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Showing posts from June, 2019

India sand mining / Open Contracting Lift / Trade-based money laundering

Sand mafias silence journalists in India.  “On the ground, NGOs and journalists who tried to pull back the curtain on the workings of the sand mining industry have faced an immediate battery of threats. As you get closer, warnings are prompt: when you waltz around the sand business, intimidation is frequent, corruption is systemic.”Marion Guégan and Cécile Schilis-Gallego/Forbidden Stories: https://forbiddenstories.org/sand-mafias-silence-journalists-in-india/Open Contracting Lift (Application announcement).  Over 14 months, you’ll learn how to effectively build buy-in, use open data, and establish new ways of working with public contracts. Then apply your new skills to develop an agile game plan and put it into action.Open Contracting Partnership: https://lift.open-contracting.org/The Global Community Must Take Further Steps to Combat Trade-Based Money Laundering (Blog).  “As governments have cracked down on traditional money-laundering schemes—such as cash smuggling and financ…

Thailand official salary / China ex-Interpol chief / India voluntary retirement

Graft probe: DNP chief gave wife largest pay rise.  The National Anti-Corruption Commission of Thailand ordered disciplinary action against Thanya Nethithammakul, the chief of the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation (DNP) for approving the maximum salary increase for his wife while other officials whose performance was outstanding were rewarded less.Apinya Wipatayotin/Bangkok Post:  https://www.bangkokpost.com/thailand/general/1701572/graft-probe-dnp-chief-gave-wife-largest-pay-riseEx-Interpol chief pleads guilty to corruption: China state media.  Meng Hongwei who has been under investigation since October 2018, around the time his wife reported him mission after he travelled back to China, admits to taking $2.1m in bribes, but some argue that his case is politically motivated.Al Jazeera: https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/06/interpol-chief-pleads-guilty-bribery-chinese-state-media-190620061312163.htmlOperation clean-up: VRS for corrupt officials, warn…

Myanmar SME challenges / Politically Exposed Persons / Anti-laundering compliance costs

Business Environment Index Shows Transparency a Major Challenge to SME Growth (Interview/Resource).  “While businesses in different locations struggle with different challenges, businesses in all states and regions say access to government information is poor. This includes access to government budgets, regulations, licensing fees and more.”Nan Lwin/The Irrawaddy: https://www.irrawaddy.com/in-person/interview/business-environment-index-shows-transparency-major-challenge-sme-growth.htmlMyanmar Business Environment Index 2019/The Asia Foundation: https://asiafoundation.org/publication/the-myanmar-business-environment-index-2019/The Case for Governments Maintaining PEP Registries (Blog).  “With barely any independent oversight into how [private] firms compile their [due diligence on Politically Exposed Persons], there is no way to ensure the lists are accurate, and there’s at least some evidence that they aren’t: Many of the vendors on which financial institutions rely were found t…

Walmart overseas corruption / India tax officials / Japan caps transfers

Walmart to pay $282 million over foreign corruption charges.  The US Securities and Exchange Commission announced a $144 million settlement against Walmart for "failing to operate a sufficient anti-corruption compliance program" in Brazil, China, India and Mexico, under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.The Public’s Radio: https://thepublicsradio.org/article/walmart-to-pay-282-million-over-foreign-corruptionIndia sacks 15 senior tax officials over corruption.  India has sacked 15 senior tax officials facing probes in corruption cases, sending across a tough message to bureaucrats taking kickbacks for facilitating tax evasion by companies, a government statement said.Manoj Kumar and Aftab Ahmed/Reuters: https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-india-economy-corruption/india-sacks-15-senior-tax-officials-over-corruption-idUKKCN1TJ0TZJapan Post Bank to cap international transfers to counter money laundering.  Japan Post Bank Co. with around 120 million account holders, the most…

OECD-Japan launches academy / Government accountability culture / Indonesia KPK interview

OECD joins with Japan to fight financial crime by establishing new academy.  The OECD Asia-Pacific Academy for Tax and Financial Crime Investigation will provide intensive capacity-building courses for tax crime investigators and related law enforcement officials, including prosecutors, judges and anti-money laundering and anti-corruption officials- from Asia-Pacific countries.Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development:  http://www.oecd.org/ctp/crime/oecd-joins-with-japan-to-fight-financial-crime-by-establishing-new-academy.htmWe need to talk about the passive-aggressive culture in government (Opinion).  If accountability is a fear, then measures can be taken to distribute ownership and manage risk, such as clearly articulating contract milestones and partner responsibilities, and building risk-mitigation strategies into project plans. Risk-management and accountability should be built into processes so that they become usual to ways of doing things, rather than scar…

Pacific Anti-Corruption Updates (22 June 2019): PNG, Vanuatu

Lack of accountability threatens Pacific coastal fishery.  The Pacific's sea cucumber fishery is losing millions of dollars through corruption and a lack of accountability.https://www.rnz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/392224/lack-of-accountability-threatens-pacific-coastal-fisheryThe Leaders of These Sinking Countries Are Fighting to Stop Climate Change. Here's What the Rest of the World Can Learn.  Like the rest of the world, the region faces issues beyond climate change. Corruption abounds; poverty is rampant. https://time.com/longform/sinking-islands-climate-change/PAPUA NEW GUINEA: Actioning needed for plan against corruption.  Corruption and law and order remains two major problems in Papua New Guinea, says Deputy Prime Minister Davis Steven. http://www.looppng.com/png-news/actioning-needed-plan-against-corruption-85022Manus Island to become corporate tax-free zone, says PNG prime minister.  The prime minister of Papua New Guinea has declared Manus Island will …

Indonesia health sector / 'Kickback' new podcast / Malaysia defense corruption

Can Transparency and Accountability Programs Improve Health? Experimental Evidence from Indonesia and Tanzania (Research).  “We find that on average, this program did not have a statistically significant impact on the use or content of maternal and newborn health services, nor the sense of civic efficacy or civic participation among recent mothers in the communities who were offered it…the main explanation for the lack of impact is that few communities were able to traverse the complex causal paths from planning actions to accomplishing tangible improvements in their access to quality health care.”Arkedis et al./Harvard Kennedy School:https://www.hks.harvard.edu/publications/can-transparency-and-accountability-programs-improve-health-experimental-evidenceNew Podcast Episode, Featuring Paul Heywood (Podcast/Blog).  “ICRN members Nils Köbis and Anna Schwickerath interview University of Nottingham Professor Paul Heywood about a range of topics, including the ways in which corruptio…

Pakistan Accountability Lab / Myanmar companies practices / 1MDB-linked executives sentenced

Tackling Corruption and Integrity in Pakistan (Podcast).  In this episode of Open Gov Stories [6 minutes], local development and open government activist from Pakistan Fayyaz explains the inspiration that led him to setting up Accountability Lab's Pakistan chapter and then the Open Gov Hub/Space in Islamabad.Fayyaz Yaseen and Blair Glencorse/Open Gov Stories: https://soundcloud.com/open-gov-stories/tackling-corruption-and-integrity-in-pakistanfayyaz-yaseen-blair-glencorseMyanmar’s private sector moves towards best practices, but slowly.  “The real issue is that capital is available, but too many Myanmar companies lack the transparency and governance to satisfy loan eligibility criteria for debt financing, or to successfully pass due diligence processes for equity financing,” according to the founder of a Yangon-based legal firm.Larry Jagan/South Asian Monitor:http://southasianmonitor.com/2019/06/18/mynamars-private-sector-moves-towards-best-practices-but-slowly/Two 1MDB link…

Consumption and corruption / UNCAC bribe recovery / India corporate governance

Corruption: I consume, therefore I am (Opinion).  “Many corruption cases have shown that suspects have the problem of excessive consumerism. Many scholars argue that consumerism and corruption are intertwined, in that they mutually cause one another.”Hendi Yogi Prabowo/The Jakarta Post: https://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2019/06/15/corruption-i-consume-therefore-i-am.htmlWho owns a bribe? And why it matters (Blog).  “Not every party to UNCAC need buy into the legal fiction of a constructive trust.  But all should have bribe ownership laws that produce the same result in asset recovery cases. This would ensure the speedy recovery of bribe proceeds and that recovery could be had from anyone to whom the proceeds were gratuitously transferred.”Rick Messick/The Global Anticorruption Blog: https://globalanticorruptionblog.com/2019/06/12/who-owns-a-bribe-and-why-it-matters/Exams for company directors planned in Modi corruption crackdown.  Narendra Modi, who recently won a second term as…

Cambodia money laundering / Myanmar police bribery / Viet Nam shipbuilding execs

Sar Kheng criticises handling of money laundering case.  Cambodia’s Interior Minister Sar Kheng criticised police officers over the handling of a money laundering case involving three Chinese nationals who brought more than $3.5 million into the country without declaring the source of the cash on April 23, saying that “From now on if a similar case takes place, the officers concerned must immediately report directly to me.”Khy Sovuthy/Khmer Times: https://www.khmertimeskh.com/50613742/sar-kheng-criticises-handling-of-money-laundering-case/Four Mandalay Policemen Face Corruption Charges.  Chanaye Tharsan Township Police Station chief Police Lieutenant Kyaw Thu and Police Sub-Lieutenant Kyaw Naing Oo of Mandalay’s No. 3 Police Station took a combined 2.65 million kyats in bribes from two suspects in exchange for allowing them to be freed on bail, the Anti-Corruption Commission said in a statement.Zarni Mann/The Irrawaddy: https://www.irrawaddy.com/news/burma/four-mandalay-polic…

India bank shares / Malaysia anti-graft chief / Thai tycoon bribery

India's J&K Bank shares slide further on fraud probe allegations.  Shares in India’s Jammu and Kashmir Bank Ltd slumped for a second consecutive day, after local media reported that an anti-corruption probe into the bank had uncovered a sizable fraud at the state-run lender.Swati Bhat/Reuters: https://uk.reuters.com/article/jk-bank-india-stocks/indias-jk-bank-shares-slide-further-on-fraud-probe-allegations-idUKL4N23I33YLatheefa to sit out graft probe on minister.  Allegations of corruption involving a Cabinet minister will be investigated by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commis­sion (MACC), but its chief commissioner Latheefa Koya will sit it out without indicating any reason for excluding herself.The Star: https://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2019/06/13/latheefa-to-sit-out-graft-probe-on-minister/Premchai sentenced to jail for bribery in black panther case.  A Thai construction tycoon was sentenced to a year in prison for bribery in a high-profile case involving the h…

Pacific Anti-Corruption Updates (15 June 2019): PNG, Solomon Islands

PAPUA NEW GUINEA:Justice sector unites against corruption.  The Justice Sector pledged its full commitment to the fight against corruption by paving the path to activating the Independent Against Corruption (ICAC) this year. http://www.looppng.com/png-news/justice-sector-unites-against-corruption-84841Meet corruption with justice.  Almost 2,000 people in Port Moresby came together to take part in the 13th Annual Siaguru Walk Against Corruption (SASWAC) and show peacefully their opposition to corruption and demand justice.http://www.looppng.com/png-news/meet-corruption-justice-84804Commission against corruption bill will be tabled: PM.  Prime Minister James Marape has announced that the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) Bill be one of the main agendas that will be tabled in Parliament during his term.http://www.looppng.com/png-news/commission-against-corruption-bill-will-be-tabled-pm-84774SOLOMON ISLANDS: Sogavare: we are transparent in political interest.Prime Min…

Indonesia graft-prone infrastructures / Persistent corruption causes / Pakistan accountability campaign

Why infrastructure projects prone to graft (Commentary).  “President Jokowi has placed strong emphasis on developing of the economy eastern Indonesia through infrastructure, but widespread corruption is hampering these efforts.Emilianus Yakob Sese Tolo/The Jakarta Post:https://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2019/06/10/why-infrastructure-projects-prone-graft.htmlExploring the causes of persistent corruption (Research).  “[A] crisis may prompt stakeholders to reinvigorate their efforts to monitor the institution and only invest in it when they can again trust that it is sufficiently reliable—this can curb corruption and bolster economic activity. As soon as cooperation and honesty again become commonplace, however, efforts to watch the integrity of the institution become less critical and may therefore become neglected again, thus initiating another cycle in the process.”Phys.org: https://phys.org/news/2019-06-exploring-persistent-corruption.htmlWhat Does Imran Khan’s Accountability …

Malaysia deforestation case / India bank raided / Pakistan ex-president husband

Damned Corruption Began With Bakun.  “…Sarawak Report revealed corruption over the felling of billions of ringgit worth of virgin jungle destroyed in the name of hydro-electricity at Murum. That cynical pattern was a repeat of course of the earlier construction of Bakun Dam, which [Malaysia’s PKR party] leader Anwar Ibrahim had attempted to halt while he was finance minister back in 1999.”Sarawak Report: http://www.sarawakreport.org/2019/06/damned-corruption-began-with-bakun/Anti-Corruption Bureau Concludes Two-day Raid at J&K Bank Headquarters.  India’s Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB), which is looking into allegations of fraudulent appointments in the Jammu and Kashmir Bank (J&K Bank), concluded its two-day searches at the corporate office of the lender and will follow it with questioning of suspects, officials said.News18: https://www.news18.com/news/india/anti-corruption-bureau-concludes-2-day-raid-at-jk-bank-headquarters-2179321.htmlPakistan’s Zardari a long-time focu…

Malaysia ex-MACC chief / Republic of Korea ambassador fired / Anti-corruption fighter's reflection

Malaysia's former anti-graft chief clears the air over resignation.  Former chief of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Mohd Shukri Abdull said he was not fired or pressured to step down from his job, as he addressed speculation on why he quit at the midway point of a two-year contract, explaining that this departure was planned from the very beginning.The Straits Times: https://www.straitstimes.com/asia/malaysias-former-anti-graft-chief-clears-the-air-over-resignationS. Korea's ambassador to Vietnam fired for violating anti-graft law.  South Korea's ambassador to Vietnam, Kim Do-hyun, has been dismissed for a breach of anti-graft legislation and other irregularities. For instance, when he and his family attended an opening ceremony of a golf course in Vietnam last October, they reportedly received funding for a hotel stay and airline tickets, violating the strict "Kim Young-ran Act".The Korea Herald: http://www.koreaherald.com/view.php?ud=201…

Malaysia chief appointment / Myanmar officials survey / Philippines veteran pension

Malaysian civil society speaks out after Mahathir bypasses Cabinet in anti-graft chief appointment.  Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad’s admission that he did not consult the Cabinet before appointing a new anti-corruption chief has raised eyebrows, with the civil society noting that the move went against institutional reforms promised by the government. Channel News Asia: https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/asia/macc-malaysia-civil-society-speak-out-mahathir-11601616LISTENING TO PEOPLE’S VOICES: How well do public services do in Myanmar?  “The Central Statistical Organizations (CSO) is co-leading the process with the Union Civil Service Board (UCSB) to learn about citizens’ opinions and experiences with government services…including their related exposure to corruption.”Marc Weilenmann/United Nations Development Programme: http://www.mm.undp.org/content/myanmar/en/home/presscenter/articles/2019/listening-to-peoples-voices.htmlOver 5,700 dead soldiers still got pension …

UNDP COP begins / Companies overseas bribery / Afghanistan police chief

UNDP Asia-Pacific Regional Community of Practice on Transparency, Accountability, and Anti-Corruption begins tomorrow.  The Asia-Pacific Regional Community of Practice on Transparency, Accountability and Anti-Corruption to be held 11-12 June 2019 in Bangkok, Thailand will be the first Community of Practice (CoP) convened for this thematic area under the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development paradigm.United Nations Development Programme: http://www.asia-pacific.undp.org/content/rbap/en/home/presscenter/events/2019/anti-corruption_COP2019.htmlExclusive: SEC probes Siemens, GE, Philips in alleged China medical equipment scheme.  The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is investigating Siemens AG, Philips NV and General Electric Co for allegedly using local middlemen to negotiate bribes with Chinese government and hospital officials to sell medical equipment, two U.S. sources with knowledge of the matter told Reuters.Channel News Asia: https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/busin…

Pacific Anti-Corruption Updates (8 June 2019): Kiribati, PNG, Fiji, Solomon Islands

KIRIBATI:Kiribati vice president's overseas trips investigated.  It was reported that Vice President Kourabi Nenem went on an official trip to Saudi Arabia and instead of returning to Kiribati he stopped by Indonesia without the president's knowledge.https://www.rnz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/391199/kiribati-vice-president-s-overseas-trips-investigatedPAPUA NEW GUINEA: Marape promises to rebuild country in first address to PNG.  Papua New Guinea's newly-installed prime minister vowed to reconstruct the nation in his first major speech to the country, promising tax reform, an economic overhaul and a rebuild of the public sector.https://www.rnz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/391374/marape-promises-to-rebuild-country-in-first-address-to-pngFIJI: Court Officer charged with corruption offences.  It is alleged that between 2015 and 2016 Isoa Matanitobua, a former court officer, provided the Land Transport Authority with false information relating to the records of t…

Education sector corruption / Malaysia ACC chief / Power of procurement

Education sector corruption: How to assess it and ways to address it (Resource).  “This paper has described forms of corruption that occur in the education sector, methods of assessing corruption risks, and tools that can be used to mitigate these risks by enhancing transparency and accountability in the sector.”Monica Kirya/U4 Anti-Corruption Resource Centrehttps://www.u4.no/publications/education-sector-corruption-how-to-assess-it-and-ways-to-address-itMalaysia's anti-corruption chief resigns and is replaced by ex-PKR lawyer.  Malaysia’s Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) chief Mohd Shukri Abdull has resigned, with his position taken over by former politician Latheefa Koya who quit Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) a day before her appointment was publicly announced.Nadirah H. Rodzi and Trinna Leong/The Straits Times: https://www.straitstimes.com/asia/se-asia/malaysias-anti-corruption-chief-quits-and-is-replaced-by-lawyerProcurement can save our planet — if we harness …

Open contracting strategy / Anti-corruption and inclusion / Myanmar military corruption

A new strategy and a bold new look. How we plan to power up public contracting everywhere (Blog).  "So our new strategy is framed around a shift from transparency to transformation. Bringing those favorable elements together more consistently and seizing on opportunities where reforms can jump scale and get to systemic impact."Gavin Hayman/Open Contracting Partnership: https://www.open-contracting.org/2019/05/30/a-new-strategy-and-a-bold-new-look-how-we-plan-to-power-up-public-contracting-everywhere/OGP Summit: Fighting corruption and promoting inclusion — this is how (Blog).  "1. Make beneficial ownership information open to all….2. Ensure that politicians work for all and not only for some…3. Strengthen voices of the underrepresented, especially those of women."Jose Maria Marin/Voices for Transparency: https://voices.transparency.org/ogp-summit-fighting-corruption-and-promoting-inclusion-this-is-how-b9172fcd8264Military Corruption is Being Handled Internal…

Myanmar state contract / Philippines asset recovery / Viet Nam efforts reflection

Mon Unity Party Calls for Probe of 1-Billion-Kyat Road Contract.  The founding members of the Mon Unity Party (MUP) have asked the Union and Mon State governments, as well as the state parliament, what action they plan to take in the case of a 1-billion-kyat road project that was offered without a tender process. They accused the state’s chief minister of abusing his power to offer the project to a favored company.Lawi Weng/The Irrawaddy: https://www.irrawaddy.com/news/burma/mon-unity-party-calls-probe-1-billion-kyat-road-contract.htmlDuterte gives go signal to sell Marcos jewelry.  President Duterte of the Philippines has approved the sale of around P700 million (approx. US$ 13.4 mil) worth of jewelry that formed part of the alleged ill-gotten wealth of the family of dictator Ferdinand Marcos, directing government agencies to ensure that the people would benefit from the proceeds.Julie M. Aurelio/Inquirer.net: https://newsinfo.inquirer.net/1125286/duterte-gives-go-signal-to-sel…

Corruption and human rights / North Korea corruption revelation / Thailand blockchain bank

Corporations must help shape a better world – or risk being left behind (Opinion).  “Taking a holistic approach to implementing respect for human rights and addressing corruption together makes more sense in today’s business environment. Those who take on this more proactive approach will be well positioned to meet new and future regulatory requirements, even if it means going beyond the requirements of current legal frameworks”Elisabeth Andvig/World Economic Forum: https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2019/05/corporations-businesses-better-world-human-rights-corruption-environmental-social-responsibilities/People in North Korea trapped in vicious cycle of deprivation, corruption and repression – UN human rights report.  “Based on 214 first-hand accounts of escapees gathered by UN Human Rights staff in South Korea in 2017 and 2018, the report describes how the most fundamental rights of ordinary people in the DPRK are widely violated because of economic mismanagement and endemic corr…

Pacific Anti-Corruption Updates (1 June 2019): PNG, Fiji, Solomon Islands, Samoa

PAPUA NEW GUINEA: Papua New Guinea’s new PM to ‘review’ gas deals.  "Papua New Guineans are suffering," former Prime Minister Mekere Morauta warned Marape in an address to parliament. "You will need to address corruption and abuse, mismanagement of finances and mounting debt."https://www.dw.com/en/papua-new-guineas-new-pm-to-review-gas-deals/a-48975005Appeal to newly-appointed PM. “It is with the contribution of everybody and the acceptance of public scrutiny that true wellbeing and prosperity is promoted and corruption defeated!”http://www.looppng.com/png-news/appeal-newly-appointed-pm-84582PNG prime minister Peter O’Neill survived scandal after scandal, so what went wrong?  In 2014, police with the taskforce sought to arrest him over an allegation he authorized payments of more than $30 million to a law firm for fraudulent bills for legal work performed for the state.https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-05-29/peter-oneills-wasted-years-as-pngs-prime-minister/11…