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Promoting GOPAC’s Work on Grand Corruption as an International Crime

On the 18 March 2014, Hon Shakeel Shabbir Ahmed, Chair of our national chapter in Kenya (APNAC-Kenya), had the honour of presenting on behalf of GOPAC at the 130th Inter-Parliamentary Union Assembly held in Geneva, Switzerland.

Hon Ahmed shared information on GOPAC’s work to establish grand corruption as a crime of international law, with emphasis on GOPAC’s recently released Plan of Action.
The presentation was very well received and supported by almost all the delegates as an idea whose time has come and is very critical in the governance of state.

In addition to the presentation at the IPU Assembly, APNAC-Kenya has been consulting with the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission in Kenya on how they can implement the UNCAC recommendations in respect to grand corruption.

GOPAC Position Paper Calls for Greater Gender Equality in Politics

The strongest fight against corruption is one that integrates a greater female perspective and strong parliamentary oversight and democracy. It is in this light that GOPAC welcomed International Women’s Day with the release of our position paper Gender Equality in Parliaments and Political Corruption.

The paper urges countries to increase female participation in politics as a means of reducing political corruption. It also encourages legislators to work with partners such as the United Nations, the Inter-Parliamentary Union, NGOs, and academic institutions to conduct further research into the effect of gender balance in politics and efforts to fight corruption.

GOPAC's research is based on a ten-year analysis of trends in the proportion of women elected to national parliaments correlated to trends in the levels of national corruption. It also examines Rwanda’s rise to world record women representation in parliament and their fight against corruption.

GOPAC’s findings overturned long-held assumptions about the different susceptibilities of male and female politicians to engage in corrupt activities.  Specifically, GOPAC found:
  • An increase in the number of women in parliament will tend to reduce corruption if the country in question has reasonably robust systems to uphold democracy and to enforce anti-corruption laws.  However, in the absence of such systems, the gender blend of parliament is unlikely to have any impact on the levels of national corruption.
  • To reduce corruption, countries should recruit greater female participation in politics in tandem with taking steps to increase institutional political transparency, to strengthen parliamentary oversight, and to enforce strong penalties for corruption.
The position paper was created through GOPAC's Women in Parliament Network. In response to the research, GOPAC’s Women in Parliament Network is asking our national chapters and members to:
  • Increase women’s participation in politics and parliament, as an intrinsic part of their broader anti-corruption efforts;
     
  • Strengthen parliamentary oversight mechanisms; and
     
  • Advocate for and work with partners, NGOs, and academic institutions, to conduct research to further advance the analysis of gender equality and anti-corruption.
This is the second in a series of position papers that touch on issue of relevance to our main program areas. For more position papers and other GOPAC resources, please visit the Publications page on our website.
Does your country have an independent anti-corruption agency that receives and investigates complaints of corruption?

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GOPAC Brazil Host Anti-Corruption Seminar

Under the leadership of Chair Antonio Carlos Mendes Thame, GOPAC Brazil hosted the International Seminar on Combatting Corruption in March. Representatives from the legislature, media, supervisory bodies of the State, and civil society participated in the event held at the National Congress of Brazil in Brasilia.

Mr Mendes Thame emphasized the importance of broadening the fight against corruption. He urged participants to ensure that it’s an ongoing commitment to strengthening institutions and improving laws.

The seminar provided an opportunity to discuss anti-corruption practices, share experiences from different countries and educate parliamentarians and civil society as to the magnitude of the issue.
 
Throughout the day, participants discussed topics such as strengthening oversight mechanisms in Brazil, the cost of tax evasion and corruption on Brazil’s population, and how corruption hinders investment and damages the business environment, creating economic and legal uncertainty.

Mexican Ambassador to Brazil, Jorge Zermeño Infante spoke at the opening ceremony on behalf of GOPAC. He emphasised that corruption makes victims of people from all corners of the world. He also reminded participants that transparency and integrity are essential to the fight against corruption and that it must start with parliamentarians themselves.

"Corruption is an ongoing violation of fundamental human rights. These are crimes against the national economy and therefore against development," said Ambassador Zermeño Infante.
 

GOPAC Timor-Leste Members Hard at Work

Over the past two months, GOPAC members in Timor-Leste have been forging ahead to improve good governance and strengthen the fight against corruption in their country.

In mid-February, the Chair of GOPAC Timor-Leste, Fransisco Miranda Branco, called on the country’s Anti-Corruption Commission to investigate corruption allegations in the National Parliament, raising the concern that corruption damages the integrity of the parliament. Moving in to March, GOPAC Timor-Leste members submitted a draft anti-corruption law to parliament and are pushing to have the law passed shortly.


 
Also at the beginning of March, a group of GOPAC members were in the city of Maliana in the far west of Timor-Leste where they discussed GOPAC's latest position paper, Gender Equality in Parliaments and Political Corruption. Members Virginia Belo, Maria Lurdes Bessa and Izilda Pereira Soarez were joined by GOPAC Oceania Chair John Hyde. The meeting happened on the side of a gender workshop held as part of International Women’s Day celebrations.

GOPAC Member Maria Lurdes Bessa spoke with Mr Hyde on camera to discuss the national chapter’s many activities. Visit the GOPAC YouTube Channel to view the video (available in English only).
 

GOPAC Pushes for Beneficial Ownership Transparency in Canada

On behalf of GOPAC, Daryl Kramp, Chair of GOPAC Canada, and Hon Roy Cullen, member of GOPAC’s Anti-Money Laundering Global Task Force, made a submission to Canada’s ongoing Ministry of Industry consultations on the Canadian Business Corporations Act.

The submission advocated for the requirement that all financial institutions and intermediaries demand a binding legal declaration of beneficial ownership and other financial transactions, with sanctions for non-compliance to further strengthen the transparency and accountability of beneficial ownership declarations and bolster anti-money laundering laws in Canada.  The submission further requested that the information be added to existing registry lists, so that it is available to the public and compliance is simple.
In September 2013, GOPAC released Transparency Through Beneficial Ownership Declarations, a position paper that lays out concrete and effective steps that nations can take to stop international money laundering, and to thwart the criminal enterprises money laundering supports: organized crime, terrorism, and despotic regimes. Since then, GOPAC has been working with Global Financial Integrity, and its President, Raymond Baker, to actively advocating for beneficial ownership transparency at the national and international levels.
 

GOPAC Members in Mongolia Making Great Strides to Fight Corruption

Sambuu Demberels and Migeddorj Batchimeg, members of our GOPAC chapter in Mongolia (MONPAC), are working to reduce special permissions and licences which are one of the main causes of corruption in Mongolia.
This work will be completed within the first half of 2014 and results will contribute to create a good governance system in the country. Additional members of MONPAC are initiating parliament oversight activities on public investment, tender law amendments and development planning.
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