October 2009 (#104)

In this update:

  • Inaugural Frank Costigan Oration – 18 November 2009
  • TI Australia AGM – 18 November 2009
  • Request for Victorian ICAC from TI Australia
  • PNG businesses fight corruption
  • East Timor tackling corruption head on
  • TI Global Corruption Report 2009 – Corruption and the Private Sector
  • Annual Membership Meeting in Berlin
  • FRONTLINE website comments on black money
  • UK Serious Fraud Office makes a decision about possible bribery by BAE
  • TI Q&A on Sport and Corruption

Inaugural Frank Costigan Oration – 18 November 2009

The inaugural Frank Costigan Oration will take place immediately after the 2009 TI Australia AGM. This annual event honours TI Australia�s late Chairman, Frank Costigan QC, a doughty and dedicated fighter against corruption, who passed away in April 2009. The Hon. John Cain, past Premier of Victoria, longstanding friend and associate of Frank Costigan, will deliver the inaugural Frank Costigan Oration. The Oration will commence at 6.15pm at the Melbourne Law School, The University of Melbourne, University Square, 185 Pelham Street Carlton Vic 3053, and will be followed by light refreshments.

TI Australia AGM – 18 November 2009

The TI Australia AGM will be held at 5.30pm on Wednesday 18 November at the Melbourne Law School, The University of Melbourne, University Square, 185 Pelham Street, Carlton Vic 3053.

Request for Victorian ICAC from TI Australia

A letter from the TI Australia Acting Chairman, Greg Thompson, to the Victorian Premier, the Hon. John Brumby, notes with interest and concern the reports by the Ombudsman in relation to corruption at Brimbank and Port Phillip Councils, and welcomes the Government�s decision to establish a Local Government Investigation and Compliance Unit to help improve the performance of the local government sector. The letter continues, Your Government�s continued failure to set up an Independent Commission against Corruption, and follow the precedent of Queensland, New South Wales and Western Australia is both puzzling and a matter of grave concern. It is not enough to say that the mosaic of different bodies collectively make for a strong anti-corruption network when there is no evidence that this is the case, or that the entire public sector, including politicians, is effectively covered. Transparency International Australia urges the Victorian Government, as a matter of urgency, to establish an appropriate oversight body to address all aspects of public sector corruption in Victoria.

PNG businesses fight corruption

The TI PNG initiated Businesses against Corruption Alliance (BACA) was launched in August 2009 in Port Moresby. The fight against corruption in Papua New Guinea has received a boost from the business community, which has formed the Alliance to prevent corruption within businesses. BACA will ensure that businesses do not bribe or offer gifts to government officials to get contracts and permits to work in the country.

East Timor tackling corruption head on

After a string of corruption allegations were levelled against Xanana Gusmao�s coalition government, a civil society organisation in East Timor has launched an anti-corruption campaign it says will help tackle East Timor’s endemic corruption head on. The National Campaign Against Corruption (NCAC), spearheaded by non-governmental organisation Lalenok Ba Ema Hotu (LABEH), will use local radio and community-level meetings to raise awareness of corruption issues in East Timor�s 13 districts, says Christopher Samson, LABEH executive director. The campaign will have a �powerful and positive impact on the government� he says, because �only a fool will steal when the people are watching him�.

TI Global Corruption Report 2009 – Corruption and the Private Sector

The 2009 Global Corruption Report has a timely focus in the face of the Global Financial Crisis and its consequences. GCR09 brings together more than 75 leading scholars, business practitioners and civil society experts to: examine persistent and emerging corruption risks for business; assess the efficacy of existing remedies; and propose practical and innovative measures to strengthen and protect long term corporate integrity. Bribery in business captures news headlines around the globe and leads to massive reputational and financial consequences for implicated companies. However, bribery represents only part of the picture when profit comes at the expense of integrity and sustainability. Other corrupt practices, such as corporate fraud, cartels and undue influence on public policy, work as destructive forces that undermine fair competition, stifle economic growth and ultimately a company�s viability.

Annual Membership Meeting in Berlin

The TI 2009 Annual Membership Meeting held in Berlin from 17-18 October was the largest to date. About 300 representatives from TI chapters from some 100 countries and territories attended for two days of in-depth discussions and strategising. A pre-meeting conference reflected on the global financial crisis, its roots and how the movement can contribute concrete solutions. During the meeting, resolutions dealing with the UN Convention against Corruption, Germany�s outstanding ratification of the convention and the protection of whistleblowers were adopted.

FRONTLINE website comments on black money

The FRONTLINE website gives information and invites comment on the issue of �black money� – the term used for secret payments routinely made by multinational companies to win billions in business. The website states: As the global financial downturn continues and pressure for profits increases on corporations across the world, a small group of lawyers in the U.S. Justice Department is pursuing an aggressive crackdown against an international business tactic – bribery – which the World Bank says amounts to as much as a trillion dollars a year in payments.

UK Serious Fraud Office makes a decision about possible bribery by BAE

The U.K. Mail has reported that military equipment supplier BAE was given until the end of September 2009 by the Serious Fraud Office to avoid a criminal trial for paying bribes in the Czech Republic, Tanzania, and South Africa. The pressure on BAE is a turnaround for the SFO. It caused an uproar in December 2006 by dropping an investigation into allegations the company bribed members of the Saudi Arabian government in exchange for the sale of Typhoon jet fighters. The SFO said it had to stop the investigation after Saudi Arabia threatened to end anti-terrorism cooperation with the British government.

TI Q&A on Sport and Corruption

The TI website notes: From match-fixing to stadium construction kickbacks, the sporting world has experienced a string of corruption scandals, revealing that even sport is not immune to foul play. Collaborative efforts between sporting organisations, sponsors, sports betting organisations and government have the potential to create effective solutions to combat corruption in sport. However, raising the levels of transparency and risk awareness across the sporting industry are two challenges that must first be met. To read more, click on the link above.