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GOPAC Australia Attends Anti-Corruption Symposium in Hong Kong

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GOPAC Australia Chair John Hyde, MLA, and Treasurer Hon. Nick Goiran, MLC, attended this month’s major anti-corruption symposium in Hong Kong, hosted by the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC). Australia’s major State-based anti-corruption bodies are all derived from the Hong Kong ICAC model and they have much to learn from Hong Kong’s well-funded organisation and processes.

The ICAC symposium in Hong Kong draws around 450 people every three years and a major emphasis this year was on the growth in

trans-national corruption and trans-nation anti-corruption co-operation.

"ICAC has a strong commitment to fighting non-government corruption which is the growth area."
    – GOPAC Australia Chair John Hyde,
       MLA

Mr. Hyde and Hon. Goiran attended in their roles as members of the parliamentary Joint Committee on the Corruption and Crime Commission in Western Australia.

Speakers included Theresa Hamilton, the Deputy Commissioner from New South Wales’ ICAC. Mr Nicola Bonucci, who works at the OECD and chairs the Anti Corruption Committee at the International Bar Association, spoke about a recent Foreign Bribery Impact Study which shows that 46 per cent of foreign bribery is being paid to officials in the developed countries.

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New GOPAC Canada Executive

Parliamentarians the world over have a duty to the public they serve to ensure their countries are governed with honesty and integrity and are free of corruption. Through GOPAC’s network, parliamentarians have access to the knowledge and leadership to help make this a reality. In May, our ever growing team welcomed a group of 10 MPs from Canada as

part of GOPAC Canada, our renewed Canadian chapter. Leading the group is Daryl Kramp, the GOPAC Canada Chair and he is joined by Vice-Chair Yasmin Ratansi, Secretary Pat Martin and Treasurer Garry Breitkreuz. In the coming months our Canadian parliamentarians will be setting out their plan for fighting corruption and improving good governance.

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Implementing the UNCAC in Morocco

Moroccan Parliamentarians Against Corruption, the Moroccan chapter of Arab Parliamentarians Against Corruption (ARPAC), organized in partnership with GOPAC and the United Nations Development program (UNDP), a workshop on the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC) in Marrakech, Morocco at the beginning of May. Eighteen Moroccan parliamentarians gathered to complete the self-assessment tool for parliamentarians on the fight against corruption. The meeting highlighted the important role of parliamentarians in implementing the provisions of the UNCAC.

"Experience has shown that corrupters are ferocious ogres that should be faced with high spirits and great capacities."
    – Dr. Naser Al Sane, GOPAC Chair

The workshop promoted the involvement of different segments of society and parliamentarians in a national dialogue on the fight against corruption. It asked the Moroccan parliamentarians to complete the self-assessment tool which assisted them in identifying ways to ensure implementation of the UNCAC. It was led by GOPAC Chair, Dr. Naser Al Sane who has been active in the fight against corruption for over a decade and is dedicated to helping parliamentarians in Morocco and abroad gain the technical expertise to be effective anti-corruption fighters.

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Some UNCAC implementation
recommendations emerging from the
workshop

  • Organize an educational day to raise the awareness of parliamentarians on the UNCAC and their role in enhancing its implementation in cooperation with civil society organisations.
  • Invite the government to make a presentation for parliamentarians on its anti-corruption strategy, and to ensure the Parliament contributes to the formulation of the strategy and the follow-up to its implementation.
  • Call on the government to introduce its strategy to the public and to inform Parliament on the level of implementation of the UNCAC.
  • Seek the creation of a parliamentary sub-committee by the Moroccan chapter to follow up to the implementation of the UNCAC.
  • Cooperate with the UNDP and other local and international partners to enhance the capacities of parliamentarians in the area of prevention of corruption in accordance with the UNCAC.
  • Work in cooperation with the government on the enactment of a law that enables the integrity and anti-corruption committee provided for in the constitution to fulfill clear competencies in terms of prevention of corruption, investigation of corruption cases and referral to justice.

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Parliamentary Oversight in Bangladesh

GOPAC’s Regional Chapters work within a local context, strengthening the capacity of parliamentarians to address issues of corruption and promote good governance. With the help of the Global Secretariat, they serve as leaders to their National Chapters ensuring parliamentarians have access to the most current and relevant anti-corruption knowledge and tools.

This past April, GOPAC in partnership with the World Bank Institute (WBI) hosted a workshop in Dhaka, Bangladesh for 18 Members of Parliament (MPs) from Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and India interested in the fight against corruption. The event was an opportunity to educate participants on oversight issues, to inspire the creation of

GOPAC National Chapters in countries in the region that did not have them and to reconnect with countries in the region that do have National Chapters.

MPs in attendance took the opportunity to establish GOPAC South Asian, our newest GOPAC Regional Chapter. In addition, participants from India and Sri Lanka expressed an interest in establishing National Chapters in their respective countries.

The GOPAC Global Secretariat welcomes our new members and looks forward to working with the entire group in the fight against corruption in South Asia.

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Sen. García Cervantes Presented with Medal for Legislative Spirit

In honour of his political career and his 18 years in Congress, Senator Ricardo García Cervantes, Chair of the Mexico Chapter of the Global Organization of Parliamentarians against Corruption (GOPAC), received the Jose Maria Morelos y Pavon Medal for Legislative Spirit presented by the Mexican Institute of Legislative Studies (IMEPOL).

Sen. García Cervantes has focused on modernizing the institutional framework to combat illicit enrichment, forfeiture of property used by organized crime, control of public resources and strengthening the Federal Superior Audit. Most recently, he has proposed a bill to create a National Anti-Corruption Prosecutor to combat money laundering and attack corruption head on. The bill has since been approved by the Senate and has now been sent to the Chamber of Deputies.

Involved in politics since 1985, Sen. Garcia Cervantes held office for six parliamentary terms, three as a federal representative, where he succeeded as president of the Chamber of Deputies and its parliamentary group coordinator, and three as senator. During this

time he was vice president of the board of the Senate where he is widely recognized for his political and negotiating skills which led to the development of agreements that have allowed the passage of many reforms in Mexico.

"Good law is superior to every man and those issued by the Congress should promote loyalty and patriotism and moderate opulence and destitution in such a way that increases the wages of the poor, improves their lifestyles, and eliminates ignorance, robbery and theft."
    – Senator Ricardo García Cervantes

Since the beginning of his political career Sen. García Cervantes has strived to respect his opponents and demand the same in return. This has resulted in a community of trust amongst his colleagues and has fueled his success to date.

The Jose Maria Morelos y Pavon Medal was also presented to Senator Manlio Fabio Beltrones, president of the Political Coordination Board of the Upper House and also a member of GOPAC’s Mexico Chapter.

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Improving Mechanisms for Fighting Corruption in Burkina Faso

A fine example of GOPAC’s success in the field can be found in the Burkindi Network, our National Chapter in Burkina Faso. In the interest of fighting corruption and opening a dialog with civil society, the Burkindi Network has been hard at work over the past couple of months hosting a variety of anti-corruption workshops for its members. For their latest workshop in April, Burkindi Network partnered with the National Democratic Institute (NDI) and presented their joint study on improving the normative and institutional mechanisms to fight corruption in Burkina Faso.

Burkindi Network members were invited along with fellow Members of Parliament (MPs), representatives of judicial and administrative institutions, partners and other stakeholders from civil society organizations to provide feedback and discuss the study’s findings.

"The indicators of corruption, whether neutral or specific, dangerously undermine the sound management of public affairs."
    – Dany K. Ayida, Program Director,
       National Democratic Institute

Among the suggestions for improvement in the study, participants were particularly interested in a proposed law on the declaration of interest and heritage and higher penalties for economic and financial offenses. Based on cases of blatant corruption reported in previous workshops, the participants gave their full support towards rigid legislation to ensure that

no offenders fall through the cracks when time for enforcement arises.

Burkindi Network’s Ten Measures to Prevent Corruption

  • Political commitment (Politicians must stress the importance of ethics, lead by example and highlight good behavior with adequate resources)
  • Building a legal framework and efficient (laws and regulations that establish and enforce standards of conduct)
  • The establishment of effective accountability mechanisms (administrative procedures, audits, performance evaluations, consultation mechanisms and oversight)
  • The development of the Code of Conduct (statement of values, obligations and restrictions)
  • Guarantee good conditions of employment (fair and equitable treatment, compensation and appropriate security)
  • The creation of a coordinating body of ethical issues
  • The existence of an active civil society and free media that monitor government activities
  • The implementation of preventive devices and warning mechanisms and control
  • The requirement for public actors most exposed to make a declaration of interest in their appointment, renewable annually and upon a change of situation
  • The development of regulations on lobbying, sponsorship and gifts
Copyright © 2012 Global Organization of Parliamentarians Against Corruption (GOPAC), All rights reserved.
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