What connects Brexit the DUP dark money and a Saudi prince

The Irish Times

The story of a massive donation to the DUP is like a John le Carré novel – but voters need facts, not fiction

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Ιόνιο Πανεπιστήμιο – «Καταπολεμώντας τη διαφθορά»: εκδήλωση της Διεθνούς Διαφάνειας στη Θεσσαλονίκη

Ιόνιο Πανεπιστήμιο – «Καταπολεμώντας τη διαφθορά»: εκδήλωση της Διεθνούς Διαφάνειας στη Θεσσαλονίκη.

OECD Working Group on Bribery – Annual Report

 

Working Group on Bribery Annual Report front cover, shadow‌Date of publication
10 June 2013

Previous editions

2012 English  | Français

2011 English | Français

2010 English |  Français

2009

2008

2007

Published each year in June, the annual report of the OECD Working Group on Bribery provides a brief overview of the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention and how it works. It also outlines how the Working Group on Bribery contributes to the global fight against corruption.2013 (pdf) – including enforcement data

TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

  • Message from the Secretary-General
  • Message from the Chair of the Working Group
  • Setting the standard – the Anti-Bribery Convention
  • Working Group data on enforcement of the Anti-Bribery Convention
  • Monitoring compliance and implementation of the Convention
  • Working with key partners in the fight against foreign bribery
  • Global relations activities
  • A holistic approach to fighting foreign bribery – engagement with partners
  • OECD support for related anti-corruption initiatives
  • Appendix 1 – Parties to the Convention
  • Appendix 2 – Executive summaries of Phase 3 monitoring reports for
    – Australia
    – Austria
    – France
    – Greece
    – Hungary
    – Netherlands
    – Slovak Republic
    – Spain
    – Sweden
    – United Kingdom

So Much for Exporting Democracy: Afghanistan Is as Corrupt as North Korea

So Much for Exporting Democracy: Afghanistan Is as Corrupt as North Korea

http://blog.foreignpolicy.com

BY CATHERINE A. TRAYWICK

DECEMBER 3, 2013 – 12:12 PM

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After 12 years, nearly $700 billion, and more than 2,000 dead U.S. soldiers, here’s what the United States has to show for its efforts in Afghanistan: a government that’s perceived to be as corrupt as North Korea, according to a new report from the anti-corruption group Transparency International. File it away under things U.S. officials would probably rather ignore.

The Corruptions Perception Index culls expert opinions from groups like the World Bank, Freedom House, and the Economist Intelligence Unit on public sector corruption in 177 countries. Afghanistan has lingered near the bottom of the list for years, but since 2012 has shared last place with perennial losers North Korea and Somalia, countries where “corruption perceptions … indicate a near-total absence of an honest and functioning public sector,” according to Transparency International.

The report comes on the heels of a series of warnings by the Special Inspector General of Afghanistan Reconstruction that U.S. programs in Afghanistan are vulnerable to corruption. According to an October report, the Pentagon can’t account for as much as $230 million in spare parts for the Afghan National Army. In September, the inspector general released a report highlighting the potential for waste and misuse of funds intended for public health programs. “The U.S. Agency for International Development continues to provide millions of U.S. taxpayer dollars in direct assistance,” the report read, “with little assurance that the [Afghan Ministry of Public Health] is using these funds as intended.” In April, the inspector general warned that reconstruction contracts in Afghanistan may be funneling money to U.S. enemies in Afghanistan.

USAID programs are notoriously vulnerable to fraud and corruption, as USAID often gives development funds directly to governments rather than through U.S.-managed contracts, making it difficult to ensure adequate levels accountability and transparency. In settings like Afghanistan, where political corruption is endemic already, the flaws of this approach become particularly apparent. The United States has plowed a total of $96 billion in non-military aid into Afghanistan, according to the inspector general report, but at least $236 million of that aid is at risk of “waste, fraud and abuse.”

Iraq, for what it’s worth, ranks 171 of 177 countries — four spots ahead of Afghanistan. To get a sense of how they stacks up against other countries, check out the interactive map below.


But the report isn’t all bad news. Myanmar jumped from #172 in 2012 to #157 in the index, the largest single change in this year’s report. This leap in the rankings largely stems from positive perceptions of the country’s democratic reforms as it shifts away from its recent history of authoritarianism. But, as the report notes, those perceptions are not reflective of an actual decrease in corrupt practices, which is all but impossible to measure given the deliberately obscure nature of corruption. “The long journey has just begun,” the report explains. “The government still has much to do to bring its legal framework and regulations in line with acceptable standards, strengthen its anti-corruption institutions, and open up space for civil society and the media to monitor and tackle corruption culture at all levels.”

Lowered rankings for the Philippines, China, and India also suggest that perceptions of administrative and political corruption increase when economies grow, according to the report. Similarly, Libya and Syria’s slide on the index illustrates the effects of political conflict on public perception of corruption risk. With a six point decrease, Spain fell the furthest in this year’s ranking after what the report describes as “a summer blighted by political scandals indicating a lack of accountability and fading public trust.”

While, the index is by no means a comprehensive survey of corrupt activities around the world, it draws on assessments by 13 independent institutions specializing in business and governance. There are some problems with this approach (which Foreign Policyhas noted before), but the initiative nevertheless remains useful in raising awareness of factors that can deter corruption (such as public accountability mechanisms) and those that can facilitate it (such as an influx of foreign aid). The Philippines, for example, dropped two points in large part because of ongoing corruption scandals, including those surrounding Super Typhoon Haiyan relief efforts.

Here’s a look at how the rest of the world fared:

 

 

Transparency International

 

Corruption across EU ‘breathtaking’ – EU Commission

Corruption across EU ‘breathtaking’ – EU Commission

The extent of corruption in Europe is “breathtaking” and it costs the EU economy at least 120bn euros (£99bn) annually, the European Commission says. EU Home Affairs Commissioner Cecilia Malmstroem has presented a full report on the problem. She said the true cost of corruption was “probably much higher” than 120bn. Three-quarters of Europeans surveyed for the Commission study said that corruption was widespread, and more than half said the level had increased.

“The extent of the problem in Europe is breathtaking, although Sweden is among the countries with the least problems,” Ms Malmstroem wrote in Sweden’s Goeteborgs-Posten daily.

The cost to the EU economy is equivalent to the bloc’s annual budget.

For the report the Commission studied corruption in all 28 EU member states. The Commission says it is the first time it has done such a survey.

Bribery widespread

National governments, rather than EU institutions, are chiefly responsible for fighting corruption in the EU.

But Ms Malmstroem said national governments and the European Parliament had asked the Commission to carry out the EU-wide study. The Commission drafts EU laws and enforces compliance with EU treaties.

Map

In the UK only five people out of 1,115 – less than 1% – said they had been expected to pay a bribe. It was “the best result in all Europe”, the report said.

But 64% of British respondents said they believed corruption to be widespread in the UK, while the EU average was 74% on that question.

In some countries there was a relatively high number reporting personal experience of bribery.

In Croatia, the Czech Republic, Lithuania, Bulgaria, Romania and Greece, between 6% and 29% of respondents said they had been asked for a bribe, or had been expected to pay one, in the past 12 months.

There were also high levels of bribery in Poland (15%), Slovakia (14%) and Hungary (13%), where the most prevalent instances were in healthcare.

Ms Malmstroem said corruption was eroding trust in democracy and draining resources from the legal economy.

Originally, the report was also supposed to have included a chapter assessing corruption within EU institutions as well as within member states. But that idea was dropped.

Nevertheless the figures revealed will certainly raise some eyebrows – Cecilia Malmstroem described the scale of the problem as breath-taking.

The commission’s estimate that corruption is costing the EU economy about 120bn euros – the size of the EU’s annual budget – could well be a conservative one. Other experts believe the real figure is probably higher.

One thing is clear though – a continent that is trying to put years of economic crisis behind it needs to do a better job in combating corruption.

“The political commitment to really root out corruption seems to be missing,” she complained.

The EU has an anti-fraud agency, Olaf, which focuses on fraud and corruption affecting the EU budget, but it has limited resources. In 2011 its budget was just 23.5m euros.

The Commission highlighted that:

  • Public procurement (public bodies buying goods and services) forms about one-fifth of the EU’s total output (GDP) and is vulnerable to corruption, so better controls and integrity standards are needed
  • Corruption risks are generally greater at local and regional level
  • Many shortcomings remain in financing of political parties – often codes of conduct are not tough enough
  • Often the existing rules on conflicts of interest are inadequately enforced
  • The quality of corruption investigations varies widely across the EU

Swedish model

The EU study includes two major opinion polls by Eurobarometer, the Commission’s polling service.

Four out of 10 of the businesses surveyed described corruption as an obstacle to doing business in Europe.

Sweden “is undoubtedly one of the countries with the least problems with corruption, and other EU countries should learn from Sweden’s solutions for dealing with the problem”, Ms Malmstroem said, pointing to the role of laws on transparency and openness.

Organised crime groups have sophisticated networks across Europe and the EU police agency Europol says there are at least 3,000 of them.

Bulgaria, Romania and Italy are particular hotspots for organised crime gangs in the EU, but white-collar crimes like bribery and VAT (sales tax) fraud plague many EU countries.

Last year Europol director Rob Wainwright said VAT fraud in the carbon credits market had cost the EU about 5bn euros.

Analysis