December 2005 (#71)


In this update:

  • Australian Government ratifies UN Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC)
  • Oil For Food – the Volcker Enquiry
  • 2005 TI Global Corruption Barometer
  • TI Asia-Pacific Regional Workshop, 10-11 November 2005
  • New TI Chairman and Board
  • New Websites
  • COMING EVENTS

Australian Government ratifies UN Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC)

Australia is one of the first countries in the Asia Pacific region to ratify a United Nations convention aimed at stamping out corruption. The UN Convention against Corruption is the first binding global instrument on corruption. It creates obligations to prevent and criminalise corruption, and also requires countries to cooperate with each other in the investigation and prosecution of corruption offences and in recovering the proceeds of the crime. Minister for Justice and Customs Chris Ellison said that Australia complied with all of the mandatory requirements of the convention, which will come into force here on 6 January. Australia joined 35 other countries when it ratified the convention on Friday, 9 December, coinciding with UN International Anti-Corruption Day.

Oil For Food � the Volcker Enquiry

On 15 November 2005, TIA distributed a media release to the Australian media, advising that: ��the Volcker inquiry into the UN Oil for Food Program will be wound down by the end of November 2005 and the highly experienced staff dispersed. The funds necessary to maintain and retain the invaluable database generated have not yet been made available. If no action is taken by the United Nations to preserve this irreplaceable and invaluable data of some twelve million documents they will be dispersed back to their sources. If this was to happen this would be a scandal of monumental proportions internationally and could severely compromise the Cole inquiry established by the Australian Government. TIA has called on the Australian Government to use all its best endeavours to pressure the UN to ensure this invaluable material is centrally and securely retained for as long as is necessary to allow all appropriate inquiries and investigations to be completed.� The media release expressed concern at ��the potential damage this scandal could cause to Australia’s international reputation�, adding that �These payments represent a surcharge of 10% on the value of Australia’s wheat sales to Iraq under the Oil for Food Program and was the largest of such payments identified in the Volcker Report.� The media release suggested ��public revisiting of existing legislation to ensure that best practices are required of, and implemented by, all public and private entities in their commercial activities� and that �…our Government should consider that, when establishing the Commonwealth Independent Commission Against Corruption, it be equipped with a comprehensive remit far beyond the narrow and restrictive scope of the body currently contemplated.�

2005 TI Global Corruption Barometer

The 2005 Global Corruption Barometer reveals widespread concern about corruption around the globe. Close to 55,000 people in 69 countries were polled between May and October 2005 to assess their views on corruption. Asked to indicate the degree of change over the past three years, the overall view of citizens in 48 countries out of 69 is that corruption had increased. The Barometer indicates that corruption�s impact on personal and family life is most dramatic on poor households. In addition, citizens in poor income countries tend to pay a significantly larger percentage of their income in bribes than in higher income countries. In 13 countries, more than 50% of respondents said corruption had increased a lot over the past three years � Bolivia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, India, Israel, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines and Venezuela. Only six countries said it had decreased � Colombia, Georgia, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Kenya and Singapore.

2005 TI Global Corruption Barometer

TI Asia-Pacific Regional Workshop, 10-11 November 2005

The TI Asia-Pacific Regional Workshop 2005 was held in Berlin. All National Chapters, Chapters in Formation and Contacts in Asia-Pacific were represented at the meeting. Further information will soon be available on the TI Asia-Pacific website.

TI Asia-Pacific website

New TI Chairman and Board

Huguette Labelle, a respected Canadian with a broad background in development issues, has been elected Chair of Transparency International. The new Vice Chair is Akere Muna, founder and President of TI Cameroon. The new Board members are: Sion Assidon (Morocco), Boris Divjak (Bosnia-Herzegovina), Laura Puertas (Peru), Chong San Lee (Malaysia), Frank Vogl (United Kingdom) and Gerard Zovighian (Lebanon). They join Nancy Boswell (United States), Jermyn Brooks (United Kingdom/Germany), Valeria Merino Dirani (Ecuador) and Geo-Sung Kim (South Korea), who continue on the Board. Huguette Labelle thanked past Chair, Peter Eigen, for the outstanding leadership he has provided since the movement�s inception and commented, �Embedded corruption around the world continues to trap millions in poverty. Transparency International will continue to lead the fight to reduce the corrosive effects of corruption and enhance the opportunity for a better life.�

New TI Chairman and Board

New Websites

The Centre for Corporate Law and Securities Regulation at the University of Melbourne has launched a new website which deals with corporate law, corporate governance and securities regulation. The resources include links to: Asian-Pacific corporate law and securities regulation sites; world securities commissions; world stock exchanges; corporate governance; corporate social responsibility; professional and interest bodies; and financial news. Also available is free access to corporate law judgments of the High Court, Federal Court and the State Supreme Courts and other interesting information.
www.ethicsworld.com is a business ethics, governance and anti-corruption site for news, analysis and best practices. The website is designed as a resource for ethics and anti-corruption professionals, academics and journalists.

COMING EVENTS

10-12 April 2006: 2006 IIPE Conference at Keble College, University of Oxford, UK. World Ethics Forum: Confronting Corruption: Codes, Conventions and the Quest for Integrity. Call for Papers – open until 3 December 2005. Contact the World Ethics Forum 2006 Secretariat: iipe@iarf.net

20-21 April, 2006: 6th Australian Security Research Symposium – Queensland College of Arts, South Bank, Brisbane, Australia. Themes are: crime prevention work of security providers, including advances in security methods and technology; regulatory issues, law and conduct.

25 – 27 September, 2006: Governments & Communities in Partnership – From Theory to Practice Conference, Melbourne, Australia. The conference will bring together key policy makers, community leaders and researchers from around Australia, together with leading experts from the UK, Ireland, Austria, Canada, the United States and New Zealand. The aim is to deepen the academic and policy debate about the impact and value of efforts to �join-up� different public services and related initiatives to strengthen communities. Call for abstracts and presentations – open until April 30th, 2006.

2-3 November 2006: 6th National Investigation Symposium, Manly Pacific Hotel, Sydney � a major biennial public integrity event featuring presentations of key survey results from the Whistling While They Work project. The symposium is organised by the ICAC, NSW Ombudsman and Institute of Public Administration of Australia (NSW Division). Information will become available on the Institute of Public Administration of Australia website.