transparency in Myanmar Enterprises report launched

[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.]

Last week the Myanmar Centre for Responsible Business (MCRB) launched the first TiME/Pwint Thit Sa report looking at the transparency of Myanmar company websites relating to information on responsible business practices.  The ground-breaking report, which draws on established methodology from Transparency International, analyses how much information company websites provide on anti-corruption, organizational transparency, and human rights, health, safety and the environment (HSE). The aim of the report is to encourage increased transparency by Myanmar businesses in these areas.

Access the report in Myanmar Centre for Responsible Business.

Jokowi Cabinet in focus as KPK pushes for clean line-up

[Facilitator's note: Thank you to Adhi Setyo Tamtomo, International Cooperation Specialist, Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK), Indonesia, for sharing this information.]

Two days after Indonesia's General Election Commission announced Joko Widodo as winner of the July 9 presidential election, focus has shifted to whom the next president will select for his cabinet. Observers and analysts have urged the president-elect to appoint individuals detached from vested interest for both corporations and political parties to ministerial posts in order to create a strong and stable government. KPK deputy chairman Busyro Muqqodas has warned Joko not to include politicians implicated in graft cases in his cabinet. “Please avoid appointing dirty politicians or dirty business owners,” he said.

Read the story by Dessy Sagita in The Jakarta Globe.

COMMENTARY: Threat from within - Corrupt ties in Korea's defense sector

"The defense industry is certainly vulnerable to corruption. Yet, the recent case in which seven people, including retired and serving military officers, were indicted for trading military secrets is truly upsetting. State and military prosecutors said earlier this week that after a joint investigation, they indicted three active military officers and four others on charges of violating the Military Secrets Protection Act."

Read the editorial in The Korea Herald.

The $3.3 million apartment owned by Putin’s apparently unemployed daughter

The European media today is covering the story of how Maria Putin, the daughter of Vladimir Putin, allegedly abandoned a $3.3 million apartment she owns in the Netherlands and returned to Russia following the downing of Malaysia Flight MH17. Maria Putin is a politically exposed person in anti-money laundering law, as is her father, mother, sister and boyfriend Jorrit Faassen, and each of their close personal and business associates. She is also apparently not employed.

Read the article by Christine Duhaime in  Duhaime's Anti-Money Laundering Law in Canada.

Laos focuses on countering corruption

The President of the State Inspection Authority of Laos says the Lao government pays close attention to addressing corruption around the country. Responding to questions from members of the National Assembly, Dr Bounthong Chitmany said corruption poses a threat to the stability of the Party and the Government and affects the socio-economic development of the country. "Laos is implementing an anti-corruption strategic plan until 2020 including four action plans and 16 projects," he said. "One newly enacted measure requires civil servants and officers to declare their properties and incomes. This is expected to be completed by the end of this year."

Read the story in Thai PBS.

Myanmar residents protest against hospital corruption

Over a hundred residents staged a protest against staff and doctors from Myaungmya Township General Hospital who they say took bribes on top of normal hospital fees. The protests were sparked after a patient committed suicide because he could not afford the hospital fees after hospital officials requested bribes to carry out treatment.

Read the story in Eleven.

Resources sector needs oversight in Vietnam

A demand to improve management of Vietnam's natural resources to stop its depletion and degradation was made at a seminar on boosting transparency in natural resources management. Participants at the seminar agreed on the necessity to fight corruption and strengthen the transparency in managing natural resources.

Read the story in VietNamNet Bridge.

South Eastern Europe in review: Where citizens are the experts

July 24, 2014 by

More than 2,500 people are now using the “Be Responsible” grey economy-tracking mobile app in Montenegro
Whenever I discuss the governance challenges in South Eastern Europe, the discussion quickly boils down to one issue: (anti) corruption. At the recently organized SELDI policy advocacy workshop, we went back to the basic principles of “good governance.”
This opened up a wider debate indicating that now may be the time to both reframe the issue and bring in some new approaches.
Both of these were featured in a presentation I recently produced on how citizen participation can contribute to addressing the governance challenge.
My goal is to unpack three broader concepts: good governance, innovation, and collaboration.1. Good governance – An honest and responsive government was at the top of the list in the global post-2015 consultations. Talking about the good governance challenge is difficult and can be controversial.
However, the fact that UNDP enumerated a…

Corruption seen as 'socially acceptable' - Hong Kong law professor

The former dean of the University of Hong Kong's faculty of law is alarmed at the erosion of the city's core values. Professor Johannes Chan Man-mun said the erosion was evident despite higher awareness of the importance of a sound legal system. "Corruption has grown more serious," he said. "It's not even about people breaking the law; what is scarier is how corruption is seen as socially acceptable."

Read the story by Jennifer Ngo, in South China Morning Post.

How corruption risk can be avoided in Bangladesh

"Several retailers found themselves in a jam last year after fires decimated many clothing factories in Bangladesh. In those cases, the fires were caused by a number of clear compliance violations. They were over packed, exits were blocked and the buildings had also undergone a number of structural changes that inspectors were paid to approve or overlook. For example, extra floors were built, a helipad was installed and electrical cables were exposed throughout these facilities. The Bangladesh fires are an example of corruption being a major catastrophe in nearly every sense, ranging from financial drawbacks to social losses to loss of life to reputation damage. "

Read the commentary by Steve Taylor in Resolver.

Prestigious business programs in China slammed as 'schools for graft'

A story in Want China Times alleges that programs offered by higher education institutions in China for business and industry professionals are attracting a growing number of government officials and such programs are being used by politicians and entrepreneurs alike for networking to further their interests. Chinese Academy of Governance professor Zhu Lijia said such courses can spawn corruption and a loss of public resources and suggested the party's Central Commission for Discipline Inspection should look into them.

Read the story in Want China Times.

PAPER: The Case for an International Anti-Corruption Court

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

The Case for an International Anti-Corruption Court

By Judge Mark L. Wolf

Public corruption is endemic at the highest levels of government in many nations.  Such "grand corruption" is costly, is closely correlated with the most serious abuses of human rights, and threatens the stability of many nations and the world.  Grand corruption depends on a culture of impunity that exists because of the unwillingness of leaders to permit the honest and able investigation of their friends, families, and, indeed, themselves.

International efforts to combat grand corruption have been inadequate and ineffective.  Similar circumstances concerning genocide and other egregious abuses of human rights led to the creation of the International Criminal Court ("ICC") in 2002.

An International Anti-Corruption Court ("IACC"), similar to the ICC or as pa…

Indian city installs ATM-like machines to register complaints against police, fight corruption

Indian officials vowing to clamp down on police corruption have installed automated machines where people can file complaints about officers that are sent straight to the senior police chiefs. The pilot project is being first tested in India’s western Gujarat city of Ahmedabad where the automated complaint machines, which have been described as looking like ATM machines, been set up at the Sanand Police Station. Without any charge and completely without the need to speak to a local policeman, locals are able to file complaints about local officers.

Read the story in Vancouver Desi.

Reining in corruption could prevent Third World child deaths

"The Tackling Tax and Saving Lives report says half the countries in sub-Saharan Africa collect less than 17 per cent of their gross domestic product in tax revenue, whereas in rich countries the average is 35 per cent. If all developing countries were to mobilise 20 per cent of GDP in tax, 287,000 child deaths could be averted each year, and an additional 72 million people could have access to clean water. Often tax revenues provide far more financing than overseas development aid, particularly in middle-income countries. In sub-Saharan Africa only eight out of 34 countries receive more aid than they generate in tax revenues."
Read the articleby Matt Wade in The Sydney Morning Herald.

Paper: The Case for an International Anti-Corruption Court

Judge Mark Wolf developed “The Case for an International Anti-Corruption Court” after presenting the concept at the 2014 World Forum on Governance, convened by the Brookings Institution and Czech nonprofit Zaostřeno in Prague, Czech Republic. To learn more about the WFG, read the Prague Declaration and the 2012 Conference Report. An op-ed by Judge Wolf on the need for an international anti-corruption court is also featured by the Washington Post.

Public corruption is endemic at the highest levels of government in many nations.  Such "grand corruption" is costly, is closely correlated with the most serious abuses of human rights, and threatens the stability of many nations and the world.  Grand corruption depends on a culture of impunity that exists because of the unwillingness of leaders to permit the honest and able investigation of their friends, families, and, indeed, themselves.

International efforts to combat grand corruption have been inadequate and ineffective.  Similar…

Indonesia's evaluation of its online forest permit system - an update

As part of the follow-up to the recommendations developed through its Participatory Governance Assessments (PGA), with the goal to identify and mitigate inefficiencies and corrupt practices in the process of applying for and obtaining forest permits, Indonesia is undertaking, with UN-REDD targeted support, an evaluation of its online forest permit system.

Interviews, based on a questionnaire agreed upon by the Ministry of Forestry, all members of the PGA Expert Panel and the Presidential Working Unit for Supervision and Management of Development (UKP4), are targetting both the supply side (40 people in all units within the Ministry of Foresty) and the demand side (over 127 individuals or companies who have previously applied for permits).

In East Kalimantan, a focus group discussion was also organized with representatives of the private sector to discuss the systems challenges, shortcomings and proposals to solve them. The evaluation report is expected in October 2014.

For more informati…

Public servants Down Under investigated over $25m in allegedly corrupt contracts

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

A Victorian public servant accepted cash, a white piano and a jet ski named Bazdawgs as he and a colleague improperly awarded $25m in contracts, an anti-corruption hearing has heard. Barry Wells and Albert Ooi allegedly gained $3m from giving Public Transport Victoria contracts to companies they owned and to other entities in exchange for cash and gifts.

Read the story by the Australian Associated Press in The Guardian.

Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity – Integrity Commissioner End of Term

[Facilitator's note: Thank you to Tony Prescott, Annika Wythes, Isikeli Valemei, Luisa Senibulu, and Samita Singh of the joint UNDP-UNODC Pacific Regional Anti-Corruption Project, for sharing this media release.]

21 July 2014

Today, I congratulate Mr Philip Moss as we farewell him from his post as Integrity Commissioner, and head of the Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity (ACLEI).

Mr Moss has served the Australian Government's law enforcement and integrity communities with distinction since July 2007, when he was appointed the inaugural Integrity Commissioner. His term as Integrity Commissioner ends tomorrow, 22 July 2014.

As Integrity Commissioner, Mr Moss has provided invaluable leadership in the fight against corruption. He has led a number of significant anti-corruption investigations, including Operation Heritage, which concerned corrupt conduct at Sydney International Airport. These investigations have resulted in strengthened anti-corruption arrangements in …

UN, EU Hold Training to Strengthen Nigeria’s Political Leaders

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the European Union held a leadership course for youth leaders of Nigeria’s political parties. The aim of the training was to strength their capacity as they prepared to become key pillars of democratic policy.
The training was held in Jos, the Plateau State capital, under UNDP’s Democratic Governance for Development Project. At the event, the UNDP resident representative to Nigeria, Daouda Toure, emphasised the importance of political parties as essential pillars for a vibrant democracy.
He urged participants to embrace values of good governance with adequate consideration given to cultural values and traditional institutions. He also underscored the need for effective communication for sustainable democracy.
Read the storyin Channels TV.

The Ethical Alliance Daily – 22 & 23 July 2014

The Ethical Alliance Daily – 22 & 23 July 2014

Japan to set up special sports corruption unit ahead of Tokyo 2020

The Japanese government has announced plans to set up a special policing unit to monitor and investigate corruption threats to its nations sporting bodies. Government officials confirmed that multiple government agencies would co-operate with the special unit in order to fight sports corruption in Japan and potential threats from abroad ahead of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
Read the post by Ted Menmuir in SBC News.

Iran judiciary investigates Ahmadinejad-era hiring practices

In Iran’s latest corruption case, the administration of former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad stands accused of overseeing the hiring of hundreds of thousands of unqualified ministerial staff members. The most severe hiring violations reportedly occurred at the Education Ministry. Iranian parliamentarian Gholamali Jaffarizadeh Imanabadi claims that of the 76,000 people hired by the ministry in the final two years of Ahmadinejad’s administration, approximately 2% were illiterate, 14% had only primary education, 19% had middle-school education and 1% graduated from high school. Read the story by Arash Karami in Al-Monitor.

Pacific Anti-Corruption Updates - PNG, Fiji, Solomon Islands, Samoa, Cook Islands (23 July 2014)

[Facilitator's note: With thanks to Tony Prescott, Annika Wythes, Isikeli Valemei, Luisa Senibulu, and Samita Singh of the joint UNDP-UNODC Pacific Regional Anti-Corruption Project, for sharing these updates.]

PNG: Police boss ordered back to court. The National Court in Papua New Guinea has ordered the new Police Commissioner, Geoffrey Vaki, to appear in court for contempt of court charges.

Fiji: Former Principal Accountant gets three-month jail term. A former Principal Accountant at the Ministry of Industry and Trade received a three-month jail sentence by the Suva Magistrates Court.

Fiji: Financial Intelligence Unit records 522 suspicious transaction reports in 2013. The total annual value of suspicious transactions that were reported to the Fiji Financial Intelligenc…