It is not news that under its ousted dictator, Zein al-Abidine Ben Ali (left), Tunisia was a kleptocracy, its heavily-regulated economy milked by the disgraced ruler, his extended family and others with political connections.
But now three years after the revolution which toppled Ben Ali, the World Bank says that restrictions on economic participation which blocked competitors and allowed his cronies to feather their nests are still in place. These continue to stifle the private-sector, ensuring that only a small number of people benefit at the expense of the majority of Tunisians. The result is poor economic growth and high youth unemployment –the very reasons which drove much of the discontent that led to the 2011 revolt against Ben Ali. Continue reading »
By David McNair of the ONE Campaign
While the newswires are dominated by the threat of Isis, a critical opportunity to cut the support networks that fuel terrorism, criminality and tax evasion is passing unnoticed.
Terrorists rely on financial support – money channelled through the shadows of the western financial system. Secret companies and trusts, perfectly legal in many countries, allow criminals to fuel trillions of dollars through our financial system, evading tax while keeping their identities secret, building a virtual brick wall against law enforcement agents working to follow the money. Continue reading »
An eccentric Indian tycoon, some of the world’s most luxurious hotels and now the Sultan of Brunei. The story of one Indian company’s tortuous journey out of legal hot water has just taken another twist.
The Sultan of Brunei has emerged as the lead bidder for the Grosvenor House Hotel and other luxury properties that India’s beleaguered Sahara group has been trying to sell off in a desperate attempt to get its ‘managing worker’ out of jail. Continue reading »
In the past few decades, Ukraine has become one of the most corrupt countries in Europe. Many who protested against the regime of former president Viktor Yanukovich, deposed early this year, said that under his rule, corruption worsened dramatically.
Ukraine’s new authorities have assured voters they are ready to fight corruption. Donors such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) have associated their financial support with Kiev’s anti-corruption measures.
So, what are the chances for success? Continue reading »
By Mo Ibrahim of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation
As G7 leaders meet in Brussels, it’s worth reflecting for a moment on the changes that have occurred since last year’s summit. This year, the G8 will not meet against a backdrop of the Black Sea beaches of Sochi and Olympic glory, as planned. In fact, the G8 will not meet at all given international outrage over Russia’s action in Ukraine. Instead, the G7, sans Russia, will meet amid the medieval spires of Brussels.
The leaders’ agenda will doubtless focus on international crises. Tensions remain high in Ukraine following the Russian annexation of Crimea, and escalating terrorism impedes Nigeria’s path to development. In many ways, these crises are the by-products of corruption and the neglect of people’s fundamental rights, all of which have been allowed to fester in the global system. Continue reading »
Anyone reading about Bangladesh would be forgiven for thinking it’s a one-industry country. And when it comes to exports, they wouldn’t be far wrong. More than three quarters of Bangladesh’s exports are of ready-made garments. The anniversary of the Rana Plaza disaster, in which more than 1,100 people died, has focussed attention on the industry’s dangers. But what is being done to move the economy away from sweat shop factories? Continue reading »
The rise of the fledgling Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in this general election has helped bring corruption and good governance into the spotlight. The two major parties, the ruling Congress and the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) have put the issues front and centre of their campaigns.
But the corruption around electioneering itself seems to have increased – rather than decreased – this year with the usual reports of handouts ahead of voting all over the country. Continue reading »
By Iftekhar Zaman, Transparency International, Bangladesh
One year ago today, three thousand garment workers started a typical work day at Rana Plaza in Bangladesh.
Like many of the country’s 4m garment workers – over 80 per cent of whom are young women – they earned just over one dollar a day for up to 19 hours of work; went without water or toilets; and crucially were not protected by basic workplace safety standards. They walked up one staircase: the only way in and out of the building. Continue reading »
Voting is already underway in the state of Maharashtra, with citizens in the city of Mumbai casting their ballot next week.
And to stir things up, National Election Watch has released a new report analysing the financial and criminal records of candidates in the region. The questionable past of many leading figures in Indian politics is, sadly, old news. But the fact that organisations are digging up such detailed information on would-be leaders is a sign of progress in the world’s largest democracy, where governance has become the issue of the day. Continue reading »
By Neelanjan Sircar and Milan Vaishnav
Come election time, a standard trope goes that India is engaged in a relentless tug-of-war between its rural and urban populations. On the one hand sit urban metropolises like Mumbai and Bangalore, whose cosmopolitan citizens rail against corrupt politicians, fetishise growth and care little for parochial concerns, like caste. On the other hand sits India’s vast rural hinterlands, where caste dictates social relations and corruption takes a backseat to basic sustenance. Yet if this divide did once provide an accurate description of the country, there is good reason to doubt it as India heads to the polls in 2014. Continue reading »
Every time it runs an Indian general election, the Election Commission (EC) has to manage the largest democratic exercise in history. This time it will have dealt with up to 825m voters by the time ballots are counted on May 16, and the EC is understandably proud of its logistical efficiency and of its record of ensuring free and fair procedures on the days that people vote. Continue reading »
By Oleg Batyuk
The barricades are still being dismantled in the Maidan but we are already witnessing a significant step-change in how business is done in Ukraine. While the world is watching events in Crimea with fearfully bated breath, Kiev is not losing any time in implementing serious and rapid changes to its business landscape.
A key risk of doing business in Ukraine, particularly in the past five years, has been the spreading culture of corporate raiding. This process is already being reversed. Continue reading »
In India’s current hard-fought Parliamentary elections, every vote counts. So along with the usual process of aggressive campaigning, some parties appear to be resorting to a little old-fashioned political skulduggery to sabotage the prospects of their rivals.
At least, that is that what the upstart Aam Aadmi, or Common Man, Party (AAP) believes is happening to it, especially in its stronghold New Delhi, where an unexpected wave of support for AAP prevented the rival Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) from winning enough seats to form the local government in recent state assembly polls. Continue reading »
By Taras Kuzio
Viktor Yanukovich has been a state official all his working life, first in transport, then as a regional governor of Donetsk, twice as prime minister under presidents Leonid Kuchma and Viktor Yushchenko and finally as president. Corruption has always plagued the Ukrainian state but the extent of rapacious greed fundamentally increased after Yanukovich was elected. He and Nikolai Azarov, his prime minister, did not focus on economic growth but on asset stripping and corporate raiding. Continue reading »
Indonesia’s powerful corruption commission has a new target. Having gone for members of the president’s inner circle, the country’s highest judge and dozens of parliamentarians, the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) now has the lucrative mining industry in its sights.
Adnan Pandu Praja, a deputy chairman of the KPK, told the Jakarta Foreign Correspondents Club on Wednesday that the agency was launching a crackdown on corrupt mining companies and some of the government officials, military officers and police who stand behind them. Continue reading »