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Showing posts from September, 2014

Indonesia's corruption commission urges Singapore to help graft probe

Indonesia's Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) has lambasted the Singaporean authorities for not being cooperative in helping it to expedite its investigation against one of its citizens allegedly involved in a high profile graft scandal in lucrative the oil and gas sector.

Read the story in Asia One.

New South Wales anti-corruption chief calls for new laws to prosecute corrupt public officials

The head of the New South Wales Independent Commission Against Corruption (Icac) has called for new laws to prosecute corrupt public officials and give greater protection to whistleblowers. Megan Latham recommended to the NSW Parliament that the NSW Crimes Act be amended to provide for the offence of misconduct in office.

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

Philippine president backs filing of charges against allies accused of corruption

Philippine President Benigno Aquino encouraged the filing of charges against his allies suspected of corruption, as a consumer group filed a complaint to the Ombudsman against the country’s head of police. “If [people] think that I have dishonest people around me, then all they have to do is file an appropriate case. The ombudsman investigates instances where complaints are unsigned or anonymous precisely to ferret out those who are not treading the correct path,” said Aquino at the Kennedy School of Government Institute of Politics at Harvard University.

Read the story by Barbara Mae Dacanay in Gulf News.

Ex-Hong Kong chief secretary admits in corruption trial that he evaded taxes on 'fees'

Rafael Hui Si-yan, former Hong Kong chief secretary admitted in court that he had evaded taxes on income totalling HK$21.8 million, earned from Thomas Kwok Ping-kwong of Sun Hung Kai Properties, in the years before and during his term as chief secretary. Of that sum, Hui received HK$18.8 million between 2004 and 2005 as remuneration for consulting work he did for SHKP starting in the summer of 2003.

Read the story by Stuart Lau in South China Morning Post.

Collage to Comprehensive -- Navigating the Global Anti-Corruption and Bribery Laws

“Much has been written in recent years about the steep rise in U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) enforcement in the wake of high profile fines in the hundreds of millions of dollars.  In response, the past decade has seen companies around the world implementing more robust compliance programs to address potential FCPA issues.  More recently, companies with an international footprint have encountered a new compliance challenge: an increasing number of anti-corruption statutes similar to the FCPA that have been enacted or newly enforced in other countries.  This globalization of anti-corruption statutes creates difficulties – and opportunities – in terms of best practices and compliance for international companies.”

Read the article by Robb Adkins and Bjorn Malmlund in Just Anti-Corruption.

Free press crucial for continued development in Vietnam

Press freedom is crucial for development, said Vietnamese Ambassador to South Korea Pham Huu Chi during a lecture organized by the Asia Society Korea Center at the ASEAN-Korea Center in Seoul.  Pham described how his country dramatically decreased the poverty rate and achieved many United Nations Millennium Development Goals in just two decades. But he cautioned that continued development would depend on a free press.

Read the story by Philip Iglauer in The Korea Herald.

Wall Street Journal - Corruption Currents: From Anti-Cybercrime Platform to Rosneft’s Deal (25 Sept 2014)

Wall Street Journal - Corruption Currents: From Anti-Cybercrime Platform to Rosneft’s Deal (25 Sept 2014). By Samuel Rubenfeld.
http://blogs.wsj.com/riskandcompliance/2014/09/25/corruption-currents-from-an-anti-cybercrime-platform-to-rosnefts-deal/

The Ethical Alliance Daily (26 Sept 2014)

Transparency International - Daily Corruption News (26 Sept 2014)

Today's top storyChina: China's communist party expels senior internet regulator for graftThomson Reuters
A senior Chinese internet regulator has been expelled from the ruling Communist Party on graft charges, China's top anti-graft body said on Friday, as it works to crack down on corruption in media and the internet.

More newsGlobal: Blatter: World Cup Corruption Probe To Stay SecretAssociated Press
Germany:Germany's dire record on protecting whistleblowersDeutsche Welle (TI mention)
Germany: German Bundestag approves ratification of UN anti-corruption conventionDeutsche Welle
Indonesia: Indonesian parliament scraps direct elections, undermining Joko WidodoThe Guardian
Portugal: Portugal's prime minister denies financial misconduct allegations that brought political stormFox News

Blogs and opinionChina: China's Real Corruption Challenge: Swatting Thousands of 'Flies'The Diplomat
US: Six ways America is hurting itself with its corporate secrecy obsessionQua…

German parliament approves UNCAC

25 Sept 2014 --- Germany's lower house of parliament has voted to approve the ratification of the United Nations anti-corruption convention. The country is one of the last in the world not to have ratified the measure. 
The Bundestag on Thursday evening paved the way for Germany to ratify the UN Convention against Corruption.
Germany's upper house of parliament, the Bundesrat, can finalize the ratification process with a further vote when they meet in October.
More than 170 of the UN's 193 members have voted to ratify the 2003 convention. Among those countries that, like Germany, have not yet done so are North Korea, Syria and Somalia.
The convention obliges nations to implement a series of anti-corruption legal measures, including punishing violating public officials.
Germany was one of the first signatories of the convention, but for many years has lacked the proper legislation that punishes parliamentarians for bribery, which is necessary for ratification.
In February of this…

CALL FOR PAPERS: Institutions of Accountability -- The "In-betweens"

[Facilitator's note: Thank you to Sofie Arjon Schuette, Advisor, U4 Anti-Corruption Resource Center at the Chr. Michelsen Institute, for sharing this information.]

Institutions of Accountability -- The “In-betweens”

Keynote: Professor Mark Bovens, University of Utrecht

Chr. Michelsen Institute in collaboration with the Department of Administration and Organization Theory, University of Bergen, arranges a workshop 22-23 April 2015 to network for potential joint future research.

Please send abstracts of no more than 300 words by 1 November 2014 
to Dr Sofie Schuette.

The thematic focus of the workshop will be a specific set of institutions that can be considered both horizontal and vertical mechanisms of public accountability. These institutions provide, on the one hand, a check on government and open channels for complaints and concerns from the population at large, on the other. This type of accountability institutions is relatively under-researched as compared to the vertical dimensi…

New Afghan president 'will not tolerate corruption'

Newly elected Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has said people in Afghanistan "demonstrated a remarkable will for wanting transformation" during this election. He said he will crack down on corruption and sack ministers where necessary. "I am not corrupt and I am not going to encourage corruption, tolerate it or become the instrument," he added.

Read the story in BBC News.

International Anti-Corruption Academy Sponsors GOPAC Anti-Corruption Award

The Global Organization of Parliamentarians Against Corruption (GOPAC) announces that the International Anti-Corruption Academy (IACA) is sponsoring the first annual GOPAC International Anti-Corruption Award. The winner of the award will be presented with a scholarship to attend the International Anti-Corruption Summer Academy (IACSA) in 2015.
The award seeks legislators and former legislators who, through their anti-corruption initiatives, have exemplified to the highest degree what it means to be a GOPAC member. The call for nominations is open until 31 October 2014 at 11:59pm EDT.

Read the GOPAC news release here: http://gopacnetwork.org/Docs/NewsReleases/2014/NR_ACawardIACA_Sept2414_EN.pdf

Contact: Ann Marie Paquet
, Communications Manager, GOPAC Global Secretariat, annmarie.paquet@gopacnetwork.org

Integrity, Anti-Corruption and the G20 Summit - An update from Brisbane

Dear friends and colleagues

The momentum towards a more focused G20 anti-corruption action plan continues, in the wake of Corruption, Integrity Systems & the G20 hosted by Griffith University and Transparency International in June.

I'm pleased to advise that our final review of G20 whistleblowing laws, released in draft at the June conference, has now been published -- and has been welcomed by members of the G20 Anti-Corruption Working Group around the world.

You can read all about it on the latest Transparency International blogpost, and download the report from Blueprint for Free Speech, Griffith University's Centre for Governance & Public Policy, or Transparency International Australia.

G20 working group co-chair, Stefano Mogini of Italy, described release of the report as ‘particularly helpful in orienting public policies and private sector behaviours in the right direction’, and expressed total agreement with ‘the importance of placing the issue of whistleblower p…

Pacific Anti-Corruption Updates (26 Sept 2014) – Solomon Islands, Fiji, Cooks Islands, PNG

[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 these updates.]

Solomon Islands: Electoral staff urged to maintain professional ethics. With the election fever gaining momentum all electoral staff have been urged to practise professional ethics in their job because of their key role in the upcoming event. http://www.solomonstarnews.com/news/national/4211-electoral-staff-urged-to-maintain-professional-ethics

Fiji: Bainimarama's promise: I will serve all. FIJIFIRST leader Rear Admiral (Ret) Voreqe Bainimarama has called on every Fijian - no matter who they voted for in this election - to join him in the mission of making Fiji the way the world should be. http://www.fijitimes.com/articleindex.aspx?date=2014/09/22

Fiji: SODELPA leader ‘will hold government accountable’. Members of the opposition have agreed for SODELPA leader Ro Teimumu Kepa to l…

WSJ - Corruption Currents: From Europol, Banks in Cyberfight to ‘Operation Fox Hunt’ (23 Sept 2014)

WSJ - Corruption Currents: From Europol, Banks in Cyberfight to ‘Operation Fox Hunt’ (23 Sept 2014). By Samuel Rubenfeld. http://blogs.wsj.com/riskandcompliance/2014/09/23/corruption-currents-from-europol-joins-banks-in-cyberfight-to-operation-fox-hunt/

The Ethical Alliance (24 September 2014)

Transparency International – Daily Corruption News (24 Sept 2014)

Transparency International – Daily Corruption News (24 Sept 2014). http://www.transparency.org/news/dcn_news/daily_corruption_news_24_september_2014

COMMENTARY: Who is “watching the watchdog” in Nepal?

[Facilitator’s note: Thank you to Narayan Manandhar, a freelance consultant with an interest in corruption and governance issues, for sharing his op-ed with us.]

“With the enactment of [Nepal’s] new anti-corruption law in 2002, the then-government… created a new watchdog agency called the National Vigilance Centre (NVC)…No one seems to have [had] the time to keep a vigil on the Vigilance Centre. The Centre has become more or less a transit point for acting secretaries. For nearly four years, the NVC chiefs did not even get to see their boss… The gradual attrition of fazil karmachari (surplus employees) has been carefully designed to empty the agency within 10-15 years… [Is] anybody watching this watchdog agency?”

Read Narayan’s full commentary in The Kathmandu Post.

China says 88 suspects in corruption, other crime returned from United States, other country

China said 88 fugitives wanted on charges of corruption and other economic offenses have been extradited or returned on their own from the United States and other countries in the midst of an anti-graft crackdown. One fugitive spent 14 years in Canada and was accused of embezzling US$10 million, the ministry said. It said another was arrested in Thailand, while 35 of the 88 suspects "were persuaded" to return from the United States, Belgium and other countries.

Read the story by the Associated Press in Start Tribune.

9-year old boy dies in Indian hospital over unpaid Rs100 bribe

A nine-year-old boy met a cruel end at a government hospital in Bihar because his family refused to pay a bribe. The incident took place at Patna Medical College and Hospital. The hospital’s pharmacist, Subhash Prasad, allegedly demanded Rs100 from his parents to replace the boy’s oxygen cylinder. The family could not afford the bribe so the miffed employee fitted the boy with an empty oxygen cylinder. The boy died soon after due to suffocation. The pharmacist is now on the run.

Read the story by LataRani in Gulf News.

TRACE International’s List of Top 5 Most Colorful Projects to Raise Anti-Bribery Awareness

From the forward-thinking, to the humorous and irreverent, these are the projects that have recently caught the attention of TRACE International, a non-profit business association that provides anti-bribery compliance services to multinational companies:

- A Walking Tour of Corruption in Prague

- The 185-Mile March to End Corruption

- Corruption Summer Camp

- Virtual Corruption

- A Museum of Corruption

Read the full story in the TRACE Blog.

1mil Vietnamese public servants declare personal assets, only one penalized for dishonesty

Nearly one million officials and public servants in Vietnam had to declare their assets, but only five cases were verified and only one was punished for dishonesty, according to a Government Inspectorate report released on September 15. Government Deputy Chief Inspector Tran Duc Luong said that it was difficult to detect corruption because the actors were usually high-ranking officials who have good knowledge of the law, good connections and relations, and mutual interest groups. Deputy Chair of the National Assembly Judiciary Committee, Nguyen Dinh Quyen, said that the implementation of personal asset declaration among state officials in order to curb corruption was ineffective because of a lack of a mechanism to control assets and income of officials and civil servants.

Read the story in VietNamNetBridge.

Indonesia fuel-subsidy corruption sets first major test for President-Elect Widodo

The breakup of an alleged fuel-smuggling ring, one of the largest ever uncovered in Indonesia, highlights how the country's swelling fuel-subsidy spending can encourage corruption, while posing the first major test for incoming President Joko Widodo. Five people were arrested on the northern Indonesian island of Batam after a government agency that tracks financial crimes found they allegedly had deposited $110 million in 100 bank accounts from the sale of subsidized fuel.

Read the story by Richard C. Paddock and Yogita Lal in The Wall Street Journal (subscription req’d).

Myanmar corruption watchdog says only three of 533 complaints have been dealt with

Myanmar’s Anti-Corruption Commission received 533 complaints in the six months since it was set up and has dealt with just three of them – 0.5 per cent, according to its own report. Many of the complaints – 170 – concerned land conflicts, while 95 were about the judiciary, with 238 related to governance, and another 30 about general matters.

Read the story in ElevenMyanmar.

APEC Anti-Corruption Experts Gather in Pattaya City in a Bid to Foster Regional Cooperation in Recovering Proceeds of Corruption

22 September 2014 – Over 150 representatives from 15 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) member economies participated in the “2nd APEC Capacity-Building Workshop on Designing Best Models on Prosecuting Corruption and Money Laundering Cases Using Financial Flow Tracking Techniques and Investigative Intelligence for Effective Conviction and Asset Recovery to Promote Regional Economic Integration” in Pattaya City on 22-24 September 2014.

Presiding over the event was His Excellency Mr. Panthep Klanarongran, President of the National Anti-Corruption Commission of Thailand (NACC). The opening speakers included the Minister of Justice, His Excellency General Paiboon Khumchaiya, NACC Commissioner Pakdee Pothisiri and Ms. Solange Huerta, Metropolitan Regional Prosecutor of the Republic of Chile.

The workshop in Pattaya City is the second installment to the highly successful APEC capacity-building workshop series that began in Santiago, Chile, in June 2013. It is a joint collaboration bet…

The State of REDD+ Finance - Working Paper 378

9/16/14

Marigold Norman and Smita Nakhooda

Abstract

This paper presents a thorough synthesis of available data to illuminate the current global state of finance for reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation (REDD+). It adds to a growing body of work that seeks to understand the size and composition of finance for REDD+ initiatives, as well as the delivery of climate finance more generally. The analysis shows that aggregate pledges of both public and private finance are significant, at more than US $8.7 billion for the period between 2006 and March 2014, but the pace of new pledges slowed after 2010. The public sector contributes nearly 90% of reported REDD+ finance, with the preponderance of funding concentrated among a relatively small number of donors and recipient countries. The paper analyzes early experience with performance-based finance, although such finance represents less than two-fifths of pledges to date. The extent to which new institutions in the climate finance…

COMMENTARY: India - Stop cartelization in public procurement

“Public procurement in India constitutes about 30% of the GDP, with the total annual expenditure of around 15-20 Lakh Crores and that for Union Government alone in the range of Rs. 2.5 – 3 Lakh Crores. This is the government activity most vulnerable to corruption, not only between the suppliers and the government staff but also within the suppliers themselves. The latter emerges in the form of cartels, i.e., bid rigging and collusive bidding. Though integrity of the procuring staff and competition between suppliers are two sides of the same coin, yet so far, the focus has largely remained on tackling departmental corruption and, except for blacklisting / holiday listing etc. against suppliers for a few years, there is hardly any policy to report bid rigging by suppliers or to detect and punish cartels of suppliers. There has been a lack of focus on the supply side issues, particularly, cartelization due to poor awareness on the tools of competition law in India.” Read the article by MM…

Hong Kong's graft-busters a model for Asia Pacific, says US official

Hong Kong's 40-year-old anti-graft agency can be a model for members of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum, a visiting US senior official says. Robert Wang, senior US State Department official for the regional bloc and US Foreign Service representative to Hong Kong in the late 1980s, suggested to Independent Commission Against Corruption Commissioner Simon Peh Yun-lu that the city could mentor Apec members. Read the story by Kristine Kwok, in South China Morning Post (requires subscription). https://groups.undp.org/t/3911809/762650/15539/5/

"Muzzling the messenger" in Timor-Leste

"Ever since gaining independence in 2002, Timor-Leste has boasted one of Asia’s freest presses. Its media exposed the mismanagement of state funds, corruption and other scandals involving government employees. But this freedom could come to an abrupt end if the parliament endorses a new law to regulate the media.

"The act has come under fierce criticism from human-rights organisations, civil society and journalists’ unions. It makes it compulsory for local and international journalists to be accredited by a government-sponsored press council. Although nominally the law enshrines the freedom of the press, it also tries to control who can qualify as a journalist."

Read the blog post by I.S. in The Economist.

COMMENTARY: Dismal rule of law in the Philippines

"It’s confirmed. The Philippines does not adhere to the rule of law. In the annual Rule of Law Index for 2014, the Philippines received dismal grades for its adherence to the rule of law. In fact, the country was a dismal failure, receiving an average score of only .5 out of 1. That’s a failing grade of 50 percent.

Read the commentary by Atty. Harry Roque Jr. in Manila Standard Today.

Cambodia anti-graft agency arrests journalist for alleged extortion

Three local reporters accused of extortion were arrested by the Anti-Corruption Unit as they enjoyed a party at a restaurant in Kampot. It marks the first time that the ACU, usually seen as an organisation that targets government officials, has arrested journalists. The journalists – Sor Sunly, a reporter for Hang Meas TV and Kampuchea Thmey, Tol Hok Ly, a reporter for TV 9, and a man known as Sovann who works for Apsara TV – have been sent to Phnom Penh for questioning.

Read the story by Sen David and Charles Rollet in The Phnom Penh Post.

NZ firm named in huge European scam

New Zealand shell companies may have played a part in the biggest money-laundering operation in Eastern Europe. A recent investigation by the Organised Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) exposed an enormous US$20 billion ($24.4 billion) transfer of dirty Russian funds, dubbed ''the Laundromat''. The complex movement of cash, between 2010 and early this year, was allegedly facilitated by judges, well-connected officials, banks and offshore companies - including at least one New Zealand firm [Chester (NZ) Limited].

Read the story by Richard Meadows in stuff.co.nz

Anti-poverty group urges G20 to tackle corruption

Anti-poverty organization ONE is urging leaders of the 20 largest economies to act decisively at an annual summit in November against money laundering, bribery, tax evasion and corruption which it estimates costs the world's poorest countries more than $1 trillion a year.

Read the story by Rod McGuirk, Associated Press.

Pacific Anti-Corruption Updates (19 Sept 2014) - Vanuatu, PNG, Fiji, Solomon Islands

[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 these updates.]

Vanuatu: PM praised for anti-corruption stance. Transparency International Vanuatu says it is getting a lot of support in its fight against corruption from the country's Prime Minister, Joe Natuman. http://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/254619/vanuatu-pm-praised-for-anti-corruption-stance

PNG: K21m misuse under old guard, NBC chief says. Papua New Guinea's National Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) managing director Memafu Kapera says up to K21 million (US$8.4 million) has been misused in the State-owned organisation. http://www.radionz.co.nz/international/programmes/datelinepacific/audio/20149837/png-warned-of-danger-in-tiny-parliamentary-opposition

Fiji: Zero tolerance on Electoral decree breaches. The Fiji Police Force has implemented a zero tolerance approach o…

New Creative Productivity Index to help foster innovation in Asia

A new Creative Productivity Index developed by the Asian Development Bank and Economist Intelligence Unit ranks 22 countries in the Asia and Pacific region according to how efficiently they can turn creative inputs into tangible innovation. The index uses 36 input indicators to measure the capacity and incentives for innovation, including how many global top 500 universities a country has, the urbanization rate, spending on research and development, protection of intellectual property rights, and corruption and bureaucracy. The eight output indicators to measure innovation include the number of patents filed, export sophistication, value added to agriculture, and the number of books and films produced.

Read the Asian Development Bank news release. See an infographic of country rankings.

Nepal "crusade" against corruption continues

[Facilitator's note: Thank you to Narayan Manandhar, a Nepal-based consultant with an interest in corruption and governance issues, for sharing this op-ed by the head of Nepal’s national anti-corruption agency.]

“[Nepal’s] Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority was formed as an apex constitutional body with the mandate to investigate and prosecute cases of corruption. It is a distinctive anti-corruption agency in South Asia, which plays the role of an ombudsman, investigator and prosecutor as well.

“It targets to combat corruption issues at a national level with system- and rights-based approach. It also focuses on detection and punishment of corrupt acts on one hand and social, cultural and institutional reform on the other. Since its inception, the CIAA has envisioned a corruption-free society with a strong foundation of rule based democracy and good governance. In this period, our country has endured arrays of change in every realm of society, whether it is in dev…

Corruption in municipal bodies poses 'biggest obstacle' in China’s battle vs graft

Rampant corruption at the municipal level could be the worst obstacle Chinese authorities face in their fight against graft. The problem was highlighted recently as media reported more cases involving local-level officials taking bribes collectively. Zhang Ming, a professor of political science at Renmin University, said that such widely entrenched corruption at the local level was even more of a problem than corrupt senior officials. "It's no use cutting off the branch of a tree if the roots are diseased," Zhang said.

Read the story in South China Morning Post (might require subscription).

Transparency International - Daily Corruption News (15 Sept 2014)

Today's top storyChile:Business corruption in Chile: Nitrate nightmare
The Economist
Chile’s stockmarket regulator dishes out huge fines over a series of illegal share trades.


More newsJamaica:Addressing of corruption a priority, says finance minister
Jamaica Observer
India:Rajan attacks banks for ‘outsourcing’ of risk assessment
Financial Times
Iran: Tehran’s vendors battle the streets to survive
The Guardian
Israel: Israeli court: Olmert to remain free pending appeal
Associated Press
Russia: Election shows Kremlin’s grip on Russian regions
Reuters
South Africa: Spy vs Spy
The Economist
South Korea:Three lawmakers indicted over bribery
Yonhap News Agency


Blogs and opinionGlobal: The British brain surgeon who joined the fight against corruption in Ukraine
The Guardian

China:Transparency and strong rule of law are key to fighting corruption
South China Morning Post


News from Transparency InternationalWeb feature: Tell the G20 to take action against secret company ownership: #UnmaskTheCorrupt
On the bl…

The Ethical Alliance Daily - 16 September 2014

Transparency and Accountability - Key Aspects of Nepal’s New Study on Drivers of Deforestation and Forest Degradation

[Facilitator's note: With thanks to Estelle Fach, REDD+ UNDP, for sharing this information.]

Following its Cross-Sectoral Policy Dialogue on REDD+, Nepal’s REDD Forestry and Climate Change Cell under the Ministry of Forests and Soil Conservation has now released its study on “Understanding drivers and causes of deforestation and forest degradation in Nepal: potential policies and measures for REDD+” (also available at www.tinyurl.com/nepal-drivers-redd).

Building on the country’s Readiness Preparation Proposal that had initially identified priority drivers in Nepal, the study adopts a political ecology perspective to analyze drivers and to emphasize the underlying political and socio-cultural causes beyond proximate drivers. Economic, transparency and accountability, tenure, socio-political, demographic and technological factors are each examined to highlight the differentiated manners that they influence illegal logging, encroachment, fuel wood consumption and road construction.

The…

"Few and Far -- The Hard Facts on Stolen Asset Recovery"

[Facilitator's note: Thank you to Elodie Beth Seo, Regional Anti-Corruption Advisor, UNDP Asia-Pacific Regional Centre, for sharing this information.]

Few and Far: The Hard Facts on Stolen Asset Recovery

A joint report by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the Stolen Asset Recovery Initiative (StAR), a partnership between the World Bank Group and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime

This report updates the 2011 edition of this report, tracking the asset recovery efforts by OECD countries between 2010 and 2012. Compared to the last reporting period (2006 to 2009), we observe a significant increase in the freezing of stolen assets. More assets have been returned, but compared to what is estimated to have been stolen, the recovered sums are low. The report also contains key recommendations for development agencies.

You can download the report under this link: http://www.oecd.org/dac/governance-development/hard-facts-stolen-asset-recovery.htm

This…

Indonesia president-elect wants to overturn law curbing anti-graft drive

Indonesian president-elect Joko Widodo wants the top court to overturn legislation that makes it more difficult to investigate lawmakers for graft, an adviser said, referring to a law passed with little publicity in one of the world's most corrupt countries. Widodo's team echoes the concerns of civil society groups that have challenged a law requiring investigators to get approval from a special parliamentary council before investigating lawmakers for corruption or other crimes.

Read the story by Kanupriya Kapoor and Yayat Supriyatna in Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Effective rules, procedures support Singapore's anti-corruption system

Tough punishments and effective law enforcement in Singapore make corruption a highly risky practice, which often lands culprits in bankruptcy in terms of both career and personal fortunes. Singapore implements an efficient anti-corruption system by increasing the chances of the culprits getting caught and raising the punishment for them.

Read the story by Chen Jipeng/Xinhua, in Global Post.

Step up drive vs money laundering, Asean urged

The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) has prodded the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), particularly Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar, to be more involved in curbing money laundering and wildlife trafficking. Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar are not members of APEC, which is composed of 21 countries and territories in the region, including the Philippines, Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore, Thailand, the United States, Taiwan, Hong Kong, China, Mexico, Papua New Guinea, Chile, Peru, Russia and Vietnam.

Read the story by Bernice Camille V. Bauzon in The Manila Times.

Former military head indicted on corruption charge

Former Military Intelligence Bureau head Lieutenant General Shen Shih-chi was indicted on a charge of violating the Anti-Corruption Act. The Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office charged Shen over alleged graft worth NT$63.84 million (US$2.13 million) from the coffers of the Ministry of National Defense. Shen headed the intelligence bureau, which is run by the ministry, from 2006 to 2008.

Read the story by Chen Wei-tzu and Jason Pan in Taipei Times.

Spate of suicides by Chinese officials tied to drive against graft

[Facilitator's note: Thank you to Elodie Beth Seo, Regional Anti-Corruption Advisor, UNDP Asia-Pacific Regional Centre, for forwarding this news report.]

“[There is] a growing list of Chinese officials who have committed suicide in recent months, a trend that some researchers suspect may be linked to an anticorruption campaign begun last year by President Xi Jinping, the toughest in decades. About 30 officials have killed themselves so far this year, sometimes as investigators closed in, according to anticorruption researchers and local news reports.”

Read the story by Didi Kirsten Tatlow in The New York Times.

Nepal - "Skeletons in the closet"

[Facilitator's note: Thank you to Narayan Manandhar, a Nepal-based consultant with an interest in corruption and governance issues, for allowing AP-INTACT to share his op-ed, which first appeared in The Kathmandu Post.]

“Many anti-corruption experts believe that an effective anti-corruption campaign cannot be launched by indulging in crimes committed long in the past. There are pragmatic and moral reasons for this. First, limited resources may be wasted investigating past crimes. Second, there can be allegations about personal vendettas or attempts to settle scores. Third, the crime may have been committed in a different context and it may not be relevant to judge the crime by today’s standards.

“So what could be the possible options? Bertrand de Speville, former commissioner of the world renowned Hong Kong anti-corruption agency, the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC), writes of six possible options, ranging from ‘doing nothing’ to declaring amnesty. In between, are o…

The Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative - A Critique and Proposed Reforms

"The natural resources sector–particularly extractive industries like mining and petroleum–is famously beset by corruption. In many countries, natural resource extraction is controlled by the wealthy, politically-connected elite, leading to a form of “resource curse” in which the majority of the population does not benefit from natural resource wealth and economic development outside the extractive sector stagnates. One of the most prominent strategies that has emerged in recent years to combat corruption in the extractive sector is a push for greater transparency. While many advocates of this strategy have pushed–with some qualified success–for laws that require greater disclosure by companies and governments, one of the most important pro-transparency initiatives is voluntary: the so-called Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI)."

Read the post by Maryum Jordan in The Global Anticorruption Blog.

Non-cash transactions would end ‘cash-and-carry’ corruption

Crooks love to settle payments in cash because it is safer than bank transfers, which can be easily traced by the Financial Transaction Reports and Analysis Center (PPATK) that can pass the information to the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK). The PPATK has proposed that — until the country passes a law on business transactions — Bank Indonesia issue a decree limiting cash transactions to Rp 100 million. Any transactions exceeding Rp 100 million should be conducted through bank transfers.

Read the article by Pandaya in The Jakarta Post.

Australian public servant faces likely corruption charges

A middle-ranking public servant is the first person to be targeted for criminal charges by South Australia’s Independent Commission Against Corruption. Commissioner Bruce Lander has revealed the case file has been referred to Director of Public Prosecutions Adam Kimber and is likely to be followed by several others in coming weeks.

Read the story by Nigel Hunt in The Australian.

New law proposed to weed out "rotten" civil servants in Malaysia

Special legislation is needed to deal with Malaysian government officials who flaunt regulations and act against the interest of the public. This was one of the five recommendations of the Anti-Corruption Advisory Board (ACAB) as it focused on the misconduct of civil servants and the lack of action against them.

Read the story by Haresh Deol in Malay Mail Online.

Bangladesh anti-graft body finds no corruption in Padma Bridge project

The Anti-Corruption Commission has found 'no proof of corruption or conspiracy’ in the Padma Bridge project and will drop the names of all suspects from the final report it will submit to court. The ACC will submit the report of its investigations into the alleged corruption in the project any day, its Chairman Md Badiuzzaman told a press briefing.

Read the story in bdnews24.

Indonesia gov't, civil society partnership encourages greater data transparency

The Government of Indonesia launched Portal Data Indonesia (http://data.id), an initiative the government hopes will encourage more data transparency in the country. The Indonesia Data Portal was developed in response to public demand for easily accessible official government data. Today, 23 institutions, including two regional governments, will publish approximately 700 datasets, with topics ranging from the economy, to education, energy, healthcare, and procurement. The free data are in electronic form, and can be easily accessed and understood; the public is able to read the data in visual form, or on an app created jointly by the government and civil society.

Read the World Bank press release.

Seoul conference stresses governance as key to economic development

Some 500 top policymakers, academics and relief workers from around the world stressed the significance of good governance in achieving sustainable economic growth and social integration during a conference in Seoul. The one-day annual event was hosted by the Korea International Cooperation Agency, the country’s grant aid organization, on the theme “Good governance and effective institutions.”

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