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Showing posts from March, 2019

Pacific Anti-Corruption Updates (30 March 2019): PNG, Fiji, Tonga, Vanuatu

PNG: First Youth Against Corruption Forum. Youth Against Corruption Association (YACA) held its first Youth Forum of the year on March 23rd. http://www.looppng.com/png-news/first-youth-against-corruption-forum-83334Catholic Bishops in PNG criticize O'Neill Govt over corruption. Catholic bishops in Papua New Guinea have criticized the O'Neill government for failing to take action on corruption and for what they call is general incompetence.https://www.onepng.com/2019/03/catholic-bshops-in-png-criticize-oneill.htmlPNG shakedown: Home Affairs contractor asked for $8 million political donation. An Australian Government contractor on Manus Island was asked by a senior Papua New Guinea official in 2017 for a multi-million-dollar donation to the ruling party of Prime Minister Peter O’Neill.https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/png-shakedown-home-affairs-contractor-asked-for-8-million-political-donation-20190322-p516j7.htmlCorruption seen as ‘serious’ threat. Corruption is the …

Malaysian academe case / Korean Air scandal / Viet Nam new law

Duo claim trial in RM1.48mil graft case.  Prof. Hartini and contractor Nazrul allegedly misappropriated funds belonging to a local Malaysian university’s Industry Centre of Excellence (ICoE) amounting to RM1.48mil (US$363,000) between January 2014 and June 2015.G.C. Tan/The Star: https://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2019/03/28/duo-claim-trial-in-rm148mil-graft-case/Scandal-hit Korean Air chief forced off board by shareholders.  Cho Yang-ho, who is currently on trial for corruption, failed to secure a required two-thirds majority to extend his term as director, becoming the first controlling shareholder of a South Korean conglomerate to be forced off the board.Bangkok Post:https://www.bangkokpost.com/news/world/1651968/scandal-hit-korean-air-chief-forced-off-board-by-shareholdersRetired officials must wait for a new start.  Under Viet Nam’s new anti-corruption law, retired government officials will not be allowed to found, own or run private companies for at least six months a…

Gender and corruption / Malaysian judiciary reform / Chinese company training

Gender and corruption: where do we go from here? (Blog).  “Commitments are a valuable starting point, but without real action, they’re simply empty promises. Here are [seven] ideas countries could use to tackle gender and corruption...”M Emilia Berazategui/Transparency International: https://voices.transparency.org/gender-and-corruption-where-do-we-go-from-here-e891900f5d0fMsian Bar called on to help cast off negative perception of judiciary.  In the Malaysian Chief Justice’s speech during the launch of the UNDP report on the International Framework for Court Excellence (IFCE) Malaysia, CJ Malanjum said a collaboration between the judiciary and the legal fraternity is needed on the matter as it concerns both parties.Khairah N Karim/The New Straits Times: https://www.nst.com.my/news/nation/2019/03/471974/msian-bar-called-help-cast-negative-perception-judiciaryJD.com employees visit prisons for anti-corruption education.  E-commerce company JD.com has drawn public attention by t…

Thai politician assets / Accountability research lessons / Nepal contract cuts

Come clean on assets (Editorial).  “The plan by Future Forward Party leader Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit to voluntarily transfer his assets to a so-called “blind trust” prior to becoming an MP is a welcome move, even though it is no magic bullet to avoid potential conflicts of interest.”Bangkok Post: https://www.bangkokpost.com/opinion/opinion/1648336/come-clean-on-assets5 Emerging Lessons from new research into Empowerment and Accountability in Messy Places (Blog).  “Synthesizing dozens, of papers, articles etc. (academics sure do pile up the wordcount), John Gaventa identified 5 lessons from the research, with implications for DFID and other donors…”Duncan Green/Oxfam Blogs:https://oxfamblogs.org/fp2p/5-emerging-lessons-from-new-research-into-empowerment-and-accountability-in-messy-places/Nepali bureaucrats regularly asked for ‘their cut’ from Melamchi contractor, Italian officials say.  Rampant corruption, regular demands for commission by government officials, and labyrinthi…

Pacific Anti-Corruption Updates (23 March 2019): PNG, Fiji, Solomon Islands

PNG: TIPNG working to better inform communities for better transparency. Transparency International PNG has completed a workshop in West New Britain on how to monitor and report governance issues more effectively.https://postcourier.com.pg/tipng-working-better-inform-communities-better-transparency/FIJI: Former staff of Fiji Forest Industries faces corruption-related charges. Former Sales and Marketing Officers Manwar Buksh and Salend Chetty were each charged with one count of abuse of office obtaining a financial advantage and corrupt transactions with agents.https://www.fbcnews.com.fj/news/court/former-staff-of-fiji-forest-industries-faces-corruption-related-charges/SOLOMON ISLANDS: SICCI hosts AGM, elects new Board. The Solomon Islands Chamber Commerce and Industry (SICCI) now has a new Board that will lead its mandate for the next twelve (12) months. Advocating on core business concerns such as tax reform, corruption, land reform, developing new sectors; and more broadly for…

India anti-graft ombudsman / Sri Lanka Anti-Corruption plan / Nepal stocks software

India finally gets anti-graft ombudsman.  India has appointed former Supreme Court Judge Pinaki Chandra Ghose as the country’s first anti-corruption ombudsman or chairman of the Lokpal, after activists have called for this move for the last five years; Ghose will have the power to investigate any complaint of corruption against any public entity – including the Prime Minister. Asia Times: https://www.asiatimes.com/2019/03/article/india-finally-gets-anti-graft-ombudsman/Sri Lanka president launches 5-year Anti-Corruption Action Plan.  President Maithripala Sirisena launched a five-year Anti-Corruption Action Plan aiming to create a corruption-free country by 2023; it will include banning officials from receiving gifts in exchange for services. Xinhua:http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/2019-03/18/c_137904907.htmAnti-graft body to probe stock trading software deal.  Nepal’s Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority is preparing to investigate possible corruption in the …

Money and politics / Jakarta political financing / Thailand politician ethics

Anti-corruption in the OGP: Opening up money and politics to ensure fairness and equality (Blog).  “The [Open Government Partnership] provides a space for civil society to advance politically sensitive issues, such as money in politics, and ensure they get to the top of the agenda of urgent policy reforms.”Jose Maria Marin/Transparency International: https://voices.transparency.org/anti-corruption-in-the-ogp-opening-up-money-and-politics-to-ensure-fairness-and-equality-c1ea8e4b9e48Breaking the cycle of corruption (Editorial).  “It is not impossible to break this cycle of corruption. We can start by reforming the campaign and political party financing system and punishing the parties…that keep electing corrupt leaders.”The Jakarta Post: https://www.thejakartapost.com/academia/2019/03/18/breaking-the-cycle-of-corruption.htmlCiting ethics, Thanathorn puts assets under blind trust.  Though it’s still uncertain whether Future Forward Party leader Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit will h…

Indonesia president's ally / Myanmar local governments / Nissan governance proposals

Indonesian president's ally faces graft case.   The head of a political party backing Indonesian President Joko Widodo’s bid for a second term has been named by KPK as a suspect in a graft case involving job postings at the Religious Affairs Ministry.Bangkok Post: https://www.bangkokpost.com/news/asean/1645728/indonesian-presidents-ally-faces-graft-caseNLD Must Address Local Governments’ Woeful Performances (Opinion).  “In addition to keeping corruption in check, however, the Union government should now consider reviewing the performance of regional governments led by chief ministers across the country, as pubic complaints of incompetence against some state and regional governments have emerged from Kachin State in the north to Tenasserim in the south.”Kyaw Phyo Tha/The Irrawaddy: https://www.irrawaddy.com/opinion/commentary/nld-must-address-local-governments-woeful-performances.htmlNissan governance improvement panel to release proposals on March 27.  The committee, forme…

1MDB overseas repercussions / Indonesia campaign funding / Thailand reform needs

Fed sanctions former Goldman Sachs bankers over 1MDB money-laundering scandal.  The U.S. Federal Reserve had sanctioned Tim Leissner and Roger Ng, two former Goldman Sachs Group Inc bankers, for their roles in "a scheme that illegally diverts billions of dollars from a Malaysian sovereign wealth fund,”Suzanne Barlyn and Katanga Johnson/Yahoo Finance: https://finance.yahoo.com/news/u-fed-sanctions-former-goldman-141903484.htmlIndonesia needs transparency in campaign funding (Opinion).  “Rather than speaking in generalities, the candidates should adopt three specific proposals. First, they should support legislation that would impose strict limits on the amount of money a candidate can spend in a presidential election. Second, they should support legislation that would require public disclosure of all campaign-related expenditures. Finally, they should support strict enforcement, and harsh penalties for violations, of these requirements.”Ahmad Novindri Aji Sukma/Asia Times:h…

Pacific Anti-Corruption Updates (16 March 2019): PNG, Fiji, Vanuatu, Tonga

PNG:UPNG interim chancellor resigns – report. The minister cited allegations of corruption and sexual misconduct among reasons for the move.https://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/384732/upng-interim-chancellor-resigns-reportPNG bishops attack govt over corruption. Catholic bishops of Papua New Guinea have lambasted the government for failing to take action on corruption and for what they call its general incompetence.https://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/384461/png-bishops-attack-govt-over-corruptionFIJI: $89,623 proceeds of crime forfeited to Fiji. Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum stated the Government plans to utilize the forfeited assets to fund efforts to strengthen Fiji’s capacity to combat money-laundering.https://www.fbcnews.com.fj/news/crime/89623-proceeds-of-crime-forfeited-to-fiji/Plea time in FICAC case against ex-WAF workers. A former employee of the Water Authority of Fiji, Lasisasa Valesu, charged with abuse of office, forgery obtai…

UNDP-OGP MoU signed / Anti-corruption in-group analysis / Sri Lanka laundering risks

UNDP and OGP sign MoU for 2030 Agenda and Open Government.  “Having worked together as multilateral partners since 2013 to advance shared principles of transparency, open government, gender equality, inclusion, and rule of law— both institutions are now strengthening their partnership at the thematic, country, regional and global levels.”United Nations Development Programme:  https://www.undp.org/content/undp/en/home/news-centre/news/2019/undp-and-ogp-sign-mou-for-2030-agenda-and-open-government.htmlAnti-Corruption Programs — Know Your Crowd! (Blog).“If we believe that social norms should be part of multi-faceted anti-corruption programming, then we need to know how to identify and change social norms, which includes determining who is in the group.”Cheyanne Scharbatke-Church and Diana Chigas/The Fletcher School, Tufts University: https://sites.tufts.edu/ihs/anti-corruption-programs-know-your-crowd/Understanding the risks of money laundering in Sri Lanka (Opinion).  “In light of S…

Myanmar chief minister / Bangladesh energy sector / South Korea pop star

Tanintharyi Chief Minister Arrested on Bribery, Corruption Charges.—Tanintharyi Region Chief Minister Daw Lei Lei Maw was arrested on bribery and corruption charges for awarding improper construction contracts in Dawei, according to the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC)San Yamin Aung/The Irrawaddy: https://www.irrawaddy.com/news/burma/tanintharyi-chief-minister-arrested-bribery-corruption-charges.htmlMake it transparent.  Bangladesh’s Centre for Policy Dialogue urged the government to discontinue the Speedy Supply of Power and Energy Act immediately, calling on the energy and power sector to shift its activities from the emergency management initiated in the early 2010s to market-led management, reducing the lack of transparency, accountability, efficiency, irregularities and corruption.The Daily Star: https://www.thedailystar.net/backpage/news/make-it-transparent-1713301Big Bang’s Seungri retires amid sex, drug and corruption scandal.  Allegations surrounding the K-Pop star Seungr…

Participatory anti-corruption videos / Anti-corruption in OGP / Japanese roads cartel

How video can empower communities and be a tool for change (Blog/Resource).  "InsightShare and Transparency International launched a guidebook on how to plan, produce and create impact with participatory video. Combatting Corruption Through Participatory Video: A Guide for Practitioners is the result of 10 years of collaboration between the two organisations on projects with citizens worldwide, and it's free to download now."Chris Lunch/Transparency International: https://voices.transparency.org/how-video-can-empower-communities-and-be-a-tool-for-change-34955dbdf7aaAnti-corruption in the OGP: new year, new opportunities (Blog).  "For the past three years we have been collaborating to ensure that the [Open Government Partnership] — as an implementing mechanism of policy reform — includes ambitious reforms in national action plans that seek to enhance the ability of governments to prevent, detect and sanction corruption."Jose Maria Marin/Transparency Inte…

Gender-smart open contracting / Thai bank probe / Chinese entrepreneur disappears

Gender-smart open contracting: empowering communities and enabling inclusive growth (Blog).  “Public procurement is the government’s number one corruption risk. And corruption has a strong gender element. Recognising the gendered aspects to corruption from sextortion to modern slavery in the supply chain and creating measures to both prevent and prosecute.”Hera Hussain/Open Contracting Partnership: https://www.open-contracting.org/2019/03/08/gender-smart-open-contracting/Bank of Thailand awaiting KTB probe of Energy Earth loans.  The Bank of Thailand is waiting for a complete report from Krungthai Bank (KTB) on the investigation into the serious allegations against Mr. Kittiphun Anutarasoti, CIMB Thai (CIMBT) chief, regarding his misconduct and fraud for his own and others' benefit,and a probe into loans extended to Energy Earth which resulted in a huge damage. Somruedi Banchongduang/Bangkok Post: https://www.bangkokpost.com/business/news/1642432/bank-of-thailand-awaiti…

Business internal controls / Thailand forest reserve / China anti-corruption concerns

Strong internal controls can enhance profitability.  A strong internal control system would enhance efficiency and profitability and reduce risks and costs for companies, said Brook Horowitz who was speaking at a workshop organized by UNDP and Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry, on the use of internal control mechanisms and codes of conduct.Viet Nam News: https://vietnamnews.vn/society/506536/strong-internal-controls-can-enhance-profitability.html#44HeA1e6hY6mWRZl.97Thank you to Brook Horowitz, CEO of IBLF Global for sharing this article.Questions raised over Cabinet nod for SCG use of forest reserve.  Veera Somkwamkid, secretary-general of the People’s Network Against Corruption, posted on his page that the military-installed government should have not rushed to give the corporate giant a green light, because the use of the said land plots threatened to destroy the country’s natural resources and environment.Chularat Saengpassa and Pratch Rujivanarom/The Nation:http://www…

Pacific Anti-Corruption Updates (9 March 2019): PNG, Fiji, Tonga, Vanuatu, Samoa, Solomon Islands

PNG: Plea made for people to stay firm on war on corruption.  Transparency International PNG is encouraging people to fight corruption by reporting to its Advocacy and Legal Advice Centre (ALAC).https://www.thenational.com.pg/plea-made-for-people-to-stay-firm-on-war-on-corruption/Legal aid outreach in EHP. Transparency International (TIPNG) was recently in Goroka town to report corruption to its Advocacy & Legal Advice Centre (ALAC). http://www.looppng.com/png-news/legal-aid-outreach-ehp-82935FIJI: Festival Committee Members on Probe.  Organising committee members of festival have come under the spotlight for allegedly misusing funds. https://fijisun.com.fj/2019/03/03/festival-committee-members-on-probe/Represent yourselves or get a new lawyer; Cypriots told.  Two Cyprus nationals charged with money laundering were yesterday ordered to engage a lawyer who could represent them within three weeks.https://fijisun.com.fj/2019/03/06/represent-yourselves-or-get-new-lawyer-cypriot…

Open Data inventory / Thai politicians policies / Accountability M&E competencies

Open Data Inventory 2018/2019 (Resource).  The Open Data Inventory (ODIN) assesses the coverage and openness of official statistics to help identify gaps, promote open data policies, improve access, and encourage dialogue between national statistical offices (NSOs) and data users.Open Data Watch: http://odin.opendatawatch.com/Report/annualReportHow politicians think they can fight corruption.Thai politicians competing in the March-24 general election agree that corruption is a scourge that is undermining the Thai society and dealing with it will be one of their priorities if they come to power after the poll.Thai PBS World:https://www.thaipbsworld.com/how-politicians-think-they-can-fight-corruption/Three core competencies essential for M&E practitioners in the accountability field (Blog).  “…I was struck by the overwhelming need for not only practical MEL skills but the range of capacities required to address the multi-level challenges they face. What emerged for me is that t…

Bangladesh civil aviation / Indonesia freezes account / Malaysia SOE ex-GM

Graft plagues civil aviation.Biman Bangladesh airlines high-ups, including some of its board members, have been misappropriating huge money through irregularities in tender process. On the other hand, some officials of Civil Aviation Authority of Bangladesh accept bribes from contractors, who are “looting money” by building poor-quality towers and boarding bridges, the Anti-Corruption Commission has found.The Daily Star: https://www.thedailystar.net/frontpage/news/graft-wrecks-civil-aviation-1710175KPK freezes company's bank account in Bakamla graft case.  The Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) has reportedly frozen the bank account, which contains Rp 60 billion (US$4.25 million), of PT Merial Esa (ME), a company named a graft suspect by the antigraft body in a procurement of sea surveillance satellite systems at the Maritime Security Agency (Bakamla).The Jakarta Post: https://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2019/03/04/kpk-freezes-companys-bank-account-in-bakamla-graft-cas…

Rule of Law index / Japan cryptocurrency laundering / Myanmar's controversial partner

World Justice Project Rule of Law Index 2019 (Resource).  The second largest decline over last year was seen in the area of “Criminal Justice,” followed by “Open Government” and “Fundamental Rights." On a positive note, more countries improved in “Absence of Corruption” than declined for the second year in a row.World Justice Project: https://worldjusticeproject.org/our-work/research-and-data/wjp-rule-law-index-2019Cases of money laundering linked to cryptocurrency in Japan up tenfold in 2018.  According to the National Police Agency, over 7,000 cases of suspected money laundering linked to cryptocurrencies were reported to police in 2018, more than a tenfold jump from the 669 cases reported in a shorter period between April and December in 2017, when it became mandatory for cryptocurrency exchange operators to report transactions suspected to be linked to the movement of illegally obtained cash.The Japan Times: https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2019/02/28/national/crime-l…

Philippines governor case / China reporting tool / Myanmar ex-FDA director

Sandiganbayan junks Palawan governor's bid for reinvestigation of graft case.  The anti-graft court Sandiganbayan denied Palawan Governor Jose Alvarez's bid to have his graft case, stemming from alleged anomalies in a water supply project approved in 2014, be returned to the Office of the Ombudsman for a new investigation, saying there were no new evidence presented.Rappler: https://www.rappler.com/nation/224829-sandiganbayan-junks-palawan-governor-jose-alvarez-bid-reinvestigation-graft-caseChina’s corruption watchdog probes officials’ personal details.  In the past two years, false declarations on the 16-page “Leading Cadres’ Personal Matters Report Form” have led to the downfall of a number of high-ranking officials at the hands of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) watchdog authorized to conduct random checks on the forms.William Zheng/South China Morning Post: https://www.scmp.com/news/china/politics/article/2188227/chinas-corruption-watchdog-pro…

Sri Lanka asset declarations / Malaysia construction claims / Viet Nam instructive experience

In a historic first 5 Sri Lankan lawmakers voluntarily declare assets aiming to fight corruption.  Five Sri Lankan legislators voluntarily came forward and published their Declarations of Assets and Liabilities at an event organized by the Transparency International Sri Lanka, first such move in the country, aiming to fight against corruption.Colombo Page: http://www.colombopage.com/archive_19A/Feb28_1551340516CH.phpCorruption claims ‘ridiculous lies’, says Guan Eng.  Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng said Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad had also called the allegations on the blog published Raja Petra Kamaruddin a lie, citing that it is public knowledge the tunnel and roads project in Penang were conducted through open tender, while the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) had lodged a police report against the blogger.Pradeep Nambiar/Free Malaysia Today: https://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2019/03/03/corruption-claims-ridiculous-lies-says-guan-eng/North Kore…

Pacific Anti-Corruption Updates (2 March 2019): PNG, Fiji, Tonga, Cook Islands

PNG: Corruption Biggest Threat to Skills Training.  A skills trainer has singled out corruption as the biggest threat affecting proper and quality training of artisans, trades persons and all manual workers for Papua New Guinea’s workforce.https://postcourier.com.pg/corruption-biggest-threat-skills-training/FIJI: Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption Granted Time in Shameem Khan Case.  He is charged with one count of abuse of office and one count of general dishonesty causing a loss and appeared before Magistrate Deepika Prakash.https://fijisun.com.fj/2019/02/14/fiji-independent-commission-against-corruption-granted-time-in-shameem-khan-case/TONGA:Tonga ombudsman investigating public enterprises.Tonga's ombudsman has announced an inquiry into allegations of poor administration by the boards of public enterprises.https://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/383536/tonga-ombudsman-investigating-public-enterprisesCOOK ISLANDS:Cooks' Hagai appointment await…

Philippines corruption unrest / Multinationals compliance difficulty / Viet Nam's regulatory environment

Ex-rebels now governing Philippines' volatile Bangsamoro region vow 'new jihad' on corruption.  "Our enemy during this struggle is not the soldiers. Our enemy is not the government," Murad Ebrahim said in a speech after taking leadership of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority as interim chief minister. He said he and his men would wage a new jihad, or holy war, against corruption and mismanagement.South China Morning Post: https://www.scmp.com/news/asia/southeast-asia/article/2187852/ex-rebels-now-governing-philippines-volatile-bangsamoroTackling local compliance in an increasingly globalised world.Participants in a recent survey, with almost 40% of senior legal and compliance professionals polled across the Asia‑Pacific region (APAC), cited changing local and global regulatory requirements as major challenges confronting their organisations.Leon Mao/Risk.net: https://www.risk.net/regulation/6409476/tackling-local-compliance-in-an-increasingly-globalised-worl…