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Showing posts from October, 2019

Doing Business Asia-Pacific / Anti-corruption-human rights compliance / Philippines local procurement

Doing Business 2020: Pace of Business Climate Reforms Slows in East Asia and Pacific Region. “the region still underperforms in several areas, such as contract enforcement, where there is need for more widespread adoption of international best practices including alternative dispute resolution systems and the creation of specialized commercial courts.”World Bank: https://www.worldbank.org/en/news/press-release/2019/10/24/doing-business-2020-pace-of-business-climate-reforms-slows-in-east-asia-and-pacific-regionStreamlining human rights and anti-corruption compliance (Blog).  “Companies can therefore integrate human rights issues into their compliance system by applying their existing anti-corruption mechanisms, such as risk assessments.”Mirna Adjami/Basel Institute on Governance: https://www.baselgovernance.org/blog/streamlining-human-rights-and-anti-corruption-complianceOn the Road to a Better Procurement System in South Cotabato (Blog).  ““Making the procurement process mor…

Bangladesh key opposition / Indonesia MLA training / Pakistan FATF report

Bangladesh jails key opposition lawmaker for graft.  The country’s opposition has long complained that Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s ruling Awami League party — which tightened its grip on power following elections last year — is seeking to muzzle dissent.The Express Tribune: https://tribune.com.pk/story/2085004/3-bangladesh-jails-key-opposition-lawmaker-graft/ICAR training: Mutual Legal Assistance and the use of offshore structures to conceal beneficial ownership of illicit assets.  Experts from the International Centre for Asset Recovery (ICAR) conducted a workshop in Indonesia relating to beneficial ownership, aimed at enhancing capacity to formulate proper Mutual Legal Assistance (MLA) requests in order to follow leads for crucial information held abroad. It focused on securing all critical foreign evidence, and unravelling corporate and trust entities.Basel Institute on Governance: https://www.baselgovernance.org/news/icar-training-mutual-legal-assistance-and-use-offsho…

Law-corruption discourse / Doing Business 2020 / Maldives construction corruption

Corruption: Is the Law Blindsiding a More Meaningful Discourse? (Resource).  “The literature and discussion on bribery and corruption, as well as on the negative impact of each and what is required to address them, particularly in the legal context, are now considerable…How can the work of each discipline contribute to the work of whole and, as such, improve our work in and understanding of anti-corruption?”Jane Ellis/Tufts University: https://sites.tufts.edu/ihs/corruption-is-the-law-blindsiding-a-more-meaningful-discourse/Doing Business 2020–Sustaining the pace of reforms.  “In general, the 20 top performers have sound business regulation with a high degree of transparency…In addition, where burdensome and protracted regulatory processes exist, the temptation to resort to corruption to get things done may be greater.”World Bank: https://www.worldbank.org/en/news/feature/2019/10/24/doing-business-2020-sustaining-the-pace-of-reformsMaldives: Fighting corruption and construction …

Pacific Anti-Corruption Updates (26 October 2019): Fiji, PNG

FIJI: AG: Rid corruption, plan long term. Attorney-General and Minister for Economy Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum’s message to special administrators was simple – plan for long term and curb out corruption. https://fijisun.com.fj/2019/10/24/a-g-rid-corruption-plan-long-term/Woman pleads not guilty to alleged bribery, preventing course of justice. A woman has pleaded not guilty in the Magistrates Court in Suva to multiple counts of bribery and prevention the course of justice.https://fijisun.com.fj/2019/10/22/woman-pleads-not-guilty-to-alleged-bribery-preventing-course-of-justice/PNG: PNG electoral commissioner charged with corruption. Papua New Guinea's electoral commissioner has been arrested and charged with corruption, money laundering and conspiracy.https://www.rnz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/401420/png-electoral-commissioner-charged-with-corruptionPNG police pursue two high-profile arrests over corruption. Two arrest warrants issued in Papua New Guinea could a be sign that p…

IMF Anti-Corruption Challenge / Blockchain finance accountability / Myanmar EITI recommendations

Anti-Corruption Challenge (Funding opportunity). The IMF Anti-Corruption Challenge where country authorities, relevant civil society organizations, and staff from the IMF and other International Financial Institutions (IFIs) are invited to collaborate and submit solutions to the following challenge: Enhancing Governance in Public Finance, Promoting Good Governance in Central Banks, Financial Disclosure Systems for Public Officials, Use of Data for Financial Intelligence, etc. Deadline for proposals: 6 December 2019International Monetary Fund: https://imfilab.brightidea.com/AnticorruptionEY launches blockchain tool to help bring accountability to public finances.  Ernst & Young’s “blockchain-enabled” EY OpsChain Public Finance Manager will compare government spending programs with the results of the expenditure, even when the money has passed through different layers of government and public service agencies.Daniel Palmer/Coindesk: https://www.coindesk.com/ey-launches-blockch…

Indonesia policy reflections / Transnational bribery regulation / China lenient case

Indonesia's Jokowi needs to boost fight against corruption, not hinder it (Opinion). “It is better to address the criticism it faces, including overly lengthy investigations, to find a happy medium between probes and efficiency. This is a moment for Jakarta to reassure investors and companies, not give them reasons to pivot to Malaysia or Vietnam.”William Pesek/Nikkei Asian Review:  https://asia.nikkei.com/Opinion/Indonesia-s-Jokowi-needs-to-boost-fight-against-corruption-not-hinder-itNew Podcast Episode, Featuring Kevin Davis (Blog/Podcast).  Professor Kevin Davis, of the New York University Law School, talks about his new book, Between Impunity and Imperialism: The Regulation of Transnational Bribery.The Global Anticorruption Blog: https://globalanticorruptionblog.com/2019/10/15/new-podcast-episode-featuring-kevin-davis/The curious corruption case of China’s former securities chief Liu Shiyu and his lenient treatment.  “In a statement by the National Supervisory Commissi…

Malaysia future vision / Quantifying grand corruption / Better blended finance

GIACC bent on erasing Malaysia’s kleptocrat label. “Speaking to Bernama in an interview here, Anis Yusal said according to data from the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission, more than 60% of corruption cases involved the public services sector. And, almost 42% of this sector’s cases involved public procurement.”The Sun Daily: https://www.thesundaily.my/local/giacc-bent-on-erasing-malaysia-s-kleptocrat-label-FJ1487777Plundering the future: Why the IMF must quantify grand corruption (Blog).  “If the IMF wishes to make a difference in the lives of people around the world, it must undertake two analyses that would change the conversation on grand corruption. First…an annual assessment of grand corruption in all countries and publish the dollar value of that analysis…Second…an opportunity cost analysis of the stolen assets.”Tom Cardamone and Maureen Heydt: https://gfintegrity.org/plundering-the-future-why-the-imf-must-quantify-grand-corruption/Better blending: How the world bank …

Bhutan-Sri Lanka experiences exchange / Thailand Defence ministry / Corruption spoils food

Sharing the ACC’s experiences to the counterpart agency of Sri Lanka.  Bhutan’s Anti-Corruption Commission’s week-long visit to was initiated upon the invitation of Sri Lanka’s Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption (CIABOC) to share its experiences including on education & awareness strategy and the programs; prevention and mainstreaming strategy; preventive tools such as declaration and management of Gifts, Assets, and Conflict of Interests; complaints management and disposal system; and techniques on investigation and case management, among others.Anti-Corruption Commission [of Bhutan]: https://www.acc.org.bt/?q=node/2117Defence 'least transparent'.  Thailand’s National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC)'s annual Integrity and Transparency Assessment (ITA) ranked the Defence Ministry as the least transparent state agency.Bangkok Post: https://www.bangkokpost.com/thailand/politics/1774429/defence-least-transparentRotten deals — how corr…

Company ownership standards / Indonesia new bill / UNODC July-September newsletter

Who is behind the wheel? Fixing the global standards on company ownership (Resource).  Analysis of country evaluations issued by global anti-money laundering regulator, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), shows that poor performance is strongly linked to a reliance on data held by banks.Transparency International: https://www.transparency.org/whatwedo/publication/who_is_behind_the_wheel_fixing_the_global_standards_on_company_ownershipIndonesia's anti-graft Bill ushered in after deadly protests.  A controversial law critics say would weaken Indonesia's anti-corruption agency came into effect Thursday (Oct 17) after it sparked nationwide protests that left at least three students dead and scores injured.Channel NewsAsia: https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/asia/indonesia-anti-corruption-bill-law-comes-into-effect-12009828UNODC Anti-Corruption Newsletter South and Southeast Asia.  Check out the work done by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crimes on anti-corrup…

Pacific Anti-Corruption Updates (19 October 2019): PNG, Fiji, Solomon Islands

PNG:PNG Cabinet endorses bill for anti-corruption commission. Papua New Guinea's Cabinet has reportedly approved legislation to establish an Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC).https://www.rnz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/401004/png-cabinet-endorses-bill-for-anti-corruption-commissionPapua New Guinea police seek to arrest ex-PM over 'corruption'. Papua New Guinea (PNG) police have issued an arrest warrant for former Prime Minister Peter O’Neill on suspicion of “official corruption” but he was refusing to cooperate, authorities said. https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/10/papua-guinea-police-seek-arrest-pm-corruption-191015074632756.htmlMismanagement costing billions and destroying PNG’s economy. The best way for PNG to increase economic growth and boost the size of the economy is for the government to implement a comprehensive plan to tackle corruption.https://postcourier.com.pg/mismanagement-costing-billions-and-destroying-pngs-economy/FIJI: Former…

Myanmar oil-gas bill / Philippines top police / Republic of Korea justice minister

Myanmar’s draft oil and gas bill jeopardises next bidding round. In addition to the confusion, the draft law is a missed opportunity to reform the industry and improve its governance and transparency.Thompson Chau/Myanmar Times: https://www.mmtimes.com/news/myanmars-draft-oil-and-gas-bill-jeopardises-next-bidding-round.htmlTop enforcer of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte's drug war steps down amid corruption allegations.  The Philippines' top police officer and chief enforcer of President Rodrigo Duterte's brutal drug war stepped down amid allegations that he harboured a number of corrupt policemen under his watch six years ago.Raul Dancel/The Straits Times: https://www.straitstimes.com/asia/se-asia/top-enforcer-of-philippine-president-rodrigo-dutertes-drug-war-steps-down-amidSouth Korea's justice minister quits amid corruption allegations. South Korea's newly appointed Justice Minister Cho Kuk, amid a prosecution investigation into his family's fina…

Indonesia better cabinet / India RTI enforcement / Malaysia 1MDB progress

Wanted: Better Cabinet. “From a worsening security and political situation in Papua to forest fires and student protests against the amendment of the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) Law, the President has not only had to stave off resistance and opposition from the public but also from his own ruling coalition.”The Jakarta Post:  https://www.thejakartapost.com/academia/2019/10/14/wanted-better-cabinet.html?src=mostviewed&pg=academia/2019/10/14/wanted-better-cabinet.htmlZero Transparency In Uttar Pradesh? No RTI Reports Published In 14 Years, Shows Study.  India’sUttar Pradesh has not published a single report mandatory under the Right To Information or RTI Act since the transparency law came into being in 2005. In contrast, Chhattisgarh is the only state which brought out all its yearly reports,NDTV: https://www.ndtv.com/india-news/rti-report-2019-zero-transparency-in-uttar-pradesh-no-rti-reports-published-in-14-years-says-transpa-2115592Mother of all scams coming t…

Business anti-corruption contribution / TI School reflections / Managing corruption risk

How can the private sector contribute to anti-corruption? (Video). Manisha Dogra, VP Sustainability for Asia at Telenor, talks about how responsible business conduct is part of her company's business strategy.United Nations Development Programme on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/posts/undp-in-asia-and-the-pacific_fairbiz4prosperity-corruption-telenor-activity-6582836839919431680-1OOY/Problems in Procurement: Reflections from the Transparency International School on Integrity (Blog).  “It is evident that poor procurement has far-reaching consequences and it is clearly necessary to continue to strive to improve its processes at all stages, reducing cost and waste — from the initial assessment stage to the completion of the agreed contract.”Joseph Moore/Transparency International: https://voices.transparency.org/problems-in-procurement-reflections-from-the-transparency-international-school-on-integrity-fe89036fdd32How can you protect you and your firm from bribery and c…

Mongolia open data / Bangladesh hunger strike / Iran systemic corruption

Using open data to expose corruption in Mongolia (Blog).  “Nepotism in the awarding of government loans stripped many enterprises of their chances to develop and grow. Access to public information helped uncover the scheme and hold those involved accountable.”Transparency International: https://voices.transparency.org/using-open-data-to-expose-corruption-in-mongolia-db9a5fa65913Hunger strike in front of ACC office against corruption and looting.  ““Bangladesh against Corruption and Looting” organized the program in front of Anti-Corruption Commission office (ACC) in the city’s Segun Bagicha, demanding to bring the big fishes under trial.Mehedi Al Amin/Dhaka Tribune: https://www.dhakatribune.com/bangladesh/dhaka/2019/10/06/hunger-strike-in-front-of-acc-office-against-corruption-and-lootingIran's conservatives are saying it: Corruption is 'systemic' (Opinion).  “In autocratic systems, every now and then, a campaign emerges under the banner of fighting corruption. The ma…

Fake news implications / Understanding social norms / Philippines case dismissed

Fighting corruption in the age of “fake news”.  “Fake news is unlikely to incapacitate anti-corruption efforts, but given its effect on undermining independent media and devaluing corruption allegations, it should be taken seriously by anti-corruption players.”Transparency International: https://www.transparency.org/news/feature/fighting_corruption_in_the_age_of_fake_newsUnderstanding Social Norms: A Reference Guide for Policy and Practice (Resource).  A product of the Corruption, Justice and Legitimacy Project, this Reference Guide is a comprehensive exploration of the role social norms play in endemic corruption in fragile states.Cheyanne Scharbatke-Church and Diana Chigas/Tufts University: https://sites.tufts.edu/ihs/social-norms-reference-guide/?src=socialPhilippine graft court hands former president Marcos' family another win.  In ruling for Imelda Marcos, the special anti-graft court chastised government lawyers for their "unjustified" absence at court hearing…

Pacific Anti-Corruption Updates (12 October 2019): PNG, Fiji, Vanuatu

PNG:Call for more aid as PNG faces corruption crisis. A review of Australia’s annual $578m aid program in Papua New Guinea has warned law and order is deteriorating, corruption remains rife, and “weak” governance continues to hamper basic service ¬delivery beyond the capital, Port Moresby.https://www.theaustralian.com.au/nation/politics/call-for-more-aid-as-png-faces-corruption-crisis/news-story/fb87d04bb6132d804098b585c81cf4a7FIJI: Former clerk denies corruption charges. A former finance clerk with iTaukei Land Trust Board pleaded not guilty to corruption-related charges.https://www.fbcnews.com.fj/news/court/former-clerk-denies-corruption-charges/VANUATU: How selling citizenship is now big business.A Vanuatu passport, a private businessman explains, is "so fast" to arrange (you can get one in just 30 days), and that helps make it a popular choice. But others caution that Vanuatu has a reputation for corruption.To know more about the UN Pacific Regional Anti-Corruption P…

Collective Action funding / Japan receiving gifts / Malaysia 1MDB fine

New DFID Fund to Support Collective Action Initiatives (Funding opportunity). “This £250,000 fund will support business-focused Collective Action Initiatives (CAIs) which aim to reduce corruption or promote human rights to improve the investment climate in emerging markets and developing countries.” Deadline for proposals: 18 October 2019IMC Worldwide: http://www.imcworldwide.com/news/new-dfid-fund-to-support-collective-action-initiatives/After criticism, Kansai Electric weighs rules on executive punishment amid gift scandal.  Kansai Electric Power Co. is considering introducing rules on punishments for executives following criticism of its leniency in the way six of them were reprimanded for receiving gifts from a former town official.The Japan Times: https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2019/10/08/national/kansai-electric-rules-executive-punishment-gift-scandal-nuclear/#.XZ5Sc0ZKg2wMalaysia Fines 80 People, Groups for Alleged 1MDB Payments.  Malaysia's anti-graft agency orde…

Bangladesh politician snared / Thailand judicial independence / Sri Lanka sports corruption

Top Bangladesh politician snared in anti-corruption crackdown. The high-profile head of the Dhaka youth wing of Hasina’s Awami League party, Ismail Hossain Samrat, was arrested with one of his associates, Bangladesh’s elite security force said, for using his political influence to run a network of illegal casinos and extortion rackets.Malay Mail:  https://www.malaymail.com/news/world/2019/10/06/top-bangladesh-politician-snared-in-anti-corruption-crackdown/1797729Judge’s protest by attempted suicide shakes judicial authority.  “Thailand’s courts find themselves under intense scrutiny Friday after a judge shot himself to protest alleged interference in a trial that would have sent five men to death row.”Teeranai Charuvastra/Khaosod English:  http://www.khaosodenglish.com/news/crimecourtscalamity/2019/10/04/judges-protest-by-attempted-suicide-shakes-judicial-authority/Cabinet gives approval for amended Prevention of Offences Relating to Sports Bill. Sri Lanka’sCabinet gave approval…

Thailand hosts SEA-PAC / Indonesia youth corruption / Singapore airport bribery

15th South East Asia Parties Against Corruption (SEA-PAC) Principals Meeting.  The Office of the National Anti-Corruption Commission of Thailand (ONACC) will host the 15th SEA-PAC Principals Meeting between 8-10 October 2019. This year, the ten ASEAN anti-corruption agencies will meet in Bangkok to discuss greater cooperation in all dimensions.  For more information on ONACC’s work: https://www.nacc.go.th/main.php?filename=index_enThank youto Alisa Rukbankerd, the Office of the National Anti-Corruption Commission of Thailand for sharing this article.Young faces of graft: Better prevention campaigns needed (Opinion).  “The youth, many assume, are far less prone to corruption. Yet data of the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) show that, as of 2018, 75 people being processed by the commission were 20 to 40 years of age.”Alvin Nicola/The Jakarta Post: https://www.thejakartapost.com/academia/2019/10/04/young-faces-of-graft-better-prevention-campaigns-needed.htmlTo ship gold t…

Pacific Anti-Corruption Updates (5 October 2019): PNG, Solomon Islands, Fiji

PNG:Our Right to Know, Their Duty to Tell (Report/Resource).  Transparency International Papua New Guinea (TIPNG) report on the current status of Access to Public Information, covering 24 State Agencies in PNG and recommends both Policy Reforms and Legislation to address the lack of a RTI framework in the country. A stark finding was that over 90% of State agencies surveyed were unable to give public documents when requested over the counter, yet these same documents were already available online for 54% of the agencies.https://www.transparencypng.org.pg/our-right-to-know-their-duty-to-tell/Distrust growing within gov agencies – TIPNG.  The TIPNG Right to Information report outlined, among other things, how the lack of defined policy mechanisms in a majority of government agencies tested has bred a culture of secrecy among them.https://postcourier.com.pg/distrust-growing-within-govt-agencies-tipng/Thank you to Mr. Yuambari Haihuie, Policy and Advocacy Manager, Transparency Inter…

Anti-corruption law revisions / Ericsson FCPA fines / Iran President's brother

Revise graft laws from time to time (Opinion). “…the best corruption law will not stay the best for long. It will have to be reviewed so that it is able to sustain its deterrent effect on the bribers and the corrupt.”Datuk Seri Akhbar Satar/New Straits Times:   https://www.nst.com.my/opinion/columnists/2019/09/525434/revise-graft-laws-time-timeEricsson Expects to Pay $1 Billion in U.S. Corruption Probes.  Ericsson AB said it expects to pay $1 billion to resolve investigations by U.S. authorities into business ethics breaches in six countries, including China, Indonesia, and Viet Nam amongst others, in one of the costliest corruption cases on record.Dave McCombs and Niklas Magnusson/Bloomberghttps://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-09-25/ericsson-prepared-to-pay-1-billion-to-resolve-u-s-probesIranian President’s brother sentenced to 5 years for corruption. The brother of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has been sentenced to five years in prison for corruption and bribery. Gh…

Indonesia KPK case / China's corrupt meritocracy / Malaysia SPV 2030

Indonesian Anticorruption Institutions at Risk, Part 1: The Significance of the KPK’s First Acquittal (Blog).  “An important precursor to [recent] events was the KPK’s first loss in court. Until this past July, the KPK had not, since its establishment in 2003, lost any of the hundreds of cases it had brought to full trial.”Simon Butt/The Global Anticorruption Blog:  https://globalanticorruptionblog.com/2019/10/02/guest-post-indonesian-anticorruption-institutions-at-risk-part-1-the-significance-of-the-kpks-first-acquittal/China’s Corrupt Meritocracy (Opinion).  “What both camps fail to grasp is the symbiotic relationship between corruption and performance in China’s fiercely competitive political system.”Yuen Yuen Ang/Project Syndicate: https://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/china-corrupt-meritocracy-by-yuen-yuen-ang-2019-10‘Corruption and abuse must stop’.  “The government intends to hit the ground running with Shared Prosperity Vision 2030 (SPV 2030) and will not hesitat…

Universal Health Coverage / Barclays Asia-Pacific hiring / Japan electricity execs

Corruption: A neglected obstacle to achieving UHC. “According to…Transparency International, corruption in the health care industry “kills an estimated 140,000 children a year, fuels the global rise in anti-microbial resistance, and hinders the fight against HIV/AIDS and other diseases.” In total, the report links corruption to annual losses of more than $500 billion, which it notes is more than it would cost to bring about UHC worldwide.”Malia Politzer/Devex: https://www.devex.com/news/corruption-a-neglected-obstacle-to-achieving-uhc-95603Barclays pays SEC $6.3 million to settle ‘referral hiring’ FCPA violations.  Barclays PLC paid the SEC $6.3 million to settle US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act offenses related to the hiring of relatives of public officials in Asia. From at least 2009 until August 2013, businesses within Barclays Asia Pacific Region (APAC) hired 117 job candidates referred by or connected to foreign government officials or non-government clients.Harry Cassin/T…

Transparent procurement systems / Viet Nam new regulations / Myanmar business ease

Transparent procurement systems: good for the public, the private sector and the SDGs (Blog).  “To achieve the ambitious task of reaching the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030, our procurement systems must become ever more transparent and accountable.”CoST: http://infrastructuretransparency.org/news/transparent-procurement-systems-better-for-business-and-communities-alike/Vietnam Issues New Regulations Implementing Its Anti-corruption Law, Effective 15 August 2019.  “Although the provisions in the New Regulations pertaining to gifts do not impose affirmative obligations on gift givers in the private sector, such regulations are important to keep in view because a gift given to a public official will have to be disclosed by the official if it was given for an unlawful purpose.”Jeff Olson/Conventus Law: http://www.conventuslaw.com/report/vietnam-issues-new-regulations-implementing-its/Myanmar Among World Bank’s Top 20 for Business Ease Improvements. “…a new company law …

Indonesia reform setbacks / Afghanistan elections atmosphere / Philippines political dynasties

Reform setbacks, not KPK, can hamper investment.  Although in the short-term the controversial bills and reform setbacks are likely to have little direct impact on investment, in the longer run they will create an unfavorable business climate that increases the risk related to investing in Indonesia, from regulatory uncertainty to a deteriorating democracy.Esther Samboh/The Jakarta Post:  https://www.thejakartapost.com/academia/2019/09/27/reform-setbacks-not-kpk-can-hamper-investment.htmlWith Vote Over, Afghanistan Faces Possible Political Chaos.  Before the polls, the U.S. issued stiff warnings against fraud and even seemed to take direct aim at Ghani's government refusing to pay more than $160 million in aid projects directly to the government saying it was too corrupt.Kathy Gannon/NBC Washington: https://www.nbcwashington.com/news/politics/Vote-Afghanistan-Possible-Political-Chaos-561720531.htmlPolitical dynasties, democratic decay in Philippines (Opinion).  “The reality…