Transparency Times November 2015

Coming Events November 2015



Auckland Trade Negotiations Seminar

Mark your diary for 20 October to attend an Auckland seminar about transparency in international trade negotiations, Owen Glenn Business School, 5:30pm.

I have to admit that we are having some difficulties finalising the details of this event. The EU Charge D’Affairs in Wellington won’t confirm until MFAT confirms, and they won’t do so until they are back in NZ on the 8th Oct. And I am meeting with Sir Don tomorrow to see whether he might be able to chair the event. This therefore limits what details we can advertise at this point. Details (I think) I can confirm are: Title: Balancing Transparency & Confidentiality & Providing a Fair Disputes Process About: The aim of this discussion is to move the focus on the TPPA beyond the political rhetoric, and towards a more constructive discussion about how New Zealand can negotiate free trade agreements in a transparent manner. Location and time: The event will be held at Case Room 2, Owen Glenn Building, University of Auckland Business School from 6pm – 7:30pm, 20 October 2015. Panel members: Daniel Kalderimis, Partner at Chapman Tripp: Mr Kalderimis will discuss current issues in investor-state claims and offer practical expertise and knowledge on what the TPP investment chapter may mean for New Zealand. More speakers to be confirmed shortly…

WHAT’S PLANNED FOR OCTOBER AND NOVEMBER?  Fair Trade Agreements!

TTPA has evoked considerable discussion especially around sovereignty and who will benefit?  We are intending to hold a public discussion in both Auckland and Wellington on Free Trade Agreements – specifically balancing transparency and confidentiality and providing a fair disputes process.  We are finailising the arrangements and panelists- so keep an eye on the website.

Better yet, become a member and you will be advised of upcoming events-  click here- JOIN!!!

TINZ AGM

Transparency International New Zealand Inc AGM, 16 November 2015: Members mark your diaries – Wellington venue and speaker to be advised.

Corruption Perceptions Index

Transparency International’s annual Corruption Perceptions Index will be release month has been shifted to January 2016; traditionally the CPI is released in December.

Are New Zealand enterprises prepared for the new anti-bribery legislation?

The Organised Crime and Anti-corruption Bill passed in Parliament on 4 November 2015 bringing New Zealand more in line with international anti-bribery and corruption legislation. The omnibus Bill, which has been divided into 15 Amendment Acts, should also enable New Zealand to ratify the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC), which it signed in 2003.

Some of the amendments in the foreign bribery area are:

  • provisions on facilitation payments and how they are recorded
  • companies liable for the actions of employees unless they take reasonable steps to prevent bribery—employees include agents, directors and officer
  • fines of up to $5 million and/or up to seven years imprisonment.

Over the years, there has been a geographical shift in the countries that New Zealand trades with. As New Zealand’s trading partners have changed, so have the foreign bribery and corruption risks. Although New Zealand is considered one of the least corrupt countries, the same cannot be said of some of our trading partners.

There are strong indications that many New Zealand businesses operating overseas are not taking foreign bribery risks seriously. A 2015 Deloitte survey of New Zealand and Australian companies showed that 40% of organisations with offshore operations do not have, or it’s not known if they have, a formal compliance programme in place to manage corruption risks.

New Zealand’s reputation is at stake

The perception of New Zealand’s way of trading and our brand are important to future growth. All New Zealanders are involved in some way, as trade also involves importing, which is a source of many consumer goods. Corrupt behaviour could have negative effects on our reputation, and the perception that Kiwis are a people with a high degree of honesty and integrity.

Daniel King

Daniel King
TINZ Director

New Zealand companies already face the risk of financial penalties and/or imprisonment for failure to comply with a number of foreign laws. Non-compliance with the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, for example, has resulted in heavy penalties for both US and non-US based companies and organsiations. The UK Bribery Act covers any New Zealand companies with offices or operations in the UK. Both Acts cover foreign bribery acts committed in third-world countries.

International enforcement is gearing up as well. For example, China is taking a harder stance on corruption. The New Zealand Serious Fraud Office is pursuing foreign corruption cases—at present there are four ongoing investigations of New Zealand companies.

Organisations that develop a compliance system to prevent corrupt practice may use it as a defence if an incident does occur. This applies to New Zealand and international legislation.

Even robust compliance programmes may fail to eliminate all risks. Having a robust system in place, rather than feigning ignorance of potential risks, provides evidence of corruption prevention to a court of law.

Building a compliance system doesn’t need to be complicated but it should:

  • be in proportion to your business trading activities
  • identify the main risks to your organisation.

TI has been working with various players, including the business sector, over the years to develop tools and best practice for combating bribery and corruption. An excellent tool is the Corruption Assessment toolbox. TINZ has developed a free e-learning Anti-Corruption Training course in cooperation with Business New Zealand and the Serious Fraud Office.

Daniel King

Director

Transparency International New Zealand

AFP PHOTO / FABRICE COFFRINIFABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty Images

FIFA president Sepp Blatter looks on with fake dollars note flying around him throw by a protester during a press conference at the football's world body headquarter's on July 20, 2015 in Zurich. FIFA said Monday that a special election will be held on February 26 to replace president Sepp Blatter.

Corruption risk high in all levels of football

TI released a report this week looking at the publicly available information of all 209 football associations (FAs) regarding their finances, activities, governance structures, and ethics. The results show significant failures in transparency and accountability of FAs, heightening their corruption risks.

Between 2011 and 2014, FIFA distributed a minimum of US$2.05 million to each of its 209 member FAs. During that same period, FIFA also gave US$102 million to the six regional football confederations.

The study shows there is no clear way to track what the FAs do with their money:

  • 81% of FAs have no financial records publicly available
  • 21% have no websites
  • 85% publish no activity accounts of what they do.

It is clear that FIFA needs to be reformed from the bottom up as well as the top down to tackle the current corruption crisis.

Josephine Serrallach

Josephine Serrallach TINZ Director

New Zealand Football (NZF) scored well. NZF is one of only 14 football associations with top marks in all four categories. TI’s report found that these 14 football associations publish the minimum amount of information necessary to let people know what they do, how they spend their money, and what values they believe in.

“We congratulate NZF for being in the top 14. We hope NZF would sustain further scrutiny to take a leadership position in encouraging FAs throughout the world to establish accountability and controls to ensure that football is clean at all levels,” says TINZ Director, Josephine Serrallach.

According to TI’s report, “Even FAs with a top score still need to reveal much more to the public about their organisation and how they spend the cash that pours in from FIFA headquarters and their own revenue-generating activities.”

Especially given the behaviour of their international body, it is important that FAs implement and support anti-corruption practices, achieving higher standards of transparency and accountability. Only then can football win back trust among its fans.

Transparency International’s media release is available on www.transparency.org, as is a copy of the report.