Transparency Thailand Newsletter, January, 2016.



 Corruption and Anti-corruption: Case highlights in the Year 2015

Corruption and Sports: The FIFA Scandal

In December 2010, FIFA executive committee chose Russia to host 2018 World Cup while Qatar to host 22 World Cup Finals. Blatter said “For 2018 and 2022 we go to new lands, because the FIFA World Cup has never been in Eastern Europe or the Middle East.” Later on, it turned that the decision was as a result of complex corruption relationship among key FIFA officials. So far, key FIFA officials among them Blatter, Joao Havelange, and Jack Warner have been suspended awaiting investigations and possible prosecution. Among the key issues that have emerged from the case is the problem of autonomy without accountability mechanisms to ensure FIFA conducts its affairs fairly. 

Corruption and Multinational Companies: Volkswagenscandal

Volkswagen sold many cars across the globe based on the premise that it had software to control emissions. Later on, a Test by Environmental Protection Agency on 482,000 cars found that the device was fake. This caused international uproar and different countries took different actions for example:

Germany: Government demanded more transparency into the scam. It sought to determine the possibility of a criminal act in the story.

New Zealand: Consumers demanded 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 were launched to investigate the problem.

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

Guatemala: A Case of Successful Protests  

Protests in Guatemala were successful in pressuring 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.

Cases of Successful Convictions against Senior Politicians & tycoons

The court in Tanzania sentenced two Ex-ministers to jail for corruption. The two serve a 3 year jail term.  The former ministers Basil Mramba (finance) and Daniel Yona (Energy and Minerals) were accused of abusing their authority in 2002 when they were in government for the ruling CCM party.  They among other things offered illegal tax exemptions and provided arbitrary in government contract awarding process.

Former Nanjing city mayor, Ji Jianye was jailed for 15 years over corruption. Nanjing was found guilty of taking $2.37 million in bribes from 1999 to 2012. Authorities also confiscated property worth $420,000 from the former mayor. Nanjing was nicknamed “Bulldozer Ji” for relentless efforts he made to promote construction projects. This is one of the recent high profile cases in China under president Xi Jinping's regime.

Court in Vanuatu sentenced 14 MPs to jail and later dismissed the MPs’ appeals. The MPs including Deputy Prime minister Manoa Carcasses were jailed for a period of three to four years.  Carcasses and the cohort were charged with embezzling $452,000 from the public coffer.

Money laundering key to financing terrorism

About 130 people were killed in Paris gun terror attack in France. Reports indicated that the terrorist had adequate money to purchase weapons, rent a car, and conduct the entire terror campaign. ISIS for instance has access to oil money and is also linked to money laundering through western based banking systems. About $300 billion enters the US from oversees every year. The money is operated under secret holding companies registered in countries like British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands, Switzerland, Liechtenstein and Luxembourg.

 Anti-Corruption Reforms with Harsh Penalties for Corruption

New law passed in Vietnam changed death penalty to life imprisonment if offenders return 75% of the corruption money/assets. The national assembly passed the law with sweeping votes. The law is part of the process to revise the nation’s penal code, and to find a balance between capital offenses and capital punishment.

Thailand passed new anti-corruption law which expanded the death penalty for corruption offenders to include foreigners who commit capital corruption offenses in Thailand. Formerly, the law existed for government officials only. The seeks to bring to account foreigners who work for foreign governments, local and international organizations.

 Returning Corruption Money

Under World Bank supervision Switzerland returned to Nigeria $ 380 million, money linked to the former president General Sani Abacha. The money had been confiscated since 2006 under agreement between the Abacha family and the government of Nigeria, an agreement in which the government dropped its case against Gen. Abacha’s son Abba Abacha.  The money had been confiscated on the basis that Abacha family was a criminal organization.  Switzerland had previously returned $700 million to Nigeria, money Abacha family was holding in Swiss accounts.

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