Combatting Bribery and Corruption across Asia and the Pacific

Dr. Karen Webster TINZ Director responsible for Local Government

Dr Karen Webster

TINZ Director 

Many innovative projects and initiatives for combating bribery and corruption were revealed at the recent Transparency International (TI) Asia Pacific Regional Meeting and Integrity Conference (Taiwan, June 2018). Transparency International New Zealand (TINZ) was represented by Operations Manager, Stephanie Hopkins, and Director, Dr Karen Webster. Hosted by Transparency International Chinese Taipei, 18 of the region’s 19 chapters were represented by 58 delegates, together with TI Secretariat staff.  

Contributors came from as far afield as Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal, Mongolia, The Maldives, Vietnam, Cambodia and Indonesia.  Australia and New Zealand were joined by their Pacific neighbours from Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu and the Solomon Islands.

Projects and initiatives to promote awareness of integrity across the public, private and civil society sectors included:

  • the establishment of anti-corruption agencies (Taiwan)
  • combatting impact of corruption on women (Indonesia, Australia)
  • improving climate governance (The Maldives)
  • the Walk for Integrity fundraising initiative in PNG
  • uncovering public sector bribery in the Solomon Islands
  • support and advocacy for rights to information in Vanuatu, and
  • the Wellington-based Leaders Integrity Forums promoting integrity amongst public sector leaders (New Zealand).
Taiwan Min of Justice Investigation Bureau cup with corruption hotline number

Highlights of the four-day event included an in-depth briefing and site visit to the Taipei Agency against Corruption, responsible for promoting integrity systems and combatting corruption in the Taiwanese public sector. This visit highlighted the rigorous investigation and streamlined prosecution facilities to bring corrupt officials to justice in a timely way.

A two-hour bullet train journey, traveling at up to 240 km per hour, took delegates to the agency’s office in Tainan, Taiwan’s old city in the very south of the country. Here we were treated to a briefing of the southern city’s operations, including protection for whistle blowers.

Most memorable were performances by the finalists of an elementary school competition raising awareness of bribery and corruption.

One of two young winners clearly acknowledged the old way of “no money, no way” (11 years old). The other spoke of the new protection for reporting “If you see something, say something“.

It was both inspiring and heart-warming to see these young advocates promoting a public sector with integrity.

Overall, the attendee Chapters’ placings on the TI Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) ranged from New Zealand at number 1 with the least corrupt public sector, to Bangladesh at 145th.

Especially poignant was the strong and committed inspirational dedication of the representatives of three Pacific Island Chapters ‎to combating vested interests, bribery and corruption of public officials in their countries.

This was noticed by the Australian DFAT official attending the meeting to observe the impact of its funding provided to TI for its activities in the region. It strengthened the resolve of the Australian and New Zealand Chapters to coordinate with DFAT and MFAT to support the Solomons, Vanuatu and PNG Chapters in their challenges to fight corruption that cruelly undermines the opportunities for prosperity of their citizens.

 

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