March 2005 (#67)


In this update:

  • The Minister for Foreign Affairs 13th Annual Statement to the Australian Parliament
  • Publish What You Pay Campaign Update
  • Global Corruption Report 2005
  • OECD Convention Enforcement
  • Resignation of John Githongo
  • Teaching Integrity to Youth
  • Coming Events

The Minister for Foreign Affairs 13th Annual Statement to the Australian Parliament

The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Alexander Downer, in the 13th Annual Statement to Parliament, gave considerable space and commitment to corruption prevention. The Minister said, �We will expand our assistance in political governance to enhance the integrity and transparency of decision makers and to build the internal demand for accountable government.� He added that Australia would expand its �assistance for anti-corruption activities. These will build on the partnerships we have developed with organisations such as Transparency International, ASEAN and APEC.� In his speech the Minister made special mention of NISPAC (National Integrity Studies of Pacific Island Countries), a TI initiative in the Pacific region.

Publish What You Pay Campaign Update

The Measuring Transparency project has developed a standard to assess the performance of companies and governments in support of revenue transparency. It also provides a framework to track their progress over time. The project’s results highlight the leaders and laggards in both the oil and gas industry and between several countries. These will be used by investors, NGOs, ratings agencies and other relevant actors to pressure companies and governments for greater transparency.
The Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) High Level Conference, held in London on 17 March 2005 and hosted by the British Government, brought together over 300 representatives from civil society, government, international financial institutions, the extractive industry and the media. The main purpose of the conference was to allow participants to renew commitments to greater transparency and to agree to a set of criteria for the implementation of the Initiative by host country governments. PWYP members are pleased that the five minimum requirements have been adopted. These criteria, which include independent auditing of payments and revenues, consultation by governments with civil society at all stages of the EITI process, and identifying capacity building needs, will help ensure that there is a common baseline to which all implementing countries adhere. Further information about the conference is available from the PWYP website.

Global Corruption Report 2005

Transparency International�s Global Corruption Report 2005, launched on 16 March 2005, shows how corruption in the construction sector undermines economic development, and threatens to hamstring post-conflict reconstruction in Iraq and beyond. Peter Eigen, Chairman of Transparency International (TI) said, �Corruption in large-scale public projects is a daunting obstacle to sustainable development. Corruption in procurement plagues both developed and developing countries. When the size of a bribe takes precedence over value for money, the results are shoddy construction and poor infrastructure management. Corruption wastes money, bankrupts countries, and costs lives.� The Report includes a special focus on post-conflict reconstruction in Iraq, and highlights the urgent need for governments to ensure transparency in public spending and for multinational companies to stop bribing at home and abroad. TI has also launched its �Minimum Standards for Public Contracting�, setting out a blueprint for transparent public procurement and calling on public contracting authorities to ensure that contracts are subject to open, competitive bidding.

OECD Convention Enforcement

A TI report released on 7 March 2005 has found that fifteen OECD Countries are making a �promising start� in the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention, but calls for accelerated enforcement. Prosecutions or investigations are underway in 15 of 24 countries surveyed, but governments need to do more to enforce the laws criminalizing bribery of foreign public officials that came into force in most signatory countries in 1999 and 2000. The report is based on information provided by TI national chapters in 24 of the 35 OECD signatory states. These 24 countries account for 95 per cent of OECD exports.

Resignation of John Githongo

In early February 2005, John Githongo resigned as Permanent Secretary for Governance and Ethics in the Office of the President of Kenya. As the founder of the Kenyan chapter of Transparency International (TI), Githongo brought to the government ethical credibility and legitimacy. John Githongo’s resignation sheds a bleak light on hopes for a re-asserted commitment of the Kenyan Government to the corruption fight. John Githongo gave no reason for his decision, saying only he �was no longer able to continue serving the government of Kenya�.

Teaching Integrity to Youth

Teaching Integrity to Youth, a special edition of TI�s Corruption Fighters� Toolkit, has been released. The kit includes examples of youth education experiences from 11 countries, all of which foster a zero-tolerance approach to corruption.

Coming Events

7-8 April 2005: Indian Ocean Tsunami Relief Conference: an initiative of TI Berlin together with the Asian Development Bank and the OECD, this conference in Jakarta, Indonesia aims to develop standards in relation to transparency and corruption prevention in the use of relief funds.
11-14 April 2005: TI Pacific Regional Meeting, Suva, Fiji: attended by representatives from TI chapters in the Pacific region, including Australia.
15 April 2005: TI-WA meeting: a seminar, �Courage Without Mateship�, presented by Associate Professor Kim Sawyer, who conducts research in the areas of corporate governance and corruption. Centenary Room, 1st Floor, Parliament House, Perth from 3.00 � 4.30pm. RSVPs are essential. Please email Miss Aya Kelly at akelly@ecel.uwa.edu.au or telephone her on 6488 2918 no later than 05 April 2005.
14-17 August 2005: International Conference on Engaging Communities: to be held in Brisbane, this conference is a joint promotion of the UN Dept of Economic and Social Affairs and the Queensland Government.

14-15 June: Anti-Money Laundering Conference, Avillion Hotel, Sydney, organised by LexisNexis.
21-22 June: Anti-Money Laundering Conference, Stamford Plaza, Melbourne, organised by LexisNexis.
14-17 August 2005: International Conference on Engaging Communities: to be held in Brisbane, this conference is a joint promotion of the UN Dept of Economic and Social Affairs and the Queensland Government.
3 November: TIA AGM Sydney: The distinguished guest speaker at this late afternoon meeting will be Jerrold Cripps, the recently appointed Commissioner of ICAC. His topic will be New Developments and Issues for ICAC.
11-14 November: TI Annual Members� Meeting, Berlin.