Say No to Corruption
The Integrity Bulletin November 2018
Corruption is a major obstacle to democracy and economic development...
Ulla Tornaes, Denmark Minister for Development Cooperation
Corruption and Its Impact
"Corruption in the form of bribery and misuse of public funds is a major obstacle to democracy and economic development in many of the world's poor countries." ~ Ulla Tornaes, Denmark Minister for Development Cooperation.
Meet the Winners of Transparency 2018 Anti-Corruption Award Global anti-corruption organization Transparency International has announced that the late Maltese journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia and Spanish whistleblower and campaigner Ana Garrido Ramos have been selected as winners of the 2018 Anti-Corruption Award.
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The awards were presented at a ceremony at the 18th International Anti-Corruption Conference (IACC) in Copenhagen on October 22. Daphne Caruana Galizia’s son Matthew and husband Peter collected her award. Matthew Caruana Galizia said: “The bomb that took Daphne away from us extinguished the most powerful voice we ever had in our country’s fight for integrity. Nothing will ever compensate for the journalist – let alone the person – we lost in her fight against corruption.”
Daphne Caruana Galizia. Photo: Transparency International
Through her reporting, Daphne Caruana Galizia exposed corruption scandals involving influential politicians and others in Malta and abroad. Since her murder on October 16th, 2017, Maltese authorities have initiated criminal proceedings against her alleged killers, and an inquiry into whether anyone else should be charged. In 2009, Ana Garrido Ramos delivered a 300-page dossier to a Spanish trade union containing evidence of corrupt practices within the Boadilla Town Hall, her former place of employment. What began as an investigation into corruption in a local town hall expanded into a larger investigation, later dubbed the “Gürtel case”. It exposed a scheme involving kickbacks for government contracts headed by a Spanish businessman who provided donations and bribes to the then-ruling People’s Party. Her claims as a whistleblower and key witness contributed to the downfall of the Mariano Rajoy government in June 2018.
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Ana Garrido Ramos said: "Unfortunately, in Spain, the system ruins the life of the corruption complainant. On the other hand, the corrupt are usually rewarded with promotions and perks. Spain urgently needs an effective law to protect whistleblowers; it is an essential tool to eradicate corruption.” The Anti-Corruption Award honours remarkable organisations and individuals, including journalists, prosecutors, government officials, and civil society leaders who expose and fight corruption. A committee of seven people from the board of Transparency International and the wider anti-corruption movement serves as the jury. Nominations for this year’s award were submitted by the public and Transparency International chapters.
Can Right to Information Check Corruption in India? The President of India, Ram Nath Kovind, inaugurated the 13th Annual Convention of the Central Information Commission (CIC) in New Delhi in October. Speaking on the occasion, the President said that free flow of information is the essence of democracy. And for the people of a free and free-spirited country, information is power. They have a right to know how they are being governed, how public money is being spent, how public and national resources are being deployed, how public services are being delivered, and how public works and welfare programmes are being carried out. In a democracy, he said, there is no such thing as too much information. Information overload is always preferable to information deficit.
Ram Nath Kovind at the inauguration of the 13th Annual Convention of Central Information Commission (CIC), in New Delhi on October 12, 2018. Photo: PIB
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The President said that RTI (Right to Information) is not a standalone; it is part of the larger narrative of strengthening Indian democracy, of ensuring transparency across systems of governance, and of building capacities of the common citizen to enable him or her to take informed decisions and make informed choices. Above all, the President said, it is about nurturing the social contract of trust between the citizen and the state – where both must have faith in each other. A related and parallel implication is to ensure rational use of public resources to check instances of corruption or waste, he said.
New World Report Reveals Rampant Corruption in India A new Freedom in the World 2018 report released by Freedom House - a Washington-based independent watchdog organization dedicated to the expansion of freedom around the world - has revealed rampant corruption in India. The report says that the landmark 2005 Right to Information (RTI) Act is widely used to improve transparency and expose corrupt activities. Between 4 and 6 million requests are made under the Act each year. Since the passage of the RTI Act, however, at least 65 right-to-information users and activists have been murdered, and more than 400 have been assaulted or harassed, according to the National Campaign for People’s Right to Information. According to the report, police stand accused of turning a blind eye to these attacks. In 2015, the report says, the Lok Sabha adopted amendments to the 2014 Whistleblowers Protection Act. Opposition members criticized those changes, and subsequent ones, for diluting the effectiveness of the Act, which was already regarded as limited in scope. The report says that politicians and civil servants at all levels are regularly caught accepting bribes or engaging in other corrupt behavior. While large-scale scams often come to light, a great deal of corruption is thought to go unnoticed and unpunished. The Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, which the President signed in 2014, creates independent government bodies tasked with receiving complaints of corruption against public servants or politicians, investigating claims, and pursuing convictions through the courts. According to the report, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and members of his government have signaled support for the law, but there is little sign that it is being implemented. Elected leaders have the authority to govern in practice, and civilian control of the military is codified in the Constitution. However, the report says, political corruption has a negative effect on government efficiency. The report reveals that political life is vibrant and people are generally able to form political parties and assert party membership or their own candidacies without interference. However, according to the report, the opaque financing of political parties—notably through electoral bonds that allow donors to obscure their identities—remains a source of concern.
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CVC of India Analyzes Top 100 Bank Frauds India’s top anti-corruption organization Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) has reviewed and analyzed Top 100 Bank Frauds, as on 2017. Sharing the details, T. M. Bhasin, Vigilance Commissioner at CVC, informed on October 16, 2018 that the Commission has sub divided the study into 13 sectors. These are Gems and Jewellery, Manufacturing, Agro, Media, Aviation, Services, Discounting of Cheques and Bills, Trading, IT, Exports, Fixed Deposits and Demand Loan. Bhasin said that as a conscious decision and with a view to maintaining discreteness, the names of borrower accounts / entities and the names of the Banks have not been disclosed in the report. However, he said, steps are being taken for all encompassing actions such as investigation by the premier investigative agencies, fixing staff accountability, and recovery measures for effective action. Bhasin added that the modus operandi of these loans has been thoroughly analyzed and various loopholes / lapses have been identified. Based on the findings, various industry specific suggestions for systemic improvement have been given in the final report, which have also been sent to the Department of Financial Services (DFS) and RBI, in order to plug the loopholes observed by the Commission. The measures suggested include strengthening of SOPs, monitoring system, and also highlighting the role of controlling offices, so as to examine the aspects of quality of business. Bhasin said that this analytical study was initiated by the Commission as a preventive vigilance measure to minimize the occurrence of such types of frauds in future. RBI has also confirmed to the Commission that inputs given by CVC are very useful and shall be used for systemic improvements to mitigate the risks. Bhasin said that the intention of the Commission is to bring about awareness among the field functionaries by enhancing their knowledge towards the existing lapses, so that the frauds of similar nature do not recur. These studies have been done by the Commission as a preventive vigilance tool by utilizing its experience of handling various cases of frauds and staff accountability related matters. Photo: PIB
Europe Opens Doors to Criminals and the Corrupt: Report The doors of Europe are open to criminals and the corrupt, thanks to lax, opaque, and mismanaged ‘Golden Visa’ schemes, according to a report released in October by Transparency International and Global Witness.
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The two anti-corruption organizations say the financial benefit of citizenship- and residency-by-investment schemes is undercut by risks arising from insufficient due diligence, conflicts of interest, and wide discretionary powers. “If you have a lot of money that you acquired through dubious means, securing a new place to call home far away from the place you stole from isn’t just appealing, it’s sensible. Golden Visa schemes offer a safe haven from authorities who might be looking to seize your stolen assets, and the freedom to travel without raising suspicion,” said Naomi Hirst, a senior campaigner at Global Witness. “This approach exposes countries to corrupt individuals, and risks the corruption of the state itself as profit-hungry governments disregard the dangers and enter into a race to the bottom.” The report comes just weeks after police in Finland raided a real-estate agency at the centre of a suspected €10 million money-laundering operation, controlled by a Russian businessperson who reportedly purchased Maltese citizenship. Laure Brillaud, Anti-Money Laundering Policy Officer at Transparency International EU and a co-author of the report said: “Poorly managed schemes allow corrupt individuals to work and travel unhindered throughout the EU and undermine our collective security. It is for this reason that EU-wide action is urgently required. Brussels needs to define standards for these programmes and ensure that they are adhered to in all Member States offering citizenship and residence permits for investment.” Although Golden Visa schemes continue to be shrouded in secrecy, available data shows that at least six thousand passports and nearly 100,000 residency permits have been sold in the EU in the last decade. Spain, Hungary, Latvia, Portugal and the United Kingdom have granted the highest numbers of these – over 10,000 each. According to the report, Golden Visa schemes in all member states have generated around €25 billion in foreign direct investment in the past decade. Cyprus has raised €4.8 billion since 2013, while Malta has brought in about €718 million since opening a scheme in 2014. Cyprus, Portugal, Spain and the UK appear to earn between half a billion and close to a billion Euros per year.
Judicial Ethics Training to Combat Corruption This activity is part of the Judicial Integrity pillar of the Global Programme for the Implementation of the Doha Declaration, which was adopted by the Thirteenth United Nations Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice in 2015. The Declaration reaffirms Member States' commitment to: "Make every effort to prevent and counter corruption, and to implement measures aimed at enhancing transparency in public administration and
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promoting the integrity and accountability of the criminal justice systems, in accordance with the United Nations Convention against Corruption." The training tools are aimed at providing newly appointed and serving members of the judiciary with a solid understanding of the Bangalore Principles of Judicial Conduct and the requirements of Article 11 of the United Nations Convention against Corruption. Strong demand for such tools was identified through cooperation with Member States under the Global Programme. The tools are planned to be finalized by 2018 and will then be translated into several UN official languages and Portuguese. The package of training tools will consist of an e-Learning course, a self-directed course, and a trainers' manual. Photo: UNODC
Ineffective CVC Systems to Handle Corruption Complaints The Indian government-controlled anti-corruption organization Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) of India has become a toothless outfit. The CVC online as well as traditional systems of handling corruption complaints are totally ineffective. The corrupt officials simply ignore the CVC directions or they respond with utterly useless letters. What is the purpose of ordering corruption inquiries, delaying them for months and years, and allowing the accused to continue their corruption while the inquiries are pending? All the inquiries are meaningless if the accused facing the inquiries are not suspended or dismissed. The usual CVC response to complaints is: "As the commission has sent your complaint for necessary action, it does not expect any report from the CVO of the organisation concerned." Even a post office can do the work of sending complaints to other offices. Then what is the role of CVC? And why should people report about corruption cases when there is no actionable response from CVC? While CVC's systems of handling corruption complaints and inquiries are terribly slow and flawed, corruption is increasing rapidly in the country. While the CVC website is full of interface errors, the letters that it writes to complainants are written so crudely in loose English language that you cannot make heads or tails of them. If CVC cannot revamp its processes immediately to make them effective, the office of CVC must be shuttered because it is wasting a lot of public money without any performance. Note: I interact with the office of CVC frequently, because I run multiple anti-corruption campaigns including a community-driven “Clean House” anti-corruption service. Rakesh Raman
Delhi Officers Refuse to Attend CVC’s Anti-Corruption Programs While the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) of India is largely a toothless outfit which has failed to stop corruption in the country, now the Chief Vigilance Officers (CVOs) of Delhi are showing scant respect to the CVC’s anti-corruption programs.
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Most CVOs do not attend the CVC lectures that are aimed to spread awareness about corruption issues. In a circular for a lecture on October 31, the CVC has lamented that despite its advisory to CVOs and other vigilance officers to attend these lectures, a very small number of CVOs based in Delhi are attending the lectures. The circular signed by CVC director Nitin Kumar states that CVOs’ absence has been viewed adversely by the Commission, as the efforts to improve their knowledge are being wasted. It advised the officers again to attend the CVC lectures being organized under its “Lecture Series” initiative.
PM Modi Awarded the Seoul Peace Prize for Anti-Corruption Efforts The Seoul Peace Prize Committee has decided to confer the 2018 Seoul Peace Prize on India’s Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi. According to an official statement released on October 24 by the Indian government, among other factors, the award is in recognition of Modi’s contribution for furthering the development of democracy through anti-corruption and social integration efforts. While awarding the 2018 Seoul Peace Prize, the Award Committee recognized PM Modi's contributions to the growth of the Indian and global economies, crediting 'Modinomics' for reducing social and economic disparity between the rich and the poor. The Committee lauded PM's initiatives to make the government cleaner through anti-corruption measures and demonetization. Expressing his gratitude for the prestigious honour and in light of India's deepening partnership with the Republic of Korea, PM Modi has accepted the award. The award will be presented by the Seoul Peace Prize Foundation at a mutually convenient time. The Seoul Peace Prize was established to crystallize the Korean people's yearning for peace on the Korean Peninsula and in the rest of the world.
Supreme Court Orders Inquiry Against CBI Director The Chief Justice of India (CJI) Ranjan Gogoi ordered on October 26 the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) to complete the inquiry in 10 days for the allegations of corruption against CBI director Alok Verma, who was forced by the government to go on leave. The CJI was hearing a petition filed by Verma through a senior lawyer Fali Nariman to challenge the government order. The court said that the probe will be conducted by an ex-Supreme Court judge AK Patnaik.
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The court also ordered that the interim CBI director M Nageswar Rao will not take any policy decisions during the inquiry period and he will only handle the routine administrative work. There will be no investigation against CBI special director Rakesh Asthana who had complained against Alok Verma. The next date of hearing is November 12.
Whistleblower Ethics and Reporting Management Solutions Global tech market research firm International Data Corporation (IDC) has published an IDC Innovators report profiling three companies that offer whistleblower ethics and reporting management solutions. The three companies named IDC Innovators are Red Flag Reporting, Whistleblower Security, and Ethics Global. According to IDC, most organizations currently rely on internal reporting channels to learn about incidences of corporate fraud, harassment, and security breaches. Unfortunately, it says, these channels are seldom truly anonymous and can be ineffective. Enabling employees to report fraud and misconduct anonymously can help stop major scandals in early stages before too much damage is done. To meet this need, according to IDC, a specialized segment of the governance, risk, and compliance software and services market has started to bloom, supporting anonymous reporting and communication across hotlines, messaging services, email, and web portals. "Outsourcing and hiring a third party to manage your whistleblower services is the most effective way to have effective anonymous reporting that empowers and comforts your employees," said Ryan O'Leary, senior research analyst, Legal, Risk and Compliance Solutions at IDC. Red Flag Reporting offers an online case management solution with fully anonymous reporting and investigation capabilities that automatically compiles reports from all channels into one management tool. Whistleblower Security provides three levels of anonymity and a fully searchable case management tool that allows companies to consolidate trends and reports across the organization with an all-inclusive pricing model. Ethics Global tailors its solutions to each customer's needs with a la carte pricing and an in-house software development team capable of delivering completely custom processes and software. The report, IDC Innovators: Whistleblower Ethics and Reporting Management, 2018, profiles three emerging vendors with their solutions for whistleblowing ethics and reporting management.
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Construction Spreads Corruption and Pollution in Delhi The dust and noise pollution in Delhi is increasing because of government’s ill-conceived floor area ratio (FAR) construction policy.
Deadly dust and noise pollution is caused by FAR construction in occupied cooperative group housing societies of New Delhi in India
The FAR construction in occupied group housing societies – where millions of people live – is spreading lethal pollution that is harmful to children, men, and women including senior citizens. This construction is supported by a criminal nexus between deep-pocket builders and corrupt politicians / government officials. The total corruption money involved in FAR construction in Delhi is thousands of crores of rupees. The FAR-related corruption is supported by two of the most corrupt departments of Delhi: the Registrar Cooperative Societies (RCS) and Delhi Development Authority (DDA). With its corrupt FAR policy, the Delhi Government is using extended construction as a weapon of mass destruction (WMD) which will first torture people with the lethal dust and noise pollution and then finally kill them mercilessly. You can click here to study the full report on FAR construction, corruption, and pollution.
Join Corruption Research Project in India The Centre for Transparency and Accountability in Governance (CTAG), National Law University, Delhi - in collaboration with the humanitarian organization RMN Foundation - has launched a research project to compile an exclusive report on corruption in India.
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The unique selling proposition (USP) of this report will be to sensitize different stakeholders in India and abroad about the limitations of the Indian governments in deploying information-driven processes to deal with corruption, although it will also cover traditional aspects. You are invited to join the project as volunteers to manage its diverse activities such as research, public relations, content creation, data management, project monitoring, and so on. It is a 4-month project that began in October 2018. Candidates can contact Mr. Rakesh Raman, founder, RMN Foundation (Email: email@example.com) with their contact details and a brief profile.
Appeal for Donations RMN Foundation is a humanitarian organization that was formed in May 2015 as an educational and public charitable Trust for the benefit of humanity at large. It is registered with the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi at New Delhi, India. Currently, all the activities of RMN Foundation are being managed single-handedly (without any support) by RMN Foundation founder Rakesh Raman who had left his job a few years ago to run this charity. As RMN Foundation has embarked upon some major humanitarian projects during the past over 3 years, now it needs a significant amount of funds in the form of donations to expand the scope of its activities. Individual Indian donors can help RMN Foundation with their contributions using the following bank details: Bank Name: ICICI Bank Bank Branch: HL Square, Plot No. 6, Sector 5 (MLU), Dwarka, New Delhi 110 075 Account Number: 025005004368 Account Name: RMN Foundation Type of Account: Current IFSC Code: ICIC0000250
Transparency to Help African Union Fight Against Corruption The African Union Advisory Board on Corruption and Transparency International signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on cooperation commitment to the fight against corruption. The MOU renews a partnership agreement that was concluded in 2015 and came to an end in 2018. The signing ceremony took place in October at the 18th International Anti-Corruption Conference (IACC) held in Copenhagen, Denmark.
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Begoto Miarom, Chairperson of the African Union Advisory Board on Corruption and Patricia Moreira, Managing Director of Transparency International signed the MOU. Photo: Transparency International
Hosted by Huguette Labelle, Chairperson of the IACC, the signing ceremony was witnessed by Charity Hanene Nchimunya, Executive Secretary of the African Union Advisory Board on Corruption and Delia Ferreira Rubio, Chairperson of Transparency International. Begoto Miarom, Chairperson of the African Union Advisory Board on Corruption and Patricia Moreira, Managing Director of Transparency International signed the MOU on behalf of their respective parties. The major thrust of the MoU is to promote mutually beneficial cooperation between the African Union Advisory Board on Corruption and Transparency International in the areas of advocacy, research, capacity development, awareness raising, and outreach. The African Union Advisory Board on Corruption is an organ of the African Union established as a follow-up mechanism to the African Union Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption. It assesses the application of anti-corruption measures by African states and promotes measures to detect, punish, and eradicate corruption in Africa. Transparency International is the global civil society organization leading the fight against corruption.
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Corruption in Bureaucratic Inefficiency As most Indian politicians are either uneducated or unskilled, they are largely dependent on bureaucrats for day-to-day work. However, the bureaucrats in India are highly inefficient and they lack knowledge about the modern governance issues. While this bureaucratic inefficiency has become the worst form of corruption, the bureaucrats do not take decisions to resolve public problems. Rather, they keep throwing written public complaints from one government desk to another. Consequently, harassed citizens are left with no other option but to approach the courts. As courts are always overcrowded, their decisions are either inordinately delayed or lack justice. And if courts have to do everything, why do we need careless government officials? Note: I interact with bureaucrats frequently, because I run multiple environment protection, education awareness, and anti-corruption campaigns including a community-driven “Clean House” anti-corruption service. Rakesh Raman
About The Integrity Bulletin Project The Integrity Bulletin content project is being carried out by RMN Foundation in collaboration with the Centre for Transparency and Accountability in Governance (CTAG), National Law University (NLU), Sector 14, Dwarka, New Delhi. The Centre is headed by Prof. (Dr.) Jeet Singh Mann (pictured) as its Director. He is also the executive editor of the International Journal of Transparency and Accountability in Governance, CTAG, NLU Delhi. The Integrity Bulletin n ewsletter project has been conceived and advised by Prof. Mann. He is coordinating with various anti-corruption agencies in India and abroad to spread awareness about various aspects of corruption.
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Write for The Integrity Bulletin RMN Foundation - the humanitarian organization in India - is offering The Integrity Bulletin which is a monthly newsletter on global corruption news and issues. Currently, the newsletter project is being managed by Mr. Rakesh Raman who is a national award-winning journalist and founder of RMN Foundation. The Integrity Bulletin i nvites anti-corruption organizations, social activists, professionals, and experts to contribute their editorial articles for the newsletter. You may please submit the articles with your brief profile to Mr. Rakesh Raman (Email: firstname.lastname@example.org). People from all across the world are also invited to participate as volunteers in this project.
Meet the Editor The editor of The Integrity Bulletin Rakesh Raman is a national award-winning journalist and social activist. Besides working at senior editorial positions with leading media companies, he was writing an exclusive edit-page column regularly for The Financial Express (a daily business newspaper of The Indian Express Group). Nowadays, for the past over 7 years, he has been running his own global news services on different subjects. He also has formed a free Education and Career Counselling Center for deserving children at a poor J.J. Colony in Dwarka, New Delhi under his NGO – RMN Foundation. He also runs an exclusive community-driven anti-corruption social service “Clean House” to help the suffering residents of Delhi raise their voice against the growing corruption and injustice particularly in group housing societies where millions of people live. He creates Legal Directions newsletter. Earlier, he had been associated with the United Nations (UN) through United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) as a digital media expert to help businesses use technology for brand marketing and business development. Contact Rakesh Raman Founder RMN Foundation 463, DPS Apts., Plot No. 16, Sector 4 Dwarka, Phase I, New Delhi 110 078, India Contact by email
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The monthly newsletter covers local and international corruption news and issues to engage with different stakeholders who are trying to com...
Published on Nov 5, 2018
The monthly newsletter covers local and international corruption news and issues to engage with different stakeholders who are trying to com...