20th March 2018, London – The re-opening of corruption charges against former South African President  Jacob Zuma, relating to a 1999 arms deal, are a welcome step and should mark the beginning of justice finally being served, according to Transparency International Defence & Security.

Research from Corruption Watch UK into the scandal known as the ‘Arms Deal’ suggests billions of taxpayers money was squandered – at a time when the South African government claimed that there were insufficient funds to treat thousands of citizens for AIDS.

Andrew Watson, Head of Industry Integrity at Transparency International Defence & Security, said:

“We warmly welcome the news that Jacob Zuma may now finally face justice for his crimes. It’s a shame that these charges took him to leave office for a prosecution to take place – but it is encouraging that his crimes may now finally be catching up with him.”

“Jacob Zuma and the companies alleged to have paid bribes to him have escaped justice for many years. These charges must now finally shed some light on one of the largest defence corruption scandals ever seen and result in robust prison sentences for those found to have been involved.”

***ENDS***

Contact:

Dominic Kavakeb
020 3096 7695
079 6456 0340
dominic.kavakeb@transparency.org.uk

TI Defence & Security

Fri 19 Jan 18 // Industry Integrity

19th January 2018, London – Commenting on an announcement by the Serious Fraud Office that it is investigating Chemring Group PLC, a British Defence Company, for corruption, money laundering and bribery, Andrew Watson, Head of Industry Integrity at Transparency International Defence and Security, said:

“It is disappointing to see another British defence company facing fresh allegations of systemic and widespread corruption, highlighting the very real challenges facing this unique sector.”

“Once again, intermediaries – long established as one of the highest corruption risks in defence commerce – are at the heart of these allegations.”

“Whilst it is encouraging that the company reportedly discovered the allegations themselves during an internal audit and that it was then self-reported to the SFO, we call for the company to fully cooperate with investigators and conduct an internal review of its anti-bribery procedures to discover what went wrong and why it wasn’t discovered before now. It’s vital that this investigation is thorough and perpetrators are brought to justice, no matter how high-up in the company they may be.”

Chemring scored a C in the Transparency Internationals most recent Defence Companies Anti-Corruption Index, meaning there is “moderate evidence” that they have anti-corruption measures.

Transparency International’s 2016 report “License to Bribe” identified the significant risks in the use of third parties and agents in arms deals, one area reported to be the subject of this investigation.

***ENDS***

Contact:

Dominic Kavakeb
020 3096 7695
079 6456 0340
dominic.kavakeb@transparency.org.uk

TI Defence & Security

Tue 26 Dec 17 // Conflict & Insecurity

The Independent Defence Anti-Corruption Committee (NAKO) announced that it would withdraw from engagement with UkrOboronProm, due to the failure of the Government and Presidential Administration to make progress in establishing an independent Supervisory board.

The committee had hoped to support efforts to reform the state-owned enterprise, both by providing advisory services and by advising the Government and Presidential Administration on the steps needed to establish an independent and effective Supervisory board for the Company. Recommendations were provided to Deputy Head of the Presidential Administration Valeriy Kondratiuk, who committed to supporting their implementation.

Oleh Rybachuk, co-chair of NAKO, said:

We hoped we could contribute to reducing the high corruption risk that exists in UkrOboronProm today, and ensure that UkrOboronProm is overseen by an independent, effective board, so that the firm could do what it should: provide our troops with the equipment they need and use taxpayer funds wiselyUnfortunately, we do not see that this presidential administration has the political will for real change.

At the invitation of UkrOboronProm, NAKO has monitored UkrOboronProm’s procurement of a consulting firm to advise and support the implementation of governance reform. Without an independent Supervisory board in place, however, the NAKO committee determined that the procurement of a consultant would be out of line with Ukrainian legislation (Article 6 of the Law of Ukraine “On features of management of objects of state-owned property in the defence industry complex” requires Supervisory board sign-off on strategy, audit, and reorganisation of the Company). More importantly, the procurement of a consultant would have little chance of affecting substantive change.

The OECD Principles on Corporate Governance of State-Owned Enterprises represent good practice internationally on governance of state-owned enterprises. According to these principles, the government is responsible for establishing well-structured, merit-based and transparent board nomination processes in State-owned enterprises. These boards are required to provide strategic guidance and monitor management, and are ultimately accountable for the Company’s integrity and performance.

Oleh Rybachuk, co-chair of NAKO, also said:

Given the allegations surrounding senior political leaders’ relationship with UkrOboronProm, it is absolutely vital that the Supervisory board is genuinely independent, said Drago Kos, co-chair of the NAKO. In a time of war, the largest state-owned defence enterprise must meet the needs of the troops – [not political leaders.] The only way for this to happen is through a supervisory board that is independent and trusted by the Ukrainian public.

NAKO announced that it would work with others to develop concrete recommendations on how to put in place an independent Supervisory board in 2018, and offered their continued support to the government on their implementation.

Contacts:

Taras Yemchura
(098)910-24-86
tyemchura@transparency.org

The Independent Defence Anti-Corruption Committee (Nezalezhny Antikorrupciynii Komitet z pytan oborony, or “NAKO”) is a joint initiative established by Ukrainian activists, journalists and international experts to fight corruption in the Ukrainian defence sector. The NAKO is a national-international project of Transparency International Defence & Security and Transparency International Ukraine, and is supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands.

TI Defence & Security

The illegal trade between government-controlled Ukraine and the occupied territories in Donbas is conducted systematically, facilitated by Ukrainian defense and security institutions, according to new research. The illegal trade undermines defence capacity, and damages Ukraine’s economy and reputation. And it is so lucrative that those involved have an interest in sustaining the conflict, potentially prolonging the war.

The research, Crossing the line: how the illegal trade with occupied Donbas has undermined defence integritywas completed by the Independent Defence Anti-Corruption Committee (NAKO), and is based on 40 interviews with ATO participants, security force representatives, civil society, judges, and residents of Donbas.

The government has taken steps to address the problem of illegal trade; in March 2017, the government banned the transport of all goods through the contact line except personal belongings and humanitarian aid. The government has also created “joint mobile groups” made up of servicemen and volunteers, and “fiscal groups,” of State Border Guard Service and State Fiscal Service officers. But these actions have not been effective in reducing the trade.

Olena Tregub, Secretary General of NAKO, said Tuesday:

“The illegal trade incentivizes conflict, and means that some profit as others suffer. When some servicemen collude with militants to facilitate trade, it has a huge impact on coordination between units and security institutions, the accuracy of our intelligence, the reputation of our forces, and has even caused the death of troops.”

The report describes 5 ways that goods are moved illegally across the contact line: 1) by car, through checkpoints 2)  through humanitarian logistics centers, initially organised to enable retail trade 3) through railway corridors, by using the double bottom of the wagons or in undeclared additional wagons 4) by paying defence and security forces to enable movement outside of formal checkpoints, in the “gray zone,” in 2015 the payment for crossing all the checkpoints could vary from 25,000- 120,000 UAH (US $930-4,450); 5) through a process known as “terminated transit,” in which goods headed for the occupied territories are falsely registered as destined for Russia; once in Russia, they enter the occupied territories through the uncontrolled parts of the Ukraine-Russia border.

According to the analysis, this lucrative trade will not be completely halted as long as the occupation continues. It finds that current efforts, including the blockade, have been ineffective in stopping the movement of goods. The report makes a series of recommendations, including immediate steps to mitigate the problem short-term, and long-term solutions.

Download the Report

TI Defence & Security

Fri 22 Sep 17 // Industry Integrity

 23rd September 2017, London – Transparency International Defence and Security welcomes the pledge by Heckler & Koch to no longer sell arms to corrupt states, and calls on the wider defence industry to make similar commitments.

The German firm has announced that it will use Transparency International corruption assessments as one of three indicators to decide which states to sell weapons to, in what is believed to be an industry first. Heckler & Koch should now publicly announce the exact criteria of this move, as well as which countries this will apply to, ensuring full transparency and accountability.

Transparency International’s research has found that selling arms to corrupt states can perpetuate conflict and lead to deadly weapons falling into the wrong hands. This can fuel violent conflict and terrorism, with repercussions both domestically and internationally.

Transparency International’s most recent “Government Defence Anti-Corruption Index” found 70% of states assessed for risk of defence corruption are either at high, very high or critical risk. Defence spending is growing fastest in states at the highest risks of defence corruption with real implications for human suffering.

Katherine Dixon, Director Transparency International Defence and Security, said:

“If implemented fully, this is a welcome pledge from Heckler & Koch. This sort of due diligence should be the norm for defence companies. But it’s important that this commitment is more than just a PR exercise. The best way to ensure this is to provide full transparency over the criteria and which companies they will no longer sell to.” 

“It should be difficult for any responsible defence company or State to justify exporting to countries which don’t implement the minimum transparency and accountability mechanisms to achieve at least a D on TI’s defence anti-corruption index.  Introducing lethal weapons into unaccountable and corrupt environments is a recipe for disaster. Defence companies and the governments that license their exports have the power and responsibility to make a difference in these states and reduce human suffering; we encourage them to use it’.” 

***ENDS***

Contact:
Dominic Kavakeb
Dominic.kavakeb@transparency.org.uk
0044 20 3096 7695
0044 796 456 0340

TI Defence & Security

Fri 22 Sep 17 // Accountable Defence Sectors

22nd September 2017, London – Aleksandar Vulin, Serbia’s Defence Minister, should respond to legitimate questions over his purchase of a 205,000 euro property with transparency.

In December 2015 Serbia’s Anti-Corruption Agency sent a report to the prosecutor’s office after Vulin bought a 205,000 Euro property that did not appear to match with his declared income.  Since then, media reports have suggested that the Serbian police have refused to investigate the matter, despite the involvement of the Anti-Corruption Agency.

So far, Vulin has failed to provide any substantive response to the allegation, but has instead made disparaging comments about journalists reporting on this case.

Katherine Dixon, Director Transparency International Defence & Security, said:

 “Denigrating journalists who are working to expose corruption is not the answer to awkward questions. The only acceptable response by a senior government figure to questions of this nature is transparency.”

“It is vital for the maintenance of public trust in both the government and its institutions that Defence Minister Vulin now responds constructively to legitimate issues raised by the country’s Anti-Corruption Agency.  Integrity in the defence sector is vital for national security and the Defence Minister should be setting a strong tone from the top, by acting with transparency and supporting the role of the anti-corruption agency.”

***ENDS***

Contact:
Dominic Kavakeb
Dominic.kavakeb@transparency.org.uk
0044 20 3096 7695
0044 796 456 0340

TI Defence & Security

5th September, 2017, London – Corruption is perpetuating violent conflicts around the world. New research from Transparency International – Defence and Security found that fighting corruption is rarely a foreign policy priority, despite mounting evidence it’s a major 21st-century contributor to global insecurity.

“The Fifth Column”, published today, found that states most affected by corruption are very often victims of deep conflict. Seven of the ten lowest-scoring countries in Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index were also amongst the ten least peaceful countries in the most recent Global Peace Index.

Corruption was found to be contributing to violent conflict in a number of ways, including:

  • Undermining public trust, which can lead to violent movements for regime change;
  • Driving the recruitment of extremists, who use corrupt governments as a rallying cry;
  • Enabling terrorist groups, who can exploit corrupt structures for their operations;
  • Facilitating proliferation of WMDs;
  • Undermining state sovereignty, when foreign governments use opaque networks of shell companies to hold whole political classes hostage;
  • Eroding state’s capabilities to respond to instability and violence when it occurs.

By failing to address these risks, governments are ignoring a major cause of conflict. Transparency International recommends corruption is treated as a serious foreign policy concern and that states should:

  • Address kleptocracy, or state capture, as a development, diplomatic and security issue, exerting political pressure on corrupt elites, supporting oversight institutions and focusing on improving governance in partner states.
  • Focus on defence governance and avoid treating it as a “special case” that can circumvent normal oversight processes.
  • Stop viewing corrupt autocrats as an alternative to instability and instead limit their influence through options such as financial sanctions, visa bans, and the withholding of international recognition.

Katherine Dixon, Director Transparency International Defence and Security, said:

“Its high time that states made corruption a top-tier foreign policy priority, as important as non-proliferation and counter terrorism efforts. Until they do that, efforts to end conflict, promote global peace and stability, will be falling short of the mark.”

“Corrupt regimes are unstable and dangerous, and supporting them is rarely the right choice for building stability either nationally or regionally. From Syria to Ukraine, corruption has fuelled conflicts, undermining the long-term future of those states and contributing to the loss of many lives.”

 

TI Defence & Security

On Thursday, Transparency International Senior Advisor Sir Ian Andrews, and Defence and Security Director Katherine Dixon facilitated a day of high level discussions with the leadership of the Nigerian Air Force. The aim was to identify the corruption risks which face the Nigerian armed forces, discuss the initiatives already taken, and to begin to develop mechanisms to address them.

Sessions included a full discussion of the challenges facing the Air Force including issues surrounding defence budget processes, personnel integrity, and procurement systems. TI facilitators presented lessons from international best practice, including the vital role of political leadership, a commitment to transparency, and external independent oversight mechanisms which had been crucial factors underpinning successful defence transformations in other context, such as Colombia.

The entire leadership of the Air Force was present or represented, including the Chief of Air Staff, Air Officers Commanding and Branch Chiefs.

Katherine Dixon, Director Transparency International Defence and Security, said:

“We welcome the positive participation of the Air Force. The purpose of the event was to create a forum for the leadership to discuss openly the corruption risks as they see them. The Nigerian Air Force outlined the steps they had taken to address these challenges and we strongly encouraged them to end the presumption towards secrecy and open these measures up to public scrutiny.”

Transparency International has outlined a number of recommendations for systemic reform of the Nigerian Defence sector including the development of unified anti-corruption strategy, extending public access defence and security information, and strengthening external oversight particularly over confidential procurements.

Contact:

Gavin Raymond
graymond@transparency.org
0044 7738 621 115

TI Defence & Security

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Fri 4 Aug 17 // Uncategorised

4th August 2017. The Ukrainian MoD’s Medical Department invited NGOs and volunteer organizations to help develop new technical requirements for individual first-aid kits used at the frontline of military operations. Experts from the Independent Anti-Corruption Committee on Defense (NAKO), a joint initiative of TI Ukraine and TI Defence & Security, took part in their development, providing input on how to reduce corruption risk. The MOD granted final approval for the technical requirements last week, and Ukrainian servicemen should receive their new first-aid kits this autumn.

The need to develop new technical requirements arose as military and volunteers repeatedly complained about the poor quality of individual first-aid kits (IFAKs) used at the front. Previous IFAK components had been approved in February 2015. However, the list of components for the first-aid kit was less comprehensive, and the standards lower, than those used in NATO countries. In addition, the IFAK technical requirements were often developed by the IFAK manufacturers themselves, meaning that they could shape the MOD’s procurement requirements to suit what they could provide. The new specifications allow the MoD to require manufacturers to ensure each component of the kit is of the highest standard of quality.

The MoD began work on creating new technical requirements for IFAKs in September 2016. Initially, the key stakeholders in the process were representatives of the Ministry of Defense and Ukrainian manufacturing companies, but this approach created significant corruption risks.

But in April 2017, the MOD changed its approach, creating a separate working group in order to minimise the influence of pharmaceutical companies and to avoid corruption risks. This new working group created by the Ministry of Defence included leading medical experts, NGO representatives and volunteer organisations, as well as NAKO experts. This group of experts have worked together alongside the MOD to improve the technical requirements of the first-aid kits to match the NATO standards.

We insisted on minimising corruption risks. Previously, there was a risk that the specifications would match the preferences of a particular manufacturer, rather than respond to real frontline needs,” said Taras Yemchura, a NAKO researcher. “This could also lead to discrimination against particular participants in the procurement process. For example, we pushed for the abolition of unlawful requirements for special markings on the product packaging, which does not actually affect the quality of the goods, but significantly reduces the range of potential suppliers.”

In the future, NAKO intends to continue monitoring the process of IFAK purchasing, scrutinising the formation of lots, bidding, contracting, and quality control.

The committee is convinced that the active participation of independent experts and high-quality public monitoring of each procurement stage will help counteract corruption risks in the procurement of first-aid kits, decrease the risk of poor-quality goods being supplied, and will help save the lives of soldiers who fight in the Donbass.

**ENDS**

Media contact:

Sevgil Musaeva

+38-050-217-1817

sevamusaeva@gmail.com

The Independent Defense AntiCorruption Committee (NAKO) is a joint initiative established by Ukrainian public activists, journalists and international experts to fight corruption in Ukraine’s security and defense sector. NAKO is a joint international project of Transparency International Defense & Security and Transparency International Ukraine, supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands.

TI Defence & Security

May 24 2017 | Kyiv

International security assistance to Ukraine is not always used effectively, according to new research on corruption risks in security assistance by the Independent Defence Anti-Corruption Committee. The report identifies improvements in how assistance is monitored, but calls for improved regulation and oversight of security assistance, and greater transparency of key strategic planning documents like the State Defense Order and defence budget. The report also called on donor countries to use international aid as a leverage  to push for systemic anti-corruption reform in the Ukrainian defense sector.

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TI Defence & Security

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