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Showing posts from February, 2020

Myanmar corporate governance / CPI-Financial Secrecy Index / Campaign finance disclosure

Transparency and corporate governance will benefit Myanmar economic growth: UK trade envoy.  “Myanmar needs to ensure that its economic growth is “a force for good” for the country’s transition to democracy, said Paul Scully, the UK Prime Minister’s trade envoy to Myanmar…Speaking at the launch of the Myanmar Centre for Responsible Business’s Pwint Thit Sa 2020 assessment, Mr Scully…said one way to ensure that economic growth makes a positive impact on Myanmar is for businesses to be responsible in their governance and practices.”Kyaw Soe Htet/Myanmar Times: https://www.mmtimes.com/news/transparency-and-corporate-governance-will-benefit-myanmar-economic-growth-uk-trade-envoy.htmlBuilding a fuller picture: The Financial Secrecy Index & CPI (Blog).  “The level of corruption in a country may be a factor in the decision of which secrecy loopholes to abuse and where. At the same time, high levels of secrecy in jurisdictions with strong rule of law and low levels of corruption pro…

Indonesia information sharing / Indian civil servant / Philippines immigration officials

Improving information sharing in Indonesia (Blog).  “The public information disclosure index helped local government to better understand some of the weaknesses in public information services. Now comes the work of strengthening them.”Transparency International: https://voices.transparency.org/improving-information-sharing-in-indonesia-718dc1895561Indian civil servant moved 53 times for exposing corruption to be immortalised in book.  “The story of how horrified politicians, on hearing that Khemka was coming to their state, used to get busy devising reasons to shunt him out, is narrated in Just Transferred: The Untold Story of Ashok Khemka by Bhavdeep Kang and Namita Kala.”Amrit Dhillon/The Guardian: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/feb/21/indian-civil-servant-moved-53-times-for-exposing-corruption-to-be-immortalised-in-bookDuterte relieves Immigration officials, staff tagged in 'pastillas' bribery scheme.“President Rodrigo Duterte has relieved all Immigration off…

Indonesia 2019-2018 differences / Japan cronyism case / OGP-EITI increase alignment

2019 sees fewer corruption cases but bigger state losses: ICW.  “Fewer corruption cases were brought to court in 2019, but total state losses incurred nearly doubled to Rp 8.4 trillion (US$614 million), the highest in five years, according to antigraft watchdog Indonesia Corruption Watch (ICW). An ICW survey found that 580 individuals were prosecuted in 271 corruption cases investigated by the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK), the police and the Attorney General’s Office (AGO) last year, compared to 1,087 individuals and 454 cases in 2018.”The Jakarta Post: https://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2020/02/20/2019-sees-fewer-corruption-cases-bigger-state-losses-icw.htmlMoritomo Gakuen couple in Abe cronyism scandal found guilty of fraud.  “The former head of a nationalist school operator and his wife, who were at the center of a cronyism scandal linked to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, were found guilty of receiving ¥56.4 million ($512,000) in central government subsidies illega…

Malaysia empower women / Myanmar draft bill / Thailand House committee

Empower Women to Fight Corruption: Dr Wan Azizah.  “Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail called for more engagement and collaboration “to ensure women from all walks of lives have the ability to be at the forefront and centre in our societies to fight corruption” when addressing delegates at an APEC symposium this week in Putrajaya, Malaysia.”Modern Diplomacy: https://moderndiplomacy.eu/2020/02/17/empower-women-to-fight-corruption-dr-wan-azizah/Yangon MPs Draft Bill to Rein In Mismanagement of Public Funds.  “The Yangon regional parliament is drafting a law to increase transparency in the use of public funds and to reduce waste through mismanagement, according to... [t]he chairwoman of the regional parliamentary committee on finance, planning and economy, Daw Sandar Min”Aung Hiha/The Irrawaddy: https://www.irrawaddy.com/news/burma/yangon-mps-draft-bill-rein-mismanagement-public-funds.htmlGraft panel delivers zip (Editorial).  “Given [Thailand’s] notoriety in…

Pacific Anti-Corruption Updates (22 February 2020): Solomon Islands, PNG, Vanuatu

SOLOMON ISLANDS:Two Solomon Islands MPs lose seats after 'Devils Night' bribery verdicts.  Two parliamentarians in Solomon Islands have lost their seats after the country's High Court found them guilty of bribing voters ahead of last year's national election.https://www.abc.net.au/radio-australia/programs/pacificbeat/two-sol-islands-mps-lose-seats/11970836Watchdog calls for ousted Solomons MPs to face charges.  Transparency Solomon Islands is asking whether two former MPs who lost their seats for bribing voters should also face criminal charges. Election petitions brought against education minister Moffat Fugui and backbencher Jamie Vokia in civil proceedings in the High Court were upheld.https://www.rnz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/409880/watchdog-calls-for-ousted-solomons-mps-to-face-chargesSI-Customs collected $1.08 billion in revenue.  The Solomon Islands Customs has collected more than $1 billion dollar in the past 6 months, despite the alleged corruption…

Myanmar government accountability / Thailand complaints center / China money laundering

Military MPs Urge Myanmar Govt: Improve Accountability, Don’t Waste Public Funds.  “Military lawmakers urged the National League for Democracy (NLD) government to establish an administrative mechanism to best serve the public interest with a minimum waste of public funds as they joined a parliamentary debate on the findings of the Union Auditor-General’s Office.”Htet Naing Zaw/The Irrawaddy: https://www.irrawaddy.com/news/burma/military-mps-urge-myanmar-govt-improve-accountability-dont-waste-public-funds.htmlArmy launches complaint center, without anonymity.  “The [Thai army] announced the formal launch of a complaint channel in an effort to crack down on exploitation of low-ranking servicemen within the force – but anonymity is not an option…‘Please rest assured that the army is doing our best. If the matter falls beyond our jurisdiction, we will transfer the case to the National Anti-Corruption Commission.’”Tappanai Boonbandit/Khaosod English: https://www.khaosodenglish.com/po…

Malaysia asset declaration / Transnational anti-bribery laws / Airbus international case

Malaysian lawmakers may face steep fines if they haven't declared assets.  “Malaysian lawmakers who have yet to declare their assets to the Speaker of the Lower House of Parliament could face a higher fine for not doing so. This is following plans by the Parliament Standing Orders Committee to amend and increase the fine from the current RM1,000 (US$241) to a higher quantum, which some sources say could be a hundredfold increase to a whopping RM100,000 (US$24,130).”The Straits Times: https://www.straitstimes.com/asia/se-asia/malaysian-lawmakers-may-face-steep-fines-if-they-havent-declared-assetsThe Infeasibility of Evidence-Based Evaluation of Transnational Anti-Bribery Laws (Blog).  “…for policymakers…the only possible response is to muddle along with what we’ve got—less than perfect evidence and theories that draw upon as broad a range of perspectives as possible combined with a commitment to reconsideration and revision in the face of new evidence or insights.The kind of…

India RTI amendment / India RTI improvement / Malaysia new foundation

The 2019 Amendments to India’s Right to Information Law Threaten to Blunt a Powerful Anticorruption Instrument (Blog).  “the amendments focused on the appointment, tenure, and salary of the Information Commissioners. Proponents of the changes claimed that these amendments were minor technical fixes, designed to streamline the appeals process and improve functioning. In fact, the amendments pose a serious threat to the autonomy of the Information Commissions, and thus to the efficacy of the RTI law in exposing wrongdoing that could embarrass or incriminate powerful political figures and their cronies.”Inayat Sabhikhi/The Global Anticorruption Blog: https://globalanticorruptionblog.com/2020/02/10/the-2019-amendments-to-indias-right-to-information-law-threaten-to-blunt-a-powerful-anticorruption-instrument/Improving India’s Right to Information Law to Protect Citizens (Blog).  “In particular, there are two measures the government could take…First, whenever any person who has submitte…

Malaysia anti-graft award / Thailand army exceptions / Viet Nam anti-corruption 2020

Malaysia Honors Anti-Graft Heroes With New Award.  “A murdered Malaysian prosecutor and an Indonesian anti-graft investigator who survived an acid attack became…the first two winners of [The Perdana International Anti-Corruption Champion Awards,] a new prize Malaysia established to honor anti-corruption fighters who had been killed or persecuted.”Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project: https://www.occrp.org/en/daily/11602-malaysia-honors-anti-graft-heroes-with-new-awardRetired soldiers ordered to vacate army residences – except Prayut.  “Two days after [Thai] army chief Gen. Apirat Kongsompong said retired army officers must move out from their official residences after their tenures ended in an [attempt] to combat corruption in the ranks, it emerged that some exceptions were made…That is, government leaders like PM Prayut Chan-ocha and deputy PM Prawit Wongsuwan, both of them retired army generals, are exempted”Pravit Rojanapruk/Khaosod English: https://www.khaosodengl…

Pacific Anti-Corruption Updates (15 February 2020): Cook Islands, PNG, Solomon Islands, Fiji

Pacific leaders agree on vision to tackle corruption in region.  A vision of the Pacific united against corruption was released from last week's first Pacific Regional Anti Corruption Conference in Kiribati. The conference was attended by the President of Kiribati, the prime ministers of Samoa and the Cook Islands as well as ministers and anti corruption officials from across the region.https://www.rnz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/409448/pacific-leaders-agree-on-vision-to-tackle-corruption-in-regionCOOK ISLANDS: ‘Political will’ key to drive anti-corruption. “Prime Minister Henry Puna along with other Pacific leaders have stressed “political will” the key to drive anti-corruption in the region... The Pacific leaders and representatives adopted a ground-breaking vision during the summit and endorsed commitments that build on their national engagement with the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).” http://www.co…

India Delhi region / Myanmar beneficial ownership / Pakistan political tool

Anti-Corruption Party Wins in India's Capital.  “An anti-graft crusader and the chief minister of India’s Delhi region, Arvind Kejriwal, secured a victory…that will keep his Aam Aadmi Party, AAP, in power in the regional assembly…The AAP was formally established in November of 2012 following a series of anti-corruption protests known as the India Against Corruption movement.”Eli Moskowitz/Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project: https://www.occrp.org/en/daily/11603-anti-corruption-party-wins-in-india-s-capitalBeneficial-owner database lauded despite some weaknesses.  “The database is one of the multiple initiatives recently undertaken by the Myanmar government to improve the transparency of information on beneficial owners and PEPs…Governance experts have welcomed the new database and say that despite the flaws, it represents a significant step forward in enhancing disclosure and transparency.”Thompson Chau/Myanmar Times: https://www.mmtimes.com/news/beneficial-owne…

Pakistan mathematician uncovers / Myanmar improved ranking / Malaysia 1MDB charges

Pakistani Mathematician Who Exposed Corruption of Rs 700 Million Forced to Leave Pakistan.  “[Amer Iqbal, the] Pakistani-American theoretical physicist and mathematician has been forced to flee the country after he exposed a mega-fraud of 700 million rupees in government college’s funds which were allocated to ghost teachers”Ummara Sheraz/ProPakistani: https://propakistani.pk/lens/pakistani-mathematician-who-exposed-corruption-of-rs-700-million-forced-to-leave-pakistan/Has Suu Kyi made Myanmar less corrupt? (Opinion).  “[Myanmar’s Corruption Perception Index] ranking has slowly but steadily improved since Suu Kyi assumed electoral power in 2016, when Myanmar ranked 136th on the index. That’s quantifiable international recognition of her government’s anti-graft battle, a campaign of new laws, high-profile arrests and sackings, and improved collaboration on graft issues with the private sector.”Thompson Chau/Asia Times: https://www.asiatimes.com/2020/02/article/has-suu-kyi-made-my…

Ethics beyond compliance / Malaysia Airbus implications / Indonesia political integrity

Ethics beyond compliance.  “The recent launch also announced the soon to be rolled-out Toolkit on Business Integrity for Young Entrepreneurs jointly undertaken with the UNDP Youth Co:Lab, a project on youth leadership, innovation, and entrepreneurship. The Business Integrity Toolkit is a guide for young entrepreneurs, to combat the influence of corruption on their integrity, and to help them navigate a business landscape full of risks which could easily harm their operations and ruin their reputations.”United Nations Development Programme: https://undpphilippines.exposure.co/ethics-beyond-compliance?source=share-undpphilippinesAirbus bribery case topples founder of Malaysian carrier AirAsia.  “AirAsia Group Bhd Founder Tony Fernandes became the first marquee airline executive to lose his post in the aftermath of planemaker Airbus SE’s record $4 billion bribery settlement. Fernandes will depart from his role as chief executive officer of the Malaysian carrier for two months wh…

Pakistan Citizens' Portal / Philippines MRT contract / Iran new parliament

Corruption, malpractice added to Citizens’ Portal.  “In line with Prime Minister Imran Khan’s instructions, the Prime Minister’s Performance Delivery Unit has added a dedicated category of Corruption and Malpractices to Pakistan Citizens’ Portal complaint lodging mechanism.”Mumtaz Alvi/The News: https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/610223-corruption-malpractice-added-to-citizens-portalEx-MRT chief Al Vitangcol convicted of graft over maintenance contract.  The Philippine anti-graft court Sandiganbayan has convicted former Metro Rail Transit 3 (MRT3) general manager Al Vitangcol III of graft and procurement law violation over the 2012 contract given to PH Trams whose incorporator Arturo Soriano was his uncle-in-law.Lian Buan/Rappler: https://www.rappler.com/nation/251148-al-vitangcol-convicted-graft-maintenance-projectCorruption Set To Continue In Next Iranian Parliament (Opinion).“Corruption appears to be moving from a reformist-dominated Majles to a conservative-dominated one. T…

Anti-corruption networks performance / CPI score changes / FCPA top case

Networks of anti-corruption authorities - Living up to their aspirations? (Resource/Brief).  “Networks of anti-corruption authorities pursue cross-border collaboration and joint capacity building, and sometimes even joint principles, joint policy making, and harmonization of national laws. Information about these activities and their outcomes is scarce, but it is clear that most of the networks are not yet reaching their political and technical potential.”Sofie Arjon Schütte/U4 Anti-Corruption Resource Centre: https://www.u4.no/publications/networks-of-anti-corruption-authoritiesSmall Year-to-Year Changes in CPI Scores Are Meaningless. Small Year-to-Year Changes in CPI Scores Are Meaningless. Small Year-to-Year Changes in CPI Scores Are Meaningless (Blog).  “Because year-to-year changes in an individual country’s CPI score usually meaningless, they are not newsworthy, nor can they be invoked to make substantive claims about corruption’s causes or consequences, or the success o…

Pacific Anti-Corruption Updates (8 February 2020): Tonga, Fiji, PNG, Solomon Islands, Samoa, Vanuatu

TONGA: Tonga accedes to UN Convention Against Corruption. Tonga has acceded to the United Nations Convention Against Corruption, becoming the 14th and final Pacific Island country to do so, and the 187th signatory in the world. https://matangitonga.to/2020/02/07/tonga-accedes-un-convention-against-corruptionFIJI: Development of a national anti-corruption strategy underway. The Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption is in the early stages of drafting a national anticorruption strategy.https://www.fbcnews.com.fj/news/development-of-a-national-anti-corruption-strategy-underway/FICAC targets primary school students in anti-corruption campaign. Starting them young, the Fiji Independent Commission against Corruption clarified their approach to better governance in schools.https://www.fbcnews.com.fj/news/ficac-targets-primary-school-students-in-anti-corruption-campaign/PNG:PNG maintains its position as most corrupt. Pacific country Papua New Guinea has again maintained its pos…

Indonesia CPI performance / Afghanistan open contracting / Malaysia ex-PM wife

KPK Law may hinder Indonesia’s performance in corruption perception index.  “Indonesia has made improvements in the Corruption Perception Index (CPI), Transparency International Indonesia has announced, but the country would struggle to maintain the momentum in the face of the new Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) Law.”The Jakarta Post: https://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2020/02/02/kpk-law-may-hinder-indonesias-performance-in-corruption-perception-index.htmlTaming crocodiles in Afghanistan: Can open contracting give corruption fighters the upper hand? (Blog).  “In the five years since the reforms were introduced, savings from procurement add up to around AFN 58 billion (US$740 million), according to government figures (calculated by subtracting the actual contract cost from the estimated cost).”Open Contracting Partnership: https://www.open-contracting.org/2020/01/31/taming-crocodiles-in-afghanistan-can-open-contracting-give-corruption-fighters-the-upper-hand/Graft tri…

Maldives RTI law / Philippines corruption reporting / Thailand House committee

Holding public officials accountable in the Maldives (Blog).“In a country with a long history of government secrecy, enforcing the Right to Information Act is a tedious task. But activists’ persistence is paying off.”Transparency International: https://voices.transparency.org/holding-public-officials-accountable-in-the-maldives-50588c5c7383‘Fight vs corruption needs more Pinoys reporting it’.  “If more Filipinos report corrupt practices via 8888, the government can do better in its fight against corruption, according to the National Economic and Development Authority (Neda). In a statement, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto M. Pernia said greater citizen engagement is the key to curbing corruption in the country.”Cai Ordinario/Business Mirror: https://businessmirror.com.ph/2020/01/28/fight-vs-corruption-needs-more-pinoys-reporting-it/Stop bickering and start working, anti-corruption panel told.  “Months have passed since the [Members of the House Anti-Corruption and Miscond…

Thailand Economic Monitor / Private sector research / Philippines CG standards

Thailand Economic Monitor January 2020: Productivity for Prosperity.  “Policy recommendations to boost productivity in Thailand could focus on: (i) increasing openness; (ii) enhancing competition in the domestic economy; and (iii) promoting a stronger eco-system for firm innovation.”World Bank: https://www.worldbank.org/en/country/thailand/publication/thailand-economic-monitor-productivity-for-prosperityCall for applications - funding for research on corruption in the private sector.  The research funded will supplement the ACE Research Consortium’s core evidence-based research on feasible and high impact anti-corruption strategies in the private sector, with a strong gender focus. Deadline for applications: 13 March 2020.School of Oriental and African Studies Anti-Corruption Evidence (SOAS-ACE) Consortium: https://ace.soas.ac.uk/competitive-call-2020/SEC tightens corporate governance standards.  “The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) [of the Philippines] has tightened …

Malaysia not complacent / Thailand House committee / Myanmar university rector

GIACC: Malaysia should not rest on laurels in fight against corruption.  “Malaysia’s success in improving its reputation in Transparency International’s (TI) Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) for 2019 has been a proud achievement for the country, but all stakeholders have been reminded [by Governance, Integrity and Anti-Corruption Centre (GIACC) deputy director-general, Datuk Dr Anis Yusal Yusoff] not to ease off, and continue the fight to eradicate corruption.Malay Mail: https://www.malaymail.com/news/malaysia/2020/01/24/giacc-malaysia-should-not-rest-on-laurels-in-fight-against-corruption/1831202Graft panel qualifications in crosshairs.  “The qualifications of certain members of the House standing committee on corruption have come under fire, raising the question of whether they are fit to continue in the role, according to the Anti-Corruption Organisation of Thailand (ACT).”Bangkok Post: https://www.bangkokpost.com/thailand/politics/1845909/graft-panel-qualifications-in-cro…