Transparency Times December 2016

From the Chair


Seasons Greetings from Transparency International New Zealand

The smooth transfer of power from former New Zealand Prime Minister John Key to former Finance Minister Bill English was a strong contrast to the experience of my just concluded travel around the world in 18 days visiting Phoenix, Panama and Paris. It is important to acknowledge that New Zealand’s processes of passing on political power stand out for their calm and general sensibility. This is what we expect.  Yet it is  atypical of much of the world.

Book-ended by Thanksgiving pumpkin pie and on return, transitional political power, my trip showed more than ever that new Prime Minister Bill English can’t afford to be complacent if he wishes to retain this state of play.

My trip to Phoenix/ LA to further TINZ formative consultation for our Financial Integrity System Assessment (FISA), to Panama for Transparency International’s Annual Members’ Meeting and the International Anti-Corruption Conference (IACC), and to Paris for the Open Government Partnership (OGP) Summit, was filled with graphic and evidence-based case studies from other parts of the world detailing corruption, impunity and the exploitation of citizens.

Donald Trump’s election was a surprise, even to Arizonians who voted for him. His blatant refusal to publish his tax return and interests register shows breath-taking arrogance verging on impunity.

Panama’s bid to have the location of this year’s IACC there was aimed to balance its image as a magnet for shady deals. This bid, which requires at least a US$2 million government payment, was won in August 2015 before the publication of the Mossack Fonseca Panama Papers 8 months later.

By the time the IACC conference started on 1 December 2016, the signage for Mossack Fonseca’s Panama Office had been removed, though the security guards at the gate give things away.

The shocking thing is that there are many other shady organisations, springing from the lack of transparency of Panama’s financial sector.

Reform efforts since the publication of the Panama Papers appear to be cosmetic. A seven-member commission appointed to make its financial system more transparent, in short order saw the resignation of key members, including Nobel Prize winner Joseph E Stiglitz.

According to the 5 December Intrnational Edition of the New York Times, Stiglitz said: “They’re making a valiant effort to sound tough…But the key weaknesses in the transparency framework have not been addressed”. The Times noted that Stiglitz emphasised the importance making the names of beneficial owners public.We are very big on the notion of a searchable registry and they are very opposed to that,” he said.

Suzanne Snively

Suzanne Snively
TINZ Chair

At the Paris Summit the consensus of the 3000 or so attendees from 85 country members of Open Government Partnership is for a fully public register. It is clear from evidence collected by international law makers that behind the veil of secrecy, there are at least two crimes being committed in the forms of financial crime and/or organised crime. Lack of transparency also enables tax abuse.

New Zealand has a major opportunity to take the lead on preventing financial crime. With the legislation for AML Phase 2 before Parliament, it’s important that our new Prime Minister pushes hard to progress the new legislation to ensure supervision of lawyers, accountants and real estate agents a soon as possible. And it’s timely for our new Deputy PM to put on her hat as State Sector Minister and does her homework on the many lessons learned from New Zealand’s now deeper commitment to Open Government Partnership.

A essential lesson learned from my travels is the importance of transparency in financial markets. It is clear that TINZ is leading with its approach to demonstrate the strength and weaknesses of the New Zealand system through FISA. There are strong indicators already that the assessment will demonstrate that New Zealand’s financial system is more focused on the importance of integrity than elsewhere. Do take a moment over January to participate in the formative consultation process for FISA.

Thank-you for your support of TINZ over 2016 and all the best for 2017

Suzanne Snively, Chair
Transparency International New Zealand Inc.

Message from the CEO

Janine McGruddy

Janine McGruddy
TINZ Chief Executive Officer

by Janine McGruddy

TINZ Chief Executive Officer

Dear TINZ Members

It's time to reflect on 2016 beginning with a big thanks to you for being on this journey with TINZ as we advance the New Zealand story of integrity.

Suzanne, Josephine and I have just returned from the Transparency International Annual Members Meeting and the 17th International Anti-Corruption Conference in Panama.  It was a mix of great challenges and great joys and we have all come back reinvigorated and inspired by the global conversations.

The negative rhetoric of our “if it bleeds it leads” media-feeds can be echo chambers. And those echo chambers don’t just reflect our political beliefs; they reflect our worst feelings about human progress. Progressive thinking has taken a few body blows from the likes of Brexit and the Trump fiasco, but humanity still has much to celebrate. We can start 2017 with great hope for the future.

At the local level the Panama Papers led to the Shewan report and the positive outcomes of that, the Open Government Partnership has finally had the recognition and effort it needed to make progress, and New Zealand committed to monitored actions at the Anti-Corruption Summit in London.

At the global level in 2016 the world got more generous – global spending on aid and development increased by 7%, and spending on refugees has doubled.

In June, a new survey showed that the ozone hole has shrunk by more than 3.9 million square kilometres since 2006. Scientists now think it will be fully healed by 2050.

The World Health Organisation released a report showing that, since the year 2000, global malaria deaths have declined by 60%. A new study from the world’s leading health journal reported that the number of women dying from pregnancy and childbirth has almost halved since 1990.

Child mortality is down everywhere and it keeps going down. Thailand became the first country in the Asia-Pacific region to eliminate mother-to-child transmission of HIV and syphilis. World hunger reached its lowest point in 25 years.

In December, the Gambia became the latest African country to show that voting does count, and dictators do fall. Pakistan has made strides toward outlawing honour killings. 70,000 Muslim clerics declared a fatwa against ISIS.  Following the end of conflict in Colombia in 2016, all of the war in the world is now limited to an arc that contains less than a sixth of the world’s population.

Tiger numbers are growing, and pandas are no longer endangered. California is now being powered by over 5 million homes with solar power. Portugal ran its entire nation solely on renewable energy for four days straight and volunteers in India planted 50 million trees in 24 hours.

And it is reported that world crime as a whole has drastically declined in the last couple of decades.

With all this in mind I wish you all a recuperative and inspiring break so that we can all work together in 2017 to continue this progress.

Ngâ mihi o te Kirihimete me te Tau Hou!

Janine

OpenOwnership Registrar

The Global Beneficial Ownership Register

Open Ownership

Corruption, money laundering, fraud, tax evasion and crime via the use of anonymous companies is a global problem and needs a global solution. The OpenOwnership Register provides that solution.

The OpenOwnership Register will:

  1. Aggregate information from multiple public registers, and make it available for free to all in an easy-to-use interface, allowing powerful global searches
  2. Provide a platform for collection of beneficial ownership data, both for companies to self-report their beneficial ownership, and to provide a technical backend for these countries/government agencies/organisations to collect beneficial ownership data
  3. Create a global data standard for beneficial ownership, enabling such data to be interoperable, more easily reused and of higher quality

Why do we need the OpenOwnership Register?

  1. It de-silos the data . Beneficial ownership information is, by its nature, data about networks (of companies and control), and these networks often span multiple countries and multiple industries. By combining the data in one place the data is more useful and more accurate
  2. It removes the technical barriers for collecting beneficial ownership information. By providing a common platform it will drastically reduce the costs and difficulty of collection and reuse, for both governments and companies
  3. It means that the information is natively available as open data in a standardised form, making the information more useful, more comparable, and more usable
  4. It improves the utility for end users, providing a user-friendly view on complex data
  5. It helps create new norms, for corporate ownership transparency is to be a requirement for all legitimate businesses in the modern world

Timeline

  • November 2016 Official start of project
  • November 2016 Project site launches
  • December 2016 First meeting of Data Standard Working Group
  • January 2016 Private beta of register
  • February 2017 Public launch of the public beta
  • March 2017 Launch of the first universal and open data standard for beneficial ownership information

openownership.org | openownership | info@openownership.org

Support & Funding

The Global Beneficial Ownership Register is an initiative to create a free and open beneficial ownership for the public benefit to tackle corruption, money laundering and the use of companies for criminal purposes. OpenOwnership is driven by the leading transparency NGOs: Transparency International, Global Witness, ONE, the Web Foundation, Open Contracting Partnership, and the B Team, along with OpenCorporates. It is initially funded by the Department for International Development (UK).

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In case you missed it

Anti-money laundering

NZ says government will be money-laundering watchdog for lawyers, estate agents The New Zealand government rejected a proposal for industries to police new money-laundering rules themselves.

Exposure draft released of new anti-money laundering laws The Government press release on beehive.govt.nz

http://www.justice.govt.nz/justice-sector-policy/key-initiatives/aml-cft/ AML Phase II on the Ministry of Justice Website

New Zealand transparency, integrity and accountability

New Zealand To Seek More Tax Transparency From MNEs New Zealand's Inland Revenue Commissioner, Naomi Ferguson, has called on local and foreign-owned multinational corporations to be more transparent about their international tax affairs.

LGNZ backs call for more responsibility for local government Local Government New Zealand is welcoming a new report calling for greater clarity in the roles and responsibilities of local and central government in New Zealand.

Business Insider on the Prosperity Index The 25 richest, healthiest, happiest, and most advanced countries in the world.

Primary sector groups see bonuses in improved trade deal with China The “big three” – dairy, meat and forestry – have all said New Zealand stands to gain from a revamp and full implementation of the 2008 FTA, which itself was instrumental in making China one of the country's leading trade partners.

Legatum Institute 2016 Prosperity Index New Zealand Announced as the Most Prosperous Country in the World in 2016 Legatum Prosperity Index™.

Alexander Gillespie: NZ's end of year report – Could try harder While we score high in the indices for peace and transparency, our poverty and inequality gaps have grown.

Highlights and Lowlights of the Global Bribery Crisis The outlook for global bribery is becoming increasingly polarized, owing to several new countries deemed “very low risk,” and a rising number of nation states falling into the “very high risk,” categories, according to a new report.

Auckland Transport officials guilty of corruption A company director and an Auckland Transport senior official have been found guilty of giving and accepting bribes of more than $1 million.

National’s Foreign Ownership Cover-Up Continues National’s cover-up of foreign ownership of land in New Zealand continues, says New Zealand First Leader and Northland Member of Parliament Rt Hon Winston Peters.

International battle against corruption: What does this mean for business in China? China, New Zealand December 15 2016. New Zealand has strengthened its commitment to combat bribery following the London Anti-Corruption Summit.

Student visa fraud: 'It's not about education'

The back story to New Zealand PM John Key's Panama Papers crisis Excellent coverage of the issues, arguments and lack of significant progress from the Shewan Inquiry. October 2016

Pacific

Corruption increasing in Solomons says watchdog group The chairperson of Transparency Solomon Islands says corruption continues to rise in the country despite increased efforts to combat it.

Solomon's PM describes corruption as a cancer The Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare has warned that seven more arrests related to corruption will be made in the coming days.

International

Bribery Is on the Rise Worldwide, and It Costs A Lot More Than Just Money

Corruption Currents: Bribery Isn’t a ‘Taboo’ For Indian Bureaucrats Bribery “is not a taboo in a government job,” an Indian bureaucrat said. wsj.com. Corruption roundup

Why does the rich-poor gap continue to grow? A new book, Reinventing Prosperity, by Graeme Maxton and Jorgen Randers, published Nov 2016 by Greystone, suggests radical solutions. An extract. There has been a “power grab” by the rich. The world's fattest fat-cats of manipulating the political system to rig the rules of the game in their favor, so that they are taxed less, regulated less, and scrutinized less. As a result, wealth and income have been moving in the opposite direction from what people [regard as fair tax].

Panama Struggles to Shed Its Image as a Magnet for Shady Deals

Global Partnership to Open New Fronts in Fight Against Corruption The Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) and Transparency International (TI) are joining forces in a first of its kind partnership to root out grand corruption on a global scale, the Global Anti-Corruption Consortium.

Unmasking the real owners of London property Nine out of ten overseas companies owning London property are registered in secrecy jurisdictions, according to new research from Thomson Reuters and Transparency International UK. Why does that matter?

An Interview with India's Most Wanted Cartoonist

Jho Low Family Digs in to Stop 1MDB Asset Seizure by U.S . Malaysian financier Low Taek Jho’s family is reaching far and wide to stop the U.S. from seizing $650 million in real estate and business investments the government claims were acquired with funds stolen from his home country.

17 International Anti-Corruption Conference: The time for justice, equity, security and trust is now . The 17th International Anti-Corruption Conference (IACC) with the theme Time for Justice: Equity, Security, Trust concluded today in Panama City with a call for people all over the world to come together with activists, governments, business and the media to defeat corruption and hold them to account in an era where integrity and truth are under attack.

Transparency International calls for ending the secrecy that enables corruption Meeting in Panama City today, representatives from more than 110 Transparency International chapters and members unanimously adopted a resolution calling for an end to the secrecy that enables corruption and contributes to inequality worldwide.

The TRACE Matrix® The Global Business Bribery Risk Index for Compliance Professionals

Christine Lagarde on Trial in France, Overshadowing I.M.F. Role

Tackling corruption together: A call for collaboration The knowledge of how to fight corruption is growing, and the effect of these learnings can be amplified if business, governments and international institutions work together. By Kristin Berglund, Head of Anti-Corruption & Foreign Trade Controls, Maersk Line for the Huffington Post

Rigging the bids Government contracting is growing less competitive, and often more corrupt. The Economist

Labour peer turns down a job with £160,000 salary, Mayfair mansion and chauffeur-driven car… because men before her were paid even MORE

Sérgio Cabral, Ex-Governor of Rio de Janeiro, Arrested on Corruption Charges The former governor of Rio de Janeiro, who helped bring the Summer Olympics to the city, was arrested as part of an investigation into bribery and embezzlement in construction projects.

Indian bureaucrat with 'black money' stash: Bribes not taboo

Penetrating the offshore sector The following hypothetical case, a composite of cases appearing in the public record, is representative of the types of matters where Kroll is tasked to investigate financial fraud in the offshore sector. (A good case study description)

Sport

IAAF plans transparency amid new corruption claims Just as the IAAF is about to endorse wide-ranging changes to its governance aimed at making the organization more ethical, transparent and accountable, world athletics' governing body is being assailed by more claims of corruption.

TINZ published media releases

Today is Anti-corruption Day TINZ media release pick up

Anti-corruption Day: NZ must remain vigilant Friday 9 December marks International Anti-Corruption Day. This was established after the passage of the United Nations Convention Against Corruption in October 2003 and came into being because of the UN's concerns over the huge dangers corruption poses to societies in all countries.