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.
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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.
The Independent Defense Anti–Corruption 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.
Corruption in Nigerian defence sector benefitting Boko Haram
18th May, London – Deep-rooted corruption in the defence sector is crippling the Nigerian military in the fight against Boko Haram, according to a new report by Transparency International. To effectively combat Boko Haram, Nigeria’s international partners must build anti-corruption measures into all defence deals.
Increase transparency in the security sector to defeat corruption.
18th May, Abuja – An opaque and secretive security sector will jeopardize President Buhari’s ambitious anti-corruption drive and is derailing the fight against Boko Haram, according to a new report by Transparency International.
25th April 2017, London – New bi-partisan legislation to treat international corruption as a national security threat is a vital development following the February repeal of Section 1504 of the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act.
The Combating Global Corruption Act of 2017, introduced by US Senators Ben Cardin (D-Md.) and David Perdue (R-Ga.) with support from Feinstein, Rubio, Blumenthal, Collins, Merkley, Booker, and Leahy requires the State Department publish an annual report on the state of corruption worldwide. It provides that national anti-corruption programs be ranked according to a three-tiered ranking system and, crucially, requires that US agencies (Department of State, Department of Defense, USAID) pursue specific transparency and accountability measures where national efforts are considered insufficient.
Katherine Dixon, Director Transparency Defence and Security, said:
“The link between corruption and development is simple: corrupt leaders that siphon state funds and resources away from vulnerable populations bring about weak states and public unrest, creating fertile ground for terrorists and organised crime.”
“The February repeal of Section 1504 was a step back for US anti-corruption efforts. But, with the Combatting Global Corruption Act, we have the chance to make some big moves forward. In evaluating how seriously countries take corruption on their home turf, the US has raised the spectre of global corruption and elevated it on the foreign policy agenda.”
TI added that the US must set the gold standard at home if it is to fight corruption elsewhere.
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21st February 2017, London – Western governments that ignore corruption are failing to address the root causes of violent extremist movements, such as ISIS, according to new research by Transparency International Defence and Security (TI-DS).
This blog was orginally published by New America and can be accessed here
These are banner times for corruption watchdogs pushing for transparency. From Congress’s recent repeal of the bi-partisan Lugar-Cardin provision—which would’ve required oil, gas, and mining companies registered with the SEC to disclose payments to foreign governments—to the ongoing controversy involving veteran intelligence officer Michael Flynn and Russia’s ambassador to the United States, transparency and security have never seemed more impossibly intertwined—or at stake.
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