February 2005 (#66)

In this update:

  • Indonesia Calls for Graft Scrutiny as Tsunami Rebuilding Begins
  • Iraq Oil-For-Food Program
  • 63 Multinational Companies Take First Step Towards Implementing Anti-Bribery Principles
  • TI Response to the Indian Ocean Tsunami
  • UN Millennium Development Goal
  • Special Edition of TI’s Corruption Fighters’ Tool Kit: Teaching Integrity to Youth
  • UN International Anti-Corruption Day and the TI Global Corruption Barometer 2004
  • Coming Events

Indonesia Calls for Graft Scrutiny as Tsunami Rebuilding Begins

Indonesia has urged the global community to heighten vigilance to ensure rampant corruption does not swallow billions of dollars of tsunami aid as it promises a March deadline to begin large-scale reconstruction in ravaged Aceh province. Senior Welfare Minister Alwi Shihab, who leads the government’s disaster response team, said his country was gambling its reputation on the reconstruction of Aceh, which will put a pledged war on graft to the test. Although the United Nations has said it wanted to take a more hands-off role in the effort to aid those affected by the December 26 earthquake and tsunami, Shihab said Indonesia was not ready to go it alone. He said it was vital that donor cash be channelled directly to rebuilding projects to avoid the country’s notoriously suspect bureaucracy, but where that was unavoidable heavy scrutiny was needed. Indonesia has forecast it would cost some four billion dollars over five years to rebuild Aceh. (Agence France Presse article, 10 February 2005)

Iraq Oil-For-Food Program

�Scandalous irreconcilable conflicts of interest, the intrusion of political considerations, and a lack of transparency and accountability have plagued the United Nations oil-for-food program� said TI Chairman Peter Eigen on February 3. Responding to the release today of the first interim report by the Independent Inquiry Committee into the program, he said that the report, led by Paul Volcker, former Chairman of the US Federal Reserve Board, �points to an inexcusable failure to hold transparent and open bidding processes, compounded by blatant conflicts of interest on the US$ 64 billion program�. The TI Secretariat believes that lessons must be learned from this international scandal. Eigen said, �With the recent tsunami tragedy and the subsequent humanitarian aid to South Asia, it is imperative that the UN sets the highest standards of transparency and probity in programs that it oversees. The UN Security Council bears a responsibility for failing to act against corruption in the oil-for-food program. Strict conflict-of-interest rules must be implemented and monitored in the UN system, and the Iraqi oil sector must be rebuilt on the basis of open tenders and strict anti-corruption controls. The reconstruction of Iraq should be managed in a way that benefits the Iraqi people as a whole, instead of to the benefit of corrupt cliques in Iraq and other countries, or bribe-paying multinationals.�

63 Multinational Companies Take First Step Towards Implementing Anti-Bribery Principles

Sixty three companies from energy, engineering and construction, and metals and mining sectors have signed a public anti-corruption commitment at or before this year’s World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos. The anti-bribery policy derived from TI’s Business Principles for Countering Bribery. The Partnering Against Corruption Initiative (PACI) is supported by TI, WEF and the Basel Institute on Governance. PACI calls for a zero-tolerance policy towards bribery, and the development of a practical and effective implementation program. TI is now working to develop tools that will assist companies in monitoring their performance in relation to anti-bribery policies.

TI Response to the Indian Ocean Tsunami

At the TI Secretariat in Berlin, Peter Rooke, Manager Asia / Pacific Programs, is coordinating a small task force to consider how TI�s response to the devastation caused by the 26 December tsunami. The task force is considering: a) how to help chapters in affected countries; b) TI�s policy position in relation to the media, donors, corporates and development NGOs; and c) what TI can do to help reduce the corruption risk. Three phases are anticipated:

  1. The immediate saving of life where normal processes are suspended because of urgency and lack of functioning infrastructure and institutions.
  2. Longer term humanitarian assistance for people who are injured, bereaved and/or who have lost their homes, livelihoods and/or communities.
  3.  Reconstruction of infrastructure which will involve big money and much procurement.

TI is focusing with local NGOs on monitoring delivery of humanitarian assistance and of procurement and project implementation.

UN Millennium Development Goal

Poverty can be halved if efforts are coupled with better governance says TI, calling on leading donor governments to respond positively to the UN Millennium Project report, and to conduct a major evaluation of the impact of aid. Peter Eigen, Chairman of TI believes that, �The UN Millennium Development Goal of halving poverty by 2015 is an important target. Corruption is a major obstacle to the realisation of the Millennium Development Goals, whose achievement will require political will to tackle corruption, and international assistance to strengthen governance standards.� Eigen added, �The world’s generosity in the face of the tsunami disaster must not be seen as a substitute for supporting sustainable development in other very poor countries, particularly those committed to improving governance standards and to curbing corruption. Jeffrey Sachs (Director of the UN Millennium Project) has called upon rich governments to increase the levels of their aid budgets in line with the Millennium Development Goals target of aid budgets reaching 0.7 per cent of GDP by 2015.

Special Edition of TI’s Corruption Fighters’ Tool Kit: Teaching Integrity to Youth

Published in December 2004, the Special Edition of TI’s Corruption Fighters’ Tool Kit includes examples of youth education experiences from 11 countries. Written mainly by TI national chapters, all 11 examples contribute to fostering a zero-tolerance approach to corruption, and to building demand for accountability. With many illustrations, this 80 page booklet documents tools from Argentina, Brazil, Cambodia, Colombia, Georgia, Italy, Macao, Moldova , Uganda, United States of America and Zambia. A PDF version can be downloaded from the TI website by clicking on the heading of this paragraph.

UN International Anti-Corruption Day and the TI Global Corruption Barometer 2004

On 9 December 2004 the first UN International Anti-Corruption Day was celebrated by TI chapters around the globe. The TI Global Corruption Barometer 2004 was launched on 9 December 2004 to mark the first UN Anti-Corruption Day. This day marks the signing on 9-10 December 2003 of the United Nations Convention Against Corruption. The UN Convention was the first global legally binding document facilitating international cooperation in the control of corruption, providing internationally agreed standards for the public and private sector.

Coming Events

20-21 February 2005:
Gayle Hill, Special Counsel, Freehills, Melbourne and past TI Australia Board member, has been invited to speak at the �Leadership in the Oil Industry� conference in Hyderabad, India on the topic �Issues of corporate ethics and conduct in developing countries�. The conference is part of a course being conducted for Oil and Natural Gas Corporation executives.