Transparency Thailand News letter, August-September 2015

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Resolutions from the 2015 Annual Membership Meeting

1 September 2015, Putrajaya, Malaysia

Tax evasion and illicit flows

From the beginning of our movement, we pointed to the illicit flow of money from South to North, representing a major impediment to development.

Money laundering of bribes and stolen state assets has thus become a major target in our fight, increasingly since the early meetings of the G20.

 In our fight, we regularly join forces with fellow NGOs acting for the recovery of stolen assets and against tax evasion.

The 2015 Annual Membership Meeting resolve that Transparency International confirms its commitment to:

Ø  advocate for reforms and practices that address those financial systems that facilitate corruption and tax evasion and that allow those responsible to escape justice;

Ø   require strict compliance by banks and others with anti-money laundering rules, and;

Ø  Where possible and relevant, work with others, including whistleblowers, to close opportunities for abuses in tax policy, payments and collection.

Reconciliation and Amnesty Laws should not legalise impunity

In light of the projects of legislation in Tunisia, Mongolia and in other countries, potential amnesties for the crimes of corruption, embezzlement and misappropriation of public national assets committed in the past in those countries,

The 2015 Annual Membership Meeting resolves that:

Ø  Reconciliation and amnesty laws should achieve justice, accountability and social peace while upholding principles of transparency and integrity.

Ø  Such laws should be submitted to open national dialogues with state and non-state actors ensuring inclusion and participation of all concerned parties, in accordance with international principles for transitional justice, and respect for the independence of the judiciary.

Ø  Governments and parliaments, particularly in transitional and developing countries where public funds have been embezzled and national assets stolen – should endorse the aforementioned principles to protect the public interest and end impunity.

Ø   Specialized legal and legislative expertise should be mobilised; best practices and lessons learned should inform the process for technically well-formulated compact laws. 

Global Features in the fight Against Corruption

Thailand:Transparency Thailand is on air every Saturday 7-9:30 am, just tune in to FM 99.5. It’s about mindfulness over matter. It’s blue and white, colors that stand for a society, free from corruption.  Every week, Dr. Kanokkan Anukansai hosts anti-corruption radio program discussing a range of corruption issues in Thailand. The program also explores principles and best practices in good governance from around the world. On the 3rd of October, 2015, the program focused on exploring corruption and anti-corruption vocabularies. Vocabularies are not just words, but instruments of sense making. They reflect the sense we make of life every time we hear and use these words, for instance consciousness. It is the heart of moral awareness, the exact level of our senses that triggers the moral judgments we make.  In light of this, participants from around Thailand explored the consequences of the Volkswagenscandal for instance:

Germany: Government is demanding more transparency into the issues surrounding the scam. It’s assessing the possibility of a criminal act in the story.

 

New Zealand: Consumers are demanding among other things car replacement from local dealers, saying that they bought expensive cars based on deception conveyed by the company about gas emission regulating software.

France &Italy: Inquiries have been launched to investigate the problem.

US: Scrutiny has extended to other manufacturers such as BMW, General Motors, Mercedes Benz and Land Rover.

Guatemala: Protests in Guatemala successfully pressured Congress to vote removing the immunity of the President from prosecution. Following the success President Otto Perez Molina, stepped down, was later arrested following investigations, and now is awaiting trial.

Romania: Prime Minister Ponta was indicted on charges of forgery, money laundering, and tax evasion. As a result, the PM will face trial over corruption.   He became the first Romanian prime minister to be tried.

Switzerland: After months of dealing with FIFA corruption scandal, law makers in Switzerland reformed the law to make it easy to crack down on corruption in sports. However, the law also provides exemptions especially where public interest is not threatened.

Poland: Two tennis players in Poland were banned over corruption. Piotr Gadomski and Arkadiusz Kocyła were fined and banned from professional tournaments by the tennis integrity unit. Piotr Gadomski, 24, was found guilty of four charges of “directly or indirectly soliciting or facilitating a player to not use his or her best efforts in an event.”  He was banned for seven years and fined USD 15,000 for the misdemeanours. Arkadiusz Kocyła (21) was found guilty of three charges relating to incidents which took place in 2012 and 2013. However, He was given a shorter ban of five years, together with a fine of USD 15,000.

 

UK: Two Police Officers were arrested in the UK over taking too many free dinners while on patrol. The two, Sergeant Frank Partridge, dubbed “the Sheriff” of Soho, and Constable Jim Sollars, nicknamed “the Gruffalo” usually patroled Soho , a zone with night life streets, and bars. They were arrested by Scotland Yard detectives who are seeking to find out if the scheme is wide spread.

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