7th March 2019, London – A resolution, passed in the Dutch Parliament, calling on the Dutch Government to support the inclusion of anti-corruption measures as a separate criterion in EU arms exports, is an important move that we hope will see further action, according to Transparency International Defence and Security Programme and Transparency International Netherlands.
On Tuesday, Dutch MPs voted to support a resolution that called for the strengthening of EU arms export criteria and noting that corruption occurs in major arms deals, contrary to both the law and the principle of fair competition.
The current EU Common Position on arms exports control, which dates from 2008, makes no reference to corruption in its 8 criteria, despite the very high risk of corruption in this sector. Introducing a corruption criterion would open the possibility of an export licence for military technology or equipment being denied where there is a clear risk that the deal might involve a significant level of corrupt practices.
Steve Francis, Director of Transparency International Defence and Security said:
“We welcome this step by the Dutch Parliament as it calls the Government to take a leading role within the EU to carve out a new and explicit anti-corruption criterion in the EU’s arms export regime. We now hope the Dutch Government will use its influence in the European Council to push for the inclusion of this criterion as part of the Common Position review.”
“Big steps and strong leadership from member states is vital in tackling the risks posed to citizens, as well as the unfair playing field created by defence companies that engage in corrupt activity. We therefore hope other member states will adopt similar approaches to ensure anti-corruption provisions are properly considered ahead of arms deals.”
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TI Defence & Security
Fri 1 Feb 19 // Uncategorised
Less than a month into his new role as Director of our Defence and Security Programme, we sit down with Steve and find out why he joined the fight against corruption and what he’s most looking forward to.
What inspired you to join Transparency International?
I had been aware of TI’s work, especially the Government Defence Index for some time having used the index while studying at Pakistan’s National Defence University. TI’s Corruption Perceptions Index was also in use at the British High Commission in Islamabad during my time there in 2013-15. But while I was aware of the Movement, I hadn’t necessarily considered it as possible second career option while I was still serving in the military. What I was more certain of however, was that when I did retire from military service, I wanted to find a role in the INGO sector that would allow me to continue to be involved in international development. That said, I was also acutely conscious that although I had worked with and alongside good people from the sector before, moving into it ‘from the outside’ as it were, would be a huge challenge, as anyone that has ‘jumped sector’ would attest to. So when I discovered that TI were recruiting a new Director of the Defence & Security Programme I leapt at the opportunity. It encapsulated everything I was looking for. It would allow me to transition from the military to the INGO sector, yet was a role that would allow me to leverage the experience I had gained over a 30-year career in the Royal Marines. The learning curve would of course still be very steep, but it would be scalable; and I sensed that I could quickly add value, while those other – more sector specific skills – caught up.
How has your career in the military shaped your view of corruption?
For most of my career, my understanding of corruption was probably rather rudimentary. When I had come across it, for example as a junior officer working with foreign militaries, it was seen through the lens of low-level criminality. It was generally viewed as something endemic to a culture or a country that had to be accepted as ‘just the way things are’. Sure, we needed to recognise it; be aware of its pitfalls and work around it, but it wasn’t something that we could tackle. Indeed, it wasn’t even our job to do so, that sort of thing was seen as being for law enforcement agencies to take on, not the military. It wasn’t until I was involved in the Afghan Campaign as planning officer later in my career that I started to realise that one of the reasons why the ISAF coalition could never seem to persuade ordinary Afghans to side with the international community instead of the Taliban, was because although we were offering security, we were doing so without also offering justice. To me, the problem we were facing in Afghanistan seemed to be as much about Justice Sector Reform as it was Defence Sector Reform, yet the international community either failed see it as a priority, or simply equated justice reform with police reform. The flaw in my analysis then, was that while I had recognised a symptom, I hadn’t diagnosed its underlying cause namely the affront that is corruption. The only consolation is that I wasn’t just me that had failed to recognise the real nature of the insurgency in Afghanistan, most if not all of us had, particularly in the formative stages of the conflict.
What do you think are the key challenges for tackling corruption in the defence and security sector going forwards?
That’s a difficult one to answer in my first month in TI and when I’m still in the foothills of that learning curve I described. It’s not just the size, complexity and scope of the sector that is a challenge, but also what I’ve heard described as ‘defence exceptionalism’. In essence that (rather convenient) sense within the sector, that defence is inherently different; that by its very nature it has to be shrouded behind a veil of secrecy. Some parts of it undoubtedly do, but in my experience such areas are actually the exception rather than the rule and the more self-aware, confident and professional a defence institution is, the more it understands that rather than a threat, transparency is actually a strength and a safe guard. Beyond that, a much bigger concern are those forces that together are increasingly challenging liberal democracy and the rules based international order. The headwinds of populism and authoritarianism are stiffening, which will make the job of anyone engaged in ‘speaking truth to power’ both harder and in some cases, more dangerous. Conversely of course, it also makes the job of TI-DS – and many others in civil society – even more important.
What are you looking forward to most about the role?
To be able to build an even better and more impactful team around me that can take on the fight against corruption in this most challenging of sectors. We already have a diverse range of fantastically talented and committed people in the Programme and I know there are more out there that both want and deserve to join us in this important endeavour – whether that be here in London, in a sister TI Chapter or working as individuals in support of our projects. I also want to build on the inspired legacy of my predecessor who did so much of the heavy lifting required to chart our current course.
What can we expect for your team in the coming months?
I hope our scheduled programme of work will speak for itself. What won’t be seen by those outside the team, is all the work we are about to embark on that’s designed to improve our internal management processes. It isn’t glamourous and it isn’t why we joined TI, but it is essential. And if we can get it right – and we will – the pay-off should actually be a reduction in the time spent administrating ourselves and correspondingly more time to think about how we deliver lasting impact – and that’s the fun part of the job.
TI Defence & Security
Wed 16 Jan 19 // Uncategorised
16th January 2019, London – Transparency International is delighted to announce, from the start of January, Steve Francis as the new Director of its global programme on Defence & Security. His last assignment in the Royal Marines was in the British High Commission in Islamabad where he served as the UK’s Naval and Air Adviser; at Transparency International he will lead the Movement’s global work aimed at tackling corruption in the defence and security sector.
Steve joined the Royal Marines in 1988. Over the course of a 30-year career he served in a number of different roles, including heading up the Royal Navy’s International Engagement Team and working as the principal aide to the Coalition Deputy Commander in Afghanistan.
Transparency International’s global programme on defence and security is based within Transparency International UK (TI-UK) in London. As Director, Steve joins the Senior Management Team of TI-UK helping to shape the organisation’s strategy as well as leading a team of 20 full-time members of staff based in London and other locations around the world.
Steve Francis, Director of Transparency International Defence and Security Programme, said:
“I’m extremely proud to be taking on a global leadership role in such a well-respected organisation. Having served in a number of conflict ridden and fragile states during my former military career, I have witnessed first-hand how corruption can erode State institutions, undermine public trust, create insecurity and perpetuate conflict and its associated evils like poverty and injustice. I am hugely honoured to be given the opportunity to be part of the fight back against that corruption and its practices around the globe.”
Robert Barrington, Executive Director of Transparency International UK, said:
“I am delighted to welcome Steve to lead TI’s global defence and security work. He brings with him a wealth of experience and knowledge from the armed forces, notably in areas of the world where the problem of corruption is particularly acute. TI has selected the theme of defence & security as a key area of focus as it is notorious for corruption, shrouded in secrecy and has a tangible impact on the lives of ordinary people. Steve joins a dynamic team with a number of major achievements already under its belt and is currently working on some very innovative projects which will build on the success of Steve’s predecessors.”
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TI Defence & Security
Thu 4 Oct 18 // Industry Integrity
Transparency International Defence & Security would like to announce the initial phase of the 2019 edition of the Defence Companies Anti-Corruption Index (DCI).
We appreciate the interest and involvement of all stakeholders who provided feedback on the draft Question and Model Answer document as part of the consultation period, including civil society, industry, experts, the investor community, government, and legal professionals.
The updated methodology includes a number of changes, many of which incorporate feedback received as part of the consultation. At the core of our approach remains the belief that there is an inherent value in information being available in the public domain as it contributes to setting common standards, encourages the sharing of best practice, and deters corrupt activity. Following the consultation, we have edited and refined questions to ensure that the level of transparency and disclosure needed for the highest score reflects the importance of the issue and the level of corruption risk it is aiming to address. These changes can be seen throughout the revised methodology; as an example, we rarely ask for the disclosure of full policy documents, but instead look for evidence that such a policy exists, through a company statement or otherwise, and we have revised our language accordingly. Where certain practical and / or legal considerations could not be mitigated at this point in time, we have removed several questions, in the hope that we can work towards greater standards of transparency over time.
Greater openness and transparency will not only help reduce corruption in the sector, it will build public trust, reassure investors, build constructive relationships with customers and improve the reputation of companies and the industry as a whole. Ultimately, the most responsible companies in the sector will benefit from adopting this approach and the clean business practices it promotes.
What is the Defence Companies Anti-Corruption Index (DCI)?
The DCI sets standards for transparency, accountability and anti-corruption programmes in the defence sector. By analysing what companies are publicly committing to in terms of their openness, policies and procedures, we seek to drive reform in the sector, reducing corruption and its impact. The DCI will assess 140 of the world’s leading defence companies across 39 countries. The Index was first published in 2012 with a second edition in 2015, and the latest edition is set to be published in early 2020.
Following consultation with the industry, governments and civil society, the upcoming index will apply a revised methodology and will include some key differences from previous editions. The final Questionnaire and Model Answer document for the 2019 DCI can be found here.
How will the 2019 Index be different?
After a comprehensive review, the new DCI assessment has evolved and should be read alongside our recent report ‘Out of the Shadows: Promoting Openness and Accountability in the Global Defence Industry’ – which provides greater insight into the theory behind our methodology. Based on consultations with anti-corruption and defence experts, TI DS have identified ten key areas where higher anti-corruption standards and improved disclosure can reduce the opportunity for corruption.
In one the most significant changes to the methodology, TI DS will this year base the research only on what companies choose to make publicly available. The decision to exclude internal information from the evaluation reflects our increased focus on transparency, public disclosure of information, incident response and the practical implementation of anti-bribery and corruption programmes.
How have companies been selected?
Companies for the 2019 DCI have been selected on the basis that:
- The company features in the 2016 edition of SIPRI’s Top 100 Arms-Producing and Military Services companies.
- The company features in the 2016 edition of Defence Industry Weekly’s Top 100 defence companies.
- The company is the largest national defence company headquartered in a country exporting at least £10 million, as identified by SIPRI.
To see the list of companies selected for assessment in 2019, click here.
How will data on companies be collected?
Our assessment of a company’s individual anti-bribery and corruption record is based entirely on publicly available information. In particular, we will review the company’s website, including any available reports, for evidence of robust anti-corruption systems, as well as any functioning hyperlinks to other relevant online materials. In reviewing your company’s materials, we will assess the completeness and accessibility of the information, in particular:
- The amount of information a company publishes about its internal anti-corruption programmes, incident response systems and interactions with third parties;
- Evidence that these systems are used by employees and made available to all employees;
- Evidence that the company monitors and reviews its anti-bribery and corruption processes.
Researchers from TI DS will conduct assessments of each company’s public information starting in May 2019, giving companies an opportunity to make any alterations to their publicly available information before the research process begins. The initial results will be shared with your company, after which you will have the opportunity to review the initial findings and suggest any corrections. The final assessments will be published on our website.
Where can I find the assessment criteria?
The final version of the 2019 Questionnaire and Model Answer document is available here. Companies, governments, and civil society alike were invited to provide feedback on the methodology as part of the process to develop the new Model Answer document. To view an anonymised version of this feedback, click here.
Our recent report ‘Out of the Shadows: Promoting Openness and Accountability in the Global Defence Industry’ provides greater insight into the theory behind the changes to the 2019 methodology.
What is the timeline for the Index?
With the final version of the Questionnaire and Model Answer Document now published, research will begin in May 2019.
During the research phase we will share initial reports with the companies in question, giving you the chance to review these initial findings and suggest corrections. This will be an ongoing process, starting from May.
We aim to have the assessment phase of the index completed by November, and following an analysis of the overall results, aim to publish the full index in early 2020.
What do companies have to do next?
Companies still have the opportunity to make any improvements to their publicly available documents based on the final version of the Question and Model Answer document.
Research will begin in May 2019 and during this process companies will be given the chance to respond to initial findings and suggest any corrections or additional published evidence. We aim to complete this research phase by the end of 2019, with the publication of the results expected in early 2020.
Will we have an opportunity to give feedback on the methodology before the assessments start?
Yes – companies, industry groups and experts were able to provide feedback during a dedicated consultation period in November 2018. A document containing the entirety of this feedback in the form that it was submitted, with company names anonymised, is now available here.
Feedback is welcome from all users of the index including governments, civil society, journalists and companies.
- Question and Answer Document 2019
- Methodology Document
- Full List of Companies Selected for Assessment in 2019
- Company Feedback, November 2018
- Report: ‘Out of the Shadows: Promoting Openness and Accountability in the Global Defence Industry’
- Past editions: Defence Companies Anti-Corruption Index 2015
If you work for a defence company selected for assessment on the DCI and you have not received information about the upcoming edition, please enter your contact details below:
TI Defence & Security
2nd October 2018, Kyiv – On Tuesday, October 2, the Independent Defence Anti-Corruption Committee presented its new report, Poor governance and corruption in Ukraine’s defence housing system: Risks and Recommendations, and called for systemic changes in how servicemen and women are housed. There are 47 thousand families of servicemen currently waiting for homes. According to a preliminary calculation by NAKO, under the current model, it would take more than 600 years to house them all.
NAKO identified ineffective management and corruption risks, including that a few individuals have the power to make decisions with few controls and little oversight. Interviewees reported that servicemen are required to pay bribes to get a place in the queue for houses, even as some are provided with multiple homes.
And poor oversight means that companies that fail to deliver on the buildings they’ve committed to are not held to account; in one instance, the director of a company that failed to build the homes it was contracted to was even put in the position of overseeing the body ensuring that military properties are built.
The report also identified that poor planning by the MOD leads to unbuilt homes and drained budgets, even as thousands wait for homes. In one building alone, researchers found that the Ministry paid more than $300,000 US dollars over what the Ministry of Regional Development estimated the cost should be.
NAKO Co-Chair James Wasserstrom stated: “It is high time for the MOD to find a realistic way to make good on unrealistic Soviet promises. This is going to require a major change that won’t be easy. It will require political courage to make decisions in the long-terms interests of Ukraine’s military, rather than sticking to commitments that the Ministry is unable to deliver.”
NAKOs New Committee Member, Former NATO Vice Chief fo Staff, SHAPE, LTG Michel Yekovleff, stressed the need for Ukraine to keep its Euro/Atlantic promises: “Being with the EU and NATO means following their principles and procedures”.
In terms of defence housing, it means that Ukraine is expected to follow the best examples of the Euroatlantic contries providing the decent housing to the servicemen in a transparent and non-prone to corruption way”.
NAKO recommends that the Ministry of Defence:
1. Abolish the housing queue. Instead of promising homes that the Ministry cannot deliver, it should move to a model of transparent, fair monetary compensation for personnel, which is not only more realistic, but also puts decision-making in the hands of service families.
2. Conduct an audit of existing homes and the queue of those waiting for homes. This can be used to make the Maino-Zhytlo software, which tracks the queue and available homes, more effective.
3. Adopt capability-based planning, so that housing projects that the MOD embarks on are based on the real needs of its troops.
NAKO conducted the research on housing corruption at the request of Defence Minister Poltorak. The Committee has offered to advise and support the Ministry on the implementation of the recommendations for systemic reform.
NOTES TO THE EDITOR
The Independent Defence Anti-Corruption Committee (NAKO) aims to reduce corruption and increase accountability in the Ukrainian defence sector. It is a joint initiative of Transparency International Defence and Security (TI-DSP) and Transparency International Україна (ТІ Ukraine). NAKO’s vision is that Ukraine’s defence and security sector that is accountable, efficient, and has a low level of corruption. Its mission is to minimize opportunities for corruption through strong research, effective advocacy, and increased public awareness, in order to strengthen the Ukrainian defence and security sector.
The Committee consists of six members: Editor in Chief of ‘Ukrayinska Pravda’ Sevgil Musaieva, Former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, Former First Deputy Secretary Defence and Security Council of Ukraine Volodymyr Ogryzko, Chairman of Centre UA, co-initiator of Chesno Campaign Oleh Rybachuk, Chair of the OECD Working Group on Bribery and Former Anti-Corruption Commissioner in Slovenia Drago Kos, and anti-corruption expert and Former Head of Oversight of Public Utilities at the UN Mission in Kosovo James Wasserstrom. The committee is supported by a Secretariat in Kyiv, which is led by Olena Tregub.
TI Defence & Security
19th June 2018, Kiev – The Independent Defence Anti-Corruption Committee (NAKO) announced on June 19th that it is in favour of the revised tender for an independent audit and strategic analysis of Ukroboronprom. It has reestablished dialogue with Ukroboronprom and intends to monitor the tendering process.
NAKO said that the process is the opportunity to bring light to inefficiencies, corruption risks and structural deficits at Ukroboronprom and will be a first step towards resolving these issues and building a state-owned defence establishment that meets the needs of the public and armed forces. The NAKO committee stated that the creation of the independent Supervisory Board, which was appointed by President Petro Poroshenko this January, was a key step towards having effective governance and will be the main customer in the upcoming tender.
Volodymyr Ohryzko, NAKO Co-Chair, stated:
The Supervisory Board of Ukroboronprom is responsible for reforming the institution so that it meets the interests of the public and the Ukrainian state. This audit, in line with international standards, will aid the Supervisory Board in carrying out their responsibility and raising the company to meet international standards of governance.
The call for tender includes three parts: 1) an assessment of the corporate governance of Ukroboronprom and its members, 2) a legal review, diagnosis and consultation of Ukroboronprom and its member companies, 3) an independent financial audit of Ukroboronprom and its member companies.
The original tender did not include some of these components, including the independent financial audit. The NAKO provided recommendations to Ukroboronprom’s Supervisory Board about what should be included in the tender, and the Supervisory Board revised it in line with these recommendations. Following those amendments, the tender process is currently underway. The deadline has been extended from June 18th to September 28th in order to give a broader range of companies the opportunity to bid.
Drago Kos, NAKO Co-Chair said:
We hope to see a strong pool of auditing firms bidding for this. It is undoubtedly complex – but if it can be reformed, the impact on Ukraine and its future will be historic.
Olena Tregub, NAKO Secretary General confirmed that:
The NAKO continues to monitor this tender; our aim is to ensure that the reform of Ukroboronprom is provided with clear advice on the corporate structure and management, and that a full financial audit will identify financial black holes in the company – and will facilitate an evidence-based reform programme.
More details on the tender can be found here.
The Independent Defence Anti–Corruption Committee (NAKO) is a joint initiative to fight corruption in the Ukrainian defence sector run by Transparency International Defence and Security Program – Great Britain (TI-DSP) and Transparency International Україна (ТІ Ukraine).
The Committee consists of six members: Editor in Chief of online media ‘Ukrayinska Pravda’ Sevgil Musaieva–Borovyk, Former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, Former First Deputy Secretary Defence and Security Council of Ukraine Volodymyr Ogryzko, Chairman of Centre UA, co–initiator of Chesno Campaign Oleh Rybachuk, Lieutenant–General of the British Army and Former Commander of the NATO Allied Rapid Reaction Corps Timothy Evans, Former Anti–Corruption Commissioner in Slovenia Drago Kos and Former Head of Oversight of Public Utilities at the UN Mission in Kosovo James Wasserstrom.
The goal for the NAKO is to reduce corruption risks in defence and security sector of Ukraine by means of monitoring, evaluation and analysis of anti-corruption reforms and providing the corresponding recommendations.
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TI Defence & Security
11th June 2018, London – Today, NGOs in France, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Tunisia, the UK and the US are calling upon the agencies investigating Airbus to ensure that the company and its senior executives are properly held to account.
Airbus is under investigation in several jurisdictions for allegedly paying bribes in order to win billions of dollars of contracts. The allegations are egregious and widespread, covering multiple countries and involving several divisions within Airbus including commercial aircraft, helicopters and aerospace and defence.
In February 2018, Airbus reached a €81.25million settlement in Germany to end a corruption investigation into the 2003 Eurofighter deal with Austria. Over the coming months, prosecutors will be weighing up their options, with more settlements as one possible outcome, allowing the company to continue winning government contracts without prosecution.
Today the NGOs in a letter to the heads of the Serious Fraud Office, Parque National Financier and Department of Justice urged the authorities to ensure that:
- National economic interest, relations with foreign states or the importance of Airbus as a national industry must not affect the investigation or prosecution of alleged bribery by the company;
- Individuals responsible for the wrongdoing must face prosecution including those at senior levels;
- No immunity deals should be included in any action taken against Airbus;
- A settlement should only be given if prosecutors have high confidence that Airbus has fully cooperated and revealed the full extent of wrongdoing, and if it has fully signed up to genuine corporate change including through disciplining of employees responsible for wrongdoing;
- Countries where it is proven that Airbus has paid bribes must be fully compensated for harm caused; and
- Any enforcement action must be fully transparent with details of the wrongdoing made publicly available.
Susan Hawley, Director of Policy at Corruption Watch, said:
“The Airbus case is a test of the resolve and independence of the prosecuting bodies and their ability to bring widespread and egregious wrongdoing to justice. Airbus and individuals implicated must not be let off lightly if these global allegations are confirmed by law enforcement investigations.”
Andrew Watson, Head of Industry Integrity at Transparency International Defence and Security said:
“If proven, these extensive cases of corruption will have had a significant impact on the public, state institutions and the industry. With such wide-ranging and complex allegations, it will be will be vital for prosecutors to co-ordinate closely if they are to account for the full scale of alleged offending; because individual cases, serious as they may be, won’t tell the whole story.”
TI Defence & Security
Mon 11 Jun 18 // Industry Integrity
Ensuring any enforcement action against Airbus meets fair justice standards
We are writing as concerned anti-corruption organisations that have seen the effect of corporate bribery on democracy, good governance, economic progress and security across the world.
We are aware of extensive media coverage about allegations of bribery involving Airbus. The allegations are egregious. They span over a decade and include at least 14 countries including Sri Lanka, Kazakhstan, Austria, Tunisia, India, Poland, China, Greece, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Indonesia, Kuwait, Mauritius and Mali as well as implicating all business segments within Airbus, including aerospace and defence, commercial aerospace and helicopters. The media coverage has indicated that the SFO, PNF and DOJ are all investigating alleged wrongdoing. Other authorities around the world are also investigating these allegations, including in Austria, Kuwait, Poland and Sri Lanka.
We welcome the fact that the SFO and the PNF have set up a joint investigation team in this case with close coordination with the DOJ. The co-ordination of law enforcement activities in such cross-border and global alleged wrongdoing is essential. It helps to maximise use of law enforcement resources and ensure that investigators and prosecutors are aware of the full facts of potential wrongdoing when making enforcement decisions.
We are writing to ask you to ensure that any enforcement action against Airbus, whether a settlement or other form of action, meets standards that would ensure justice is achieved and that the harm caused by any wrongdoing is properly assessed and compensated for. We would encourage you to give careful consideration to the full range of enforcement options available, including prosecution. In particular, we ask you to ensure that:
TI Defence & Security
Thu 7 Jun 18 // Accountable Defence Sectors
6th June 2018, London – New allegations made by Corruption Watch U.K. that British intermediaries took corrupt payments from an Italian defence company, to secure defence contracts in South Korea, must be fully examined by the UK’s Serious Fraud Office and where wrong-doing is established prosecutions should follow.
Robert Barrington, Executive Director Transparency International UK, said:
“’These are strong and long standing allegations about significant crimes having been committed, and need to be properly examined by the authorities in the jurisdictions concerned, which means the Serious Fraud Office in the UK. We also encourage UK MoD to fully consider the use of their procurement exclusion powers and whether the company should be temporarily suspended from MoD bidding while these matters are investigated. If wrongdoing is found to have occurred, the full weight of the law should be used against the individuals involved, any senior officers of the company who were complicit, and the company itself.”
“The use of third parties in defence deals has long presented a significant corruption risk and this case demonstrates the need for more consistent transparency requirements in export policies around the use of payment of agents.”
Transparency International’s. “Licence to Bribe? Reducing corruption risks around the use of agents in defence procurement” highlighted the profound risks of using middlemen in defence deals and showed that 90% of companies assessed by TI, fail to provide evidence of regular due diligence over the use of agents.
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TI Defence & Security
Nigeria: More spent on security votes per year than Army budget
Civil society groups call for scrapping of secretive security vote spending
28th May 2018, London/ Abuja – Ahead of the 2019 Presidential elections in Nigeria, Transparency International and the Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Center (CISLAC) are calling on candidates to commit to scrapping the unaccountable and secretive “security vote” spending – one of the most durable forms of corruption in Nigeria—saying that they fail to provide real security for citizens.
“Camouflaged Cash”, a new report launched today by the groups, estimates that security votes in Nigeria total around $670 million annually – more than the annual budget of the Nigerian Army. This amount dwarfs the US security assistance to Nigeria since 2012 and UK counter terrorism support promised from 2016-2020.
Security votes, used by successive governments since 1999, are opaque funds that are disbursed at the discretion of public officials, very often transacted in cash, without being subject to oversight or independent audit. In theory they are designed to cover unforeseen security needs but in reality many have become slush funds for corrupt officials.
As well as undermining Nigeria’s fight against corruption, the misuse of these funds is fuelling instability. By prioritising security vote spending, less funding is available for Nigerian forces to pay salaries or procure needed supplies, leaving them underequipped to fight Boko Haram. They also offer major potential sources of funding to tilt political campaigns, stoking tensions at a critical time.
Katherine Dixon, Director of Transparency International Defence & Security said:
“The security vote is one of the most durable forms of corruption operating in Nigeria today. Yet instead of addressing its many urgent threats, the ever-increasing use of security votes is providing corrupt officials with an easy-to-use and entirely hidden slush fund.”
“Corruption in the crucial sector of defence and security plays right into the hands of those who seek to sow the seeds of instability and terror. It leaves armed forces under-resourced in the fight against Boko Haram and feeds groups who may destabilize the elections.”
Auwal Musa Rafsanjani, Executive Director Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Center, said:
“We are calling on all candidates for the coming election to agree to phase out this secretive and dated form of spending. Growing insecurity at a time when security vote spending has increased shows that it serves no positive purpose in keeping Nigerian citizens safe. Any candidates serious about fighting corruption in Nigeria will recognise the need to urgently address the problem of security votes.”
“Ahead of our National Democracy Day a strong commitment from public officials against security votes would help the growing understanding that combatting corruption is a vital element of any serious democratic society.”
Transparency International Defence & Security and CISLAC recommends the Nigerian government:
- Pass federal legislation outlawing security votes at all levels, to be accompanied by legislation specifying budgeting procedures and criteria for security expenditure.
- Establish effective oversight structures to ensure existing spending is appropriate.
- Educate its officials, security leaders and the general public about the risks of using security votes.
- Support state governments to set up Security Trust Funds as a constructive first step to phasing out security votes.
Key stats and findings from Camouflaged Cash include:
- $670 million spent on security votes per year
- More than the annual budget of the Nigerian Army
- More than the annual budget of the Nigerian Air Force and Navy combined
- More than 70% of the annual budget of the Nigerian Police Force
- More than nine times the US security assistance since 2012
- More than 12 times the UK counterterrorism support for 2016 – 2020
- 29 Nigerian states receive an average total of $580 million through security votes each year
- $5 million – increase in security vote spending between 2016 and 2018
- $15 billion – estimated amount stolen from Nigeria’s defence sector of by former military chiefs
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Transparency International Defence and Security (TI-DS) works to reduce corruption in defence and security worldwide.
Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) is a non-governmental, non-profit, advocacy, information sharing, research, and capacity building organisation. Its purpose is to strengthen the link between civil society and the legislature through advocacy and capacity building for civil society groups and policy makers on legislative processes and governance issues.
TI Defence & Security