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APNAC Attends Regional Conference on Asset Disclosure
 

The Honourable Oumar Sarr, APNAC member from Senegal, represented the organization at a regional conference on asset disclosure, in Dakar, Senegal, 26-28 May 2014. The conference aimed to obtain a realistic overview on the legislation and practice of asset declaration in West and Central Africa and to share technical experiences between countries from the region, including best practices, innovations, and political, economic and judicial implications of asset declarations.
Participants from 16 countries in West and Central African gathered for the event including public officials in charge of asset disclosure, parliamentarians, university researchers and representatives of civil society. The event resulted in the adoption of 13 guiding principles to encourage countries of the region to put in place adequate practices and policies in terms of collecting and verifying asset declarations. Participants committed to encourage their respective governments to promote the principles.

GOPAC Granted Observer Status in the Egmont Group
 

GOPAC was once again invited to work with Egmont at their 22nd Plenary in Lima, Peru. The Honourable Roy Cullen, member of GOPAC’s Anti-Money Laundering Global Task Force, represented GOPAC, speaking on the role that parliamentarians can play in strengthening the operational independence of financial intelligence units. The plenary was an important opportunity for GOPAC to highlight the link between corruption and money laundering and underscore to Financial Intelligence Units (FIUs) the negative impacts money laundering has on the welfare of citizens.

This most recent participation in an Egmont Group Plenary Session follows their granting GOPAC Observer Status in the group in April.
GOPAC has a long history of collaborating with and supporting the network, having participated in their plenary sessions in Doha, Qatar in 2009 and in Sun City, South Africa in 2013. This new status goes further to strengthen our relationship. As Observers, GOPAC will now have a standing invitation to attend Egmont plenary meetings and open sessions of meetings of the Egmont Working Groups.

The Egmont Group represents the vast majority of FIUs around the world. These FIUs monitor financial transactions locally and globally, and identify suspicious transactions for follow-up and investigation by law enforcement and intelligence agencies. They also play an important role in the recovery and repatriation of stolen corrupt assets.
Is oversight the primary responsibility of parliamentarians?

Share your thoughts here: GOPAC Question of the Month

GOPAC Presents at UNCAC Implementation Review Group Session

On 1-6 June, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime held the Fifth Session of the Implementation Review Group of the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC) in Vienna, Austria. The group examines the review process of the UNCAC to identify challenges and good practices countries may be facing and to consider technical assistance requirements to ensure effective implementation of the UNCAC.

GOPAC Executive Director, Akaash Maharaj, spoke during the Fifth Session to present GOPAC’S position on grand corruption as an international crime. This event provided GOPAC with a platform to further establish itself as the lead organization on this subject.
 
The presentation was well received and many participants requested copies of our Declaration that resulted from the Fifth Forum of Parliamentarians and indicated an interest in learning more about the grand corruption program.

Click here for a copy of Mr Maharaj’s speech.

Click here to listen to Mr Maharaj’s speech.

Kyrgyzstan Anti-Corruption and Parliamentary Oversight Conference

In Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, the Kyrgyzstan Parliament hosted an international conference on the role of parliament in advancing public policy against corruption in Kyrgyzstan, on 9-10 June. GOPAC provided support to the event through our national chapter, GOPAC Kyrgyzstan, and the Global Secretariat. Participants in the conference included Members of Parliament from Kyrgyzstan and abroad and representatives from international institutions. GOPAC was represented by its Executive Director, Akaash Maharaj, and GOPAC Indonesia member, the Honourable Dodi Reza Alex Noerdin.

Mr Maharaj spoke at the opening and closing plenary, using the opportunity to encourage parliamentarians in Kyrgyzstan to continue to fight against corruption. He stressed three necessities in combating corruption: preserving the rule of law, strengthening parliamentary oversight and prosecuting people involved in corruption. He also highlighted the importance of collaborating with members of GOPAC in other countries about challenges and best practices.
 
In this vein, the Hon Dodi Reza shared the experience of fighting corruption in Indonesia. He spoke about the advances the country has made since a major political transition in 1998 including the institutions and laws that have been put in place to address corruption in public administration. He also spoke about parliamentary oversight with respect to donor funding and resource revenue transparency.

GOPAC’s vision is to achieve accountability and transparency through effective anti-corruption mechanisms and inclusive participation and cooperation between parliamentarians, government and civil society. GOPAC Kyrgyzstan and this conference have brought us one step closer to achieving this vision.

GOPAC Releases Resource Revenue Transparency Position Paper

Diamonds, trees, oil, gas – all examples of natural resources and their extraction provides significant revenues to all levels of governments through taxes, royalties and other fees, voluntary payments, or production sharing agreements. The ultimate beneficiaries of such revenues to governments should be their citizens.

In the lead up to the C20 Summit in Melbourne, Australia, GOPAC released The Shared Benefits of Resource Revenue Transparency. The paper enforces the importance of transparency and accountability in the collection of revenues generated from natural resources.

The paper guides legislators on what powers they have to ensure their citizens benefit from the riches of their country’s natural resources.
 
Among the recommendations at the close of the paper, GOPAC calls on legislators to pursue greater transparency and accountability of resource contracts and revenues by fostering a continuous improvement agenda to increase scope and detail of reporting standards; to engage with international organizations and other legislators to strengthen good governance in the management of state-owned investment funds; and to build the frameworks necessary to ensure that public accounts of government revenues from natural resource developments are transparent, consolidated, and detailed.

This is our fourth position paper in our series of papers highlighting key issues in anti-corruption work. In addition to examining resource revenue transparency, GOPAC has looked at issues relating to anti-money laundering and beneficial ownership; gender equality in relation to political corruption; and oversight of development aid.

Informing the discussions for the
next G20

GOPAC Board member and Chair of GOPAC Oceania, John Hyde, was in Australia the week of 16-21 June representing GOPAC at events relating to the G20 which will take place in November 2014. The events welcomed civil society and experts seeking to inform and influence the future of the G20 agenda.

Mr Hyde began the week in Brisbane, Australia where he spoke at Corruption, Integrity System and the G20, a half-day public conference and dinner on the vital role of anti-corruption leadership by the G20 group of nations followed by full-day a workshop on the assessment of integrity systems around the world. The event was organized by Griffith University, in partnership with Transparency International.

 
Next, Mr Hyde was off to Melbourne to participate in the C20, a platform for dialogue between the political leaders of G20 countries and representatives of civil society organisations. Through the C20, civil society can have a say in the discussions shaping our global economy. He presented at the event highlighting the important role that legislators play in the fight against corruption and the need for civil society and legislators to foster open dialogs and partnerships. He also spoke about GOPAC’s recently released position paper, The Shared Benefits of Resource Revenue Transparency.

Download a copy of the C20 Communiqué.

National Seminar on Fighting Corruption in Kuwait

Kuwaiti Parliamentarians Against Corruption (KuPAC), the Kuwaiti chapter of GOPAC’s regional chapter Arab Region Parliamentarians Against Corruption (ARPAC), in cooperation with the Kuwait Lawyers Association, organized a seminar entitled Fighting Corruption is a National Responsibility on 8 June 2014, at the Kuwait Lawyers Association. GOPAC Board Member and KuPAC member, Dr. Naser Al Sane, attended the seminar.

The participants stressed the need to form a national coalition to fight and put an end to corruption. This coalition should include all segments of Kuwaiti society and the government should be its main umbrella. It should promote community culture and develop laws and regulations to support the fight against corruption.
The participants also emphasized approving the executive decrees of the Anti-Corruption Commission law in order for the commission to commence its work.

Dr. Al Sane emphasized the importance of having a leadership role and establishing national coalitions to fight corruption, pointing out that the country doesn’t yet have a clear national strategy in this regard. Moreover, he stressed the importance of using political power to implement this strategy, which makes it imperative for governments to fight corruption on their own through self-censorship without waiting for anyone.
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