Monday, July 07, 2003

Global Corruption Report 2003
"The right to access information is a powerful weapon and protection against the corrupt. That is the message that runs through the Global Corruption Report 2003," said Mame Adama Gueye, President of Forum Civil, the Senegalese chapter of Transparency International (TI), at the launch in Paris today of the French language edition of the GCR 2003. The report was prepared by TI, the world's leading non-governmental organisation fighting corruption. "From the assets of politicians and public officials to government spending and corporate accountability, transparency - enforced by disclosure requirements - is a vital check on the abuse of entrusted power," said Mame Adama Gueye, a member of the international Board of Directors of TI.

Transparency International (TI) has released their Global Corruption Report 2003. It's chock full of relevant information worthy of your immediate review, and puts itself squarely in the camp of those championing the freedom of information. Human nature being what it is, secrecy is a losers' game, while transparency keeps everyone honest as we all stick up for ourselves and balance each other out.

Wholesale reform is needed to improve corporate governance, writes TI Board member, Jermyn Brooks, in the GCR 2003. "Truly independent directors should hold a majority on the board and should chair audit and remuneration committees," he writes. "All elements of directors' remuneration should be fully disclosed in the financial statements and be subject to separate voting at each annual general meeting." The audit committee, he continues, "should approve any non-audit work awarded to auditors". Auditors should be in a position "to demonstrate that they have reviewed their clients' anti-fraud and anti-bribery systems and recommended improvements."

TI recommends the adoption of codes of conduct and related compliance programmes, and that details of implementation and monitoring results be published in each annual report. Codes of conduct should include rules designed to combat bribery at home or by subsidiaries abroad. To this end, TI has developed, with companies including BP, General Electric, Shell and Tata, a set of Business Principles for Countering Bribery. These include training programmes with guidance for all employees to ensure that bribery - direct or indirect - is eliminated.