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GOPAC Releases Position Paper on Oversight of Construction Sector

On 27 April, GOPAC released its seventh position paper titled Building on Sand: The importance of oversight in fighting corruption within the construction sector. Our latest paper calls on parliamentarians to take the necessary steps that would block all opportunities for corruption and organized crime to pervade public infrastructure projects. As representatives of their constituents, it is the responsibility of parliamentarians to ensure that safeguards against corruption are put into place and effectively observed to secure the integrity of construction investments.
The paper stresses that the construction sector, regardless of a given country’s economic status, is extremely susceptible to corrupt practices—an estimated 10 to 30 per cent of funds spent on construction projects are lost to corruption. To effectively halt such practices, well-designed public procurement frameworks must exist in tandem with other project controls such as performance and financial audits and protocols. The paper also explains that public-private partnerships (PPPs) are becoming more and more common for large infrastructure projects, and that parliamentarians must recognise that these types of partnerships can often lead to conflicts of interest and influence peddling. Additionally, parliamentarians must be particularly mindful of the 
significant potential for organized crime to infiltrate the construction sector and attempt to influence political parties. As such, they must ensure election financing is adequately regulated.

At the close of the paper, 10 recommendations are provided to help guide parliamentarians in their oversight work of the construction sector. GOPAC is calling on legislators to:
  • draft legislation and review regulatory measures to set the foundations for performance audits of large and small public infrastructure projects;
  • approach oversight of public infrastructure investments from a project cycle perspective that includes risks of corruption on project selection, design, financing, procurement and implementation; and
  • draft and support legislation that tightens and strengthens the rules surrounding the financing (corporate and union sources) of political campaigns and parties during elections.
We encourage you to read our latest position paper and share it with your colleagues. A copy of the paper is available on our website

GOPAC Members Attend the Parliamentary Network’s 2015 Global Parliamentary Conference

The Parliamentary Network on the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (the Parliamentary Network) hosted their 2015 Global Parliamentary Conference in Washington, D.C., 12-13 April. This is the Parliamentary Network’s flagship event which brings together over 200 parliamentarians from approximately 100 countries around the world. GOPAC was represented at the event by 8 of its members: 4 from APNAC-Kenya, 1 from APNAC-Tanzania, as well as 3 from South
Sudan. One of the main objectives of the conference’s activities was to further discussions relating to the post-2015 development agenda in order to help build political will and drive action. This event served as a good opportunity for our members to advance GOPAC’s global efforts to bring about international prosecution of grand corruption and to advocate for GOPAC’s recommendations outlined in Guidelines to Strengthen Oversight Through Parliamentarians-Donor Collaboration.

GOPAC Serbia Welcomes New Vice-Chair

At a GOPAC Serbia meeting held at the Serbian Parliament on 1 April, members of the national chapter unanimously elected Vladimir Pavicevic as the new Vice-Chair of GOPAC Serbia. Mr Pavicevic is an active member of parliament from Serbia’s opposition party and teaches political science courses to university students in his spare time. He is a strong anti-corruption advocate and looks forward to working with his GOPAC Serbia colleagues and members across the world in fighting corruption.

GOPAC UK’s Success in Fighting for National Public Register of Beneficial Ownership

In late-March, the Parliament of the United Kingdom passed the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act 2015 and this piece of legislation will allow for the creation and implementation of a publicly-accessible register which will disclose the beneficial owners of companies. It represents a tremendous victory in the fight to eradicate secret and anonymous companies which are well-known for facilitating illicit financial flows, money laundering, tax evasion, terrorist financing, and of course, corruption. GOPAC UK members were instrumental in bringing forward many improvements to the Bill when it was being debated in the House of Commons. Once the Bill reached the upper house of Parliament, GOPAC UK Vice-Chair Lord Andrew Phillips of Sudbury and member Lord Michael Watson of Invergowrie were successful in proposing several amendments.

GOPAC UK Co-Chair Anas Sarwar MP hopes that the passing of this Act in the UK will encourage other countries to
follow suit. “The developing world loses around three times as much through tax avoidance and evasion as it gains through aid. Ending secrecy around who really owns companies is a vital part of fixing this, because many companies dodge taxes by hiding their identities using complex and secretive structures,” says Mr Sarwar. He is urging for beneficial ownership registers to also be created in British Overseas Territories and Crown dependencies, given that at least 400,000 shell companies with untraceable owners are believed to be based in the British Virgin Islands. 

GOPAC’s Global Task Force on Anti-Money Laundering published a position paper in 2013 on this very topic titled Transparency Through Beneficial Ownership Declarations. We invite you to review this publication to learn more on why legislators should be pushing financial institutions to obtain binding legal declarations of beneficial ownership for all financial transactions. 

GOPAC Board Member Speaks at Women in Parliaments’ 2015 Annual Summit

Senator Marie Claire Mukasine, GOPAC Board member from Rwanda, represented GOPAC at the 2015 Annual Summit of the Women in Parliaments (WIP) Global Forum, which was held at the headquarters of the African Union in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, 23-25 March. This international event brought together hundreds of well-respected parliamentarians and leaders from nearly 100 countries and representatives from many international institutions such as the European Union, the Organisation of Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the United Nations and the World Bank.

The theme chosen for this year’s summit was New Leadership for Global Challenges which emphasised how important it is for leaders to collaborate and share innovative ideas required for navigating the future. Plenary debates, break-out sessions and panel discussions throughout the three-day summit gave particular attention to the development and implementation of international commitments, most notably the post-2015 development agenda and the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action.

On the second day of the summit, Senator Mukasine participated in a panel session on the role of parliamentary
networks alongside speakers from the OECD, the Parliamentary Network on the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, the Association of European Parliamentarians with Africa, and the NATO Parliamentary Assembly. The discussion highlighted the importance of national, regional, and global networks of parliamentarians to facilitate cooperation and sharing of knowledge and experiences. Senator Mukasine explained that networks of parliamentarians create a platform for capacity building and peer-to-peer support. They also help mobilise parliamentarians on pressing national and international issues.

She shared that GOPAC national-level chapters have been very successful in designing and implementing various initiatives aimed at reducing corruption and promoting transparent practices in their national legislatures. Senator Mukasine went on to say that GOPAC’s other strengths are its ability to offer its membership on-demand expertise, workshops and activities, and specialized guides and handbooks to carry aid members in carrying out anti-corruption actions.

GOPAC Oceania Provides Support for Bhutan’s Anti-Corruption Efforts

GOPAC Oceania has provided support to the land-locked Himalayan nation of Bhutan, which has only had a democratic parliament for seven years. GOPAC Oceania Chair John Hyde met in April with Bhutan’s Speaker of the National Assembly Jigme Zangpo, Chairperson of the National Council Dr Sonam Kinga, and fellow parliamentarians including Ugyen
Wangdi, former Bhutan Anti-Corruption Commission lawyer and member of the National Assembly’s Human Rights Committee. The group discussed capacity-building assistance as Bhutan’s MPs are preparing to address ratification processes of the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC) in May.
Copyright © 2015 Global Organization of Parliamentarians Against Corruption (GOPAC), All rights reserved.

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