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Kyrgyzstan Legislators Examine their Compliance with UNCAC

A dedicated group of 30 anti-corruption advocates engaged in very frank, sometime difficult discussions on their current efforts in fighting corruption during a workshop in Issyk-Kul, Kyrgyzstan, 19-21 August 2013. The workshop welcomed legislators and representatives from civil society organizations (CSOs) and encouraged them to assess their own compliance with the UNCAC. It was organized by GOPAC and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and funded with the support of USAID. The Vice-Speaker opened the workshop and worked alongside other participants throughout the three days.

Participants completed the GOPAC-UNDP Anti-Corruption Assessment Tool and agreed to:
  • Promote and disseminate information on the UNCAC to CSOs, media and citizens;
  • Develop and enhance mechanisms in the areas of reporting standards, parliamentary budget oversight, parliamentary use of audits, and ethics and conduct;
  • Continue to build the capacity of legislators and CSOs to draft, improve, implement and enforce legislation related to the UNCAC;
  • Improve communication with CSOs, sharing information about what is being accomplished in parliament; and
  • Translate materials developed by GOPAC Kyrgyzstan and the Global Secretariat into Russian.
 
The workshop was also an opportunity to begin reanimating GOPAC Kyrgyzstan and its members. Since the revolution in April 2010, the country has been in a challenging transition period and GOPAC Kyrgyzstan has not been as active. Following this workshop, members of parliament committed to asking the National Anti-Corruption Committee to help with the chapter’s renewal by leading a meeting which would include a call for new elections.

GOPAC Launches New Chapter in Kiribati

On 9 August 2013, twenty parliamentarians from the small Pacific island nation of Kiribati voted to set up GOPAC Kiribati, the first GOPAC national chapter in the Pacific Islands. Meeting in the Kiribati Parliament at Tarawa, the legislators with representation from all parties signed up to ensure there was transparent oversight of anti-corruption measures as Kiribati prepares to join 166 other nations which have signed the UNCAC.

The members of GOPAC Kiribati are also part of GOPAC Oceania joining with members from Australia and New Zealand to advocate against corruption both at home and abroad.
GOPAC Kiribati is being led by Dr Mareko Tofinga who was elected Chair of the chapter at the launch meeting. Dr. Tofinga is joined by Ruhiano Benetito as Vice-Chair, and Mote Terukaio and Alexander Teabo as treasurer and secretary respectively.

The United Nations Development Programme and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime were instrumental in the development of GOPAC Kiribati.  Their work in Kiribati, made possible through funding from AusAID’s new four- year USD$4.3 million Pacific Regional Anti-Corruption Project in 15 Pacific nations, helped attract nearly half of the nation’s legislators to form the chapter.

GOPAC Launches Arabic Version of Website

GOPAC's Executive Director Addresses Civil Servants from India

On 31 July 2013, GOPAC’s Executive Director, Akaash Marahaj, addressed 100 senior executives of the Government of India as part of a training mission hosted by the Institute of Public Administration of Canada (IPAC). During his presentation, Mr Maharaj spoke about transparency and accountability, of GOPAC’s anti-corruption work and of how GOPAC can help to further the fight against corruption.
He also discussed the cost of corruption, both economically and socially, and the role civil servants can play in the fight. Following his presentation, Mr Maharaj fielded numerous questions on corruption within India and internationally. He also met with some of the participants and discussed the development of a GOPAC chapter in India.

Fifth Forum of Parliamentarians Welcomes Panelists from GOPAC, Word Bank Institute, Transparency International, Interpol and the International Criminal Court

GOPAC will be welcoming GOPAC members and stakeholders dedicated to the fight against corruption at the Fifth Forum of Parliamentarians on 27 November 2013, in Panama City, Panama. The double-panel session is happening in conjunction with the Fifth Conference of States Parties to the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (CoSP to the UNCAC).

The first panel will host representatives from the World Bank Institute and GOPAC. It will focus on congressional oversight and will present key findings from the International Study Group on Oversight and Accountability in Presidential and Semi-presidential Systems which GOPAC held in partnership with the World Bank Institute and the Office for the Promotion of Parliamentary Democracy of the European Parliament. Participants will have the opportunity to discuss the challenges of improving accountability; issues with the structure of budget-related committees; and how legislators from different systems address the challenges of a strong executive. The panel will mark the launch of GOPAC latest oversight resource Improving Democratic Accountability Globally: A handbook for legislators on congressional oversight in presidential systems.
GOPAC has invited representatives from Transparency International, Interpol and the International Criminal Court to lead the second panel. They will discuss whether the gravest acts of corruption should be considered crimes against international law. Corruption kills more people than war and famine combined, yet the worst perpetrators are too often able to use their illicit wealth and power to evade domestic justice. Can the international community use existing international institutions to prosecute perpetrators of grand corruption? Should the international community create new international legal instruments to end the impunity of the globe’s worst criminals? The panel will offer a fact-based analysis of the opportunities and challenges.

If you haven’t already registered for this exciting event, contact Priya Sood, GOPAC Program Advisor at: FP2013@gopacnetwork.org.
Is there a relationship between the development of extractive industries (e.g. oil, mining) and the potential for instability or conflict in your country?

Share your thoughts here: GOPAC Question of the Month

Member Profile: Dr. Pramono Anung Wibowo

Dr. Pramono Anung Wibowo is about to celebrate his one year anniversary as a member of GOPAC. He was first introduced to GOPAC and became a member at a GOPAC Indonesia workshop hosted by our regional chapter Southeast Asian Parliamentarians Against Corruption (SEAPAC) in September 2012. Three short months later, he was elected the Chair of GOPAC Indonesia. He is a driving force in the fight against corruption in his country and internationally. Below are his thoughts on GOPAC and his fight against corruption.
Why did you want to become a member of GOPAC?
I have a dream about a corruption-free Indonesia.

Driven by that dream, I, along with all 4 Leaders of the Indonesian House, hold the chairmanship of the Century Monitoring Team. The team works on one of the biggest banking corruption crimes in Indonesia. As part of my work on this team, I strongly urged the country’s anti-corruption commission to promptly establish the level of authority and accountability both the former Finance Minister and the former Bank of Indonesia Governor had during the Bank Century bailout decision.

What have you accomplished to date in your fight against corruption?
I have been actively involved in various events on corruption eradication such as the International Anti-Corruption Conference (IACC), and meetings hosted by GOPAC and Southeast Asian Parliamentarians Against Corruption (SEAPAC).

I have also objected to the revision of the Indonesia Government Regulation No.99/2012 on the limitation of remissions for corruption, drug and terror convicts.
The regulation originally had tight remissions requirements. Criminals convicted of corruption, narcotics crimes, terrorism or human rights violations who want to get their sentences cut had to meet additional requirements. These included a willingness to become a justice collaborator or work with law enforcers to uncover crime. Also corruptors had to have fully repaid the financial losses they caused the state.

What do you still hope to accomplish in your fight against corruption?
There are several things I still hope to accomplish such as: the settlement of the Bank Century case. The case is nation’s centre of attention, so the settlement would be a milestone in the country‘s fight against corruption. Second, I would like to propose a transformation of the election system. I believe that the prevailing election system will maintain a corruption culture in Indonesia.

What advice can you give to new parliamentarians wanting to form chapters in their countries?
To those fellow parliamentarians who want to form chapters in their countries, I recommend they find partners with integrity to join them because integrity is the first and best value in the fight against corruption.

GOPAC’s Political Finance Expert Roster

The Global Secretariat is searching for Political Finance Experts amongst our GOPAC membership. If you or one of your chapter colleagues has expertise in this field and are interested in lending your support and knowledge, please contact the Global Secretariat today at: info@gopacnetwork.org.
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