Apologies for the recent radio silence. Constant blogging from a
Blackberry, drains the battery pretty quickly...
Normal service to resume from here to the end.
Hage is asked a question from the floor about whether the Comptroller
General's office has been given a budget that will allow it to enforce
the new anti-bribery bill - should it be approved. The questioner
refers to the Serious Fraud Office in the UK and how its budget has
been reduced so drastically that critics say that the SFO no longer
has the ability to enforce the new UK Bribery Act.
Hage says that the CG will have the budget that it needs to enforce
the law. He says that the CG is not able to ask for a large budget
before the law is passed and that the budget will depend on demand. In
other words, if his office starts hundreds of corruption
investigations, he will have the budget to initiate hundreds of
investigations but if the CG investigates thousands, the CG will be
given the budget to investigate thousands.
Hage adds that as long as there is political will to fund the fight
against corruption, his office will be fine. Right now, we have the
political will, he says.
Lucinda Low, a partner at the law firm Steptoe and Johnson gives a
keynote speech on 'Fighting Corruption on the Global Stage: The
Importance of Brazil' via video conference
Low says that she wants to address the question: Does it matter if
this anti-bribery bill is passed.
She answers her own question by saying that it does matter. Brazil was
quick to sign up to the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention but because
Brazil does not have the ability to hold companies to account (either
in civil law or criminal law), the country is not in full compliance
with the OECD convention, she says. The new anti-bribery law will
change that, Low says.
Carlos Ayres is asked by Dawson about the importance of carrying out
anti-corruption due diligence when one company is buying another.
Ayres says that it's very important to conduct due diligence but that
historically Brazilian companies don't do it. The only Brazilian companies that do it, do so because they are subject to the FCPA or UK Bribery Act. In fact, some Brazilian companies get offended if
they're asked intrusive questions about corruption by a foreign
company, Ayres says. 'They (the company buying us) think we're
corrupt' is the thought process of the Brazilian company, Ayres said.
Hopefully, the passing of Brazil's new anti-corruption law will change
this view, Ayres said.
(this post was edited following its original posting to clarify that Brazilian companies don't generally carry out due diligence either when acquiring companies overseas or locally. The deciding factor as to whether a Brazilian company carries out anti-corruption due diligence is whether it is subject to a strict anti-corruption law such as the FCPA or UK Bribery Act).
The conference comes to an end leaving Stella Dawson and Monique Villa
to thank the panellists and audience.
Thanks for reading!
Just arrived at the conference centre. There are hordes of people here already but it's all very well organised. 20 minutes until President Rousseff officially opens the 15th IACC.
Brazil might be touting the importance of technology in enhancing government accountability and transparency but the power of technology is clearly a work in progress. At the Brasilia conference centre, the microphones in the opening plenary scarcely picked up several of the speakers; the wifi drops out work consistently; the simultaneous translation headsets have roughly a 1:3 chance of working. Speaking Portuguese helps immensely in following events -- sadly I don't! But the spirit of help and cooperation thrives as organisers scramble to work out the problems. Travel here has proven equally challenging - flights delayed. The plane carrying Indian social activist Aruna Roy ran short of fuel en route and she stayed overnight in Sao Paulo.
Drago Kos (an anti-corruption expert and former referee) states that
you'll never notice that an experienced football referee has thrown a
match unless you're also an expert referee. In other words, an expert
referee who is fixing a match won't give a blatantly false penalty, he
or she will find more subtle ways to influence the game.
According to rough estimates, legal sports betting is a $400 billion
industry, Abbott says. Illegal sports betting is a $200 billion
business and 92% of all bets placed on sport are placed on football.
With figures like that, it's no wonder that the fixing of football
matches is a huge growth area for organized crime!
If owning a football club in Bulgaria is a risky business, in Romania
it's a short way to becoming a famous politician, a member of the
Japan is doing a particularly good job at clamping down on match
fixing in football, Drago Kos says. Most countries are not, he adds.
Given the strength of the Yakuza organized crime group in Japan, Kos'
statement might surprise some.
First workshop of the morning here at the Ulysses Guimaraes Convention
Center is called 'Media as Agents of Change: Exposing Corruption,
Galina Sidorova, chair of the Foundation for Investigative Journalism
Anthony Mills, deputy director of the International Press Institute.
Giannina Segnini, editor, investigative unit, La Nacion, Costa Rica
Gerardo Reyes, director, investigative unit, Univision Network, USA
62 journalists were killed last year and 95 have been killed so far
this year, the workshop hears.
Segnini discusses how her paper (Costa Rica's La Nacion) created
public databases which anyone could access.
They created a database of all the mayor candidates in the upcoming
regional elections. They created a second database of all people
convicted of a crime in Costa Rica. And they created a third that
listed all Costa Ricans who are banned from running for public office.
Using these databases, La Nacion found five mayoral candidates who had
been convicted for crimes including robbery and fraud.
Segnini gives another example of the utility of databases:
Using public databases, La Nacion was able to find information on all
the properties owned by Costa Rican ministers, their spouses and their
Then, using land records, La Nacion was able to find the value of
Ministers in Costa Rica are required to declare the properties that
they own (and their value) so La Nacion was able to cross reference
their two databases against what the ministers had publicly declared.
In this way, La Nacion was able to expose the fact that some ministers
were evading enormous amounts of tax. The story led to the resignation
of Costa Rica's finance minister.
Costa Rica doesn't have a 'right to information' law; La Nacion
compiles their databases from public records and sometimes from taking
the government to court in order to force it to reveal certain
A UNDP study on Grassroots Women's Perspectives on Corruption released at a workshop here found that corruption affects a wider spectrum of women's lives than commonly recognised --39 pct of women were asked to pay bribes for basic services (water, electricity, healthcare); 21 pct to get jobs and in business; 16 pct for documents such as a birth certificate; 12 pct by law enforcement and 10 pct for housing, land and property.
Women are more deeply affected if they have no money to pay the bribes and must rely on men who control the financial resources of the household and hold the power, said Francis Birungi from Uganda Community Based Association for Child Welfare.
Women then are forced to pay with their bodies, through physical and sexual abuse she said.
The study found that 4 pct of women considered sexual exploitation a form of corruption.
Among the solutions proposed in the UNDP study was that women leaders are linked to grassroots groups, which gives women on the ground more confidence to stand up against corruption and leaders the information they need to create change.
"It is not enough to have women in leadership positions and then just better governance will happen," said Priya Pillai from Best Practices Foundation, who presented the UNDP report, which suffered 471 people, mostly women, in Africa, Latin America and South Asia.
"It is very important that women in government are linked to mobilized constituencies," she said.
Frank Vogl of TI asks the panel why the finance and banking
correspondents of major media organizations don't report on
corruption? He says that he meets journalists all the time to discuss
the Eurozone/financial crisis but none of them ever ask about
Some people and some media outlets simply aren't interested in the
topic of corruption, Segnini says. Sometimes, a journalist's editor
doesn't think that reporting on corruption is worth the effort. In
that case, "You need to treat your editors like heroin addicts,"
The first time you write about corruption, Segnini says, you need to
work very hard and often do all of the investigatory work in your own
time. Then, when the report is finished, you give it to your editor
"for free". Once the editor has had his or her first taste of a well
reported corruption story, the impact and publicity of that story will
make them want to come back for more, Segnini says.
Sidorova says that she thinks it's more important that the newspaper
reports the story rather than which correspondent wrote it.