Displaying items by tag: Corruption
Deterioration of democratic policies in the Palestinian leadership has caused a coalition of nongovernmental organisations to call it ‘political corruption.’ For years this coalition, named AMAN, focused on administrative and financial corruption. Now the eroding integrity of the Palestinian leadership has forced Transparency International to tackle a corrupt political system that among other things cancelled a long-overdue national election and ordered its security forces to harm a Hebron critic, that led to his death. They have also violently cracked down on demonstrations calling for accountability. An AMAN manifesto recently called Palestinians to reject the anti-democratic slippery slope and ‘fight this political corruption by creating a coalition that can contribute toward a more honest governance structure.’ If the current political corruption is not checked, Palestine will move into a dangerous zone.
Journalists and activists are under constant risk in too many parts of the world. Recently the extent and all-consuming nature of the threats was revealed when new technology was discovered. An Israeli company invented spyware that can do everything from extracting data to inconspicuously recording live audio and video. They insist their technology is intended for use against criminals and terrorists. But the Pegasus Project shows that it has been used by some governments to target journalists, activists, and political opponents. Journalist Khadija Ismayilova led the investigations which exposed Danske Bank moving suspicious cash to launder Azerbaijan’s international image. US$230 billion in dirty money was funnelled through the bank’s accounts in twelve years. Yet full accountability for the apparent anti-money laundering failures has been impossible to achieve – until this week. The European Commission has proposed an anti-money laundering agency, which could be a much-needed gamechanger.
Many believe that what we see in South Africa is the physical manifestation of what is happening in the spiritual realm. A spiritual battle is raging across South Africa, and it is manifested through riots, arson, gang violence, taxi violence, farm murders, etc. When confronted with recent scenes we must guard our hearts and minds against looking at it purely from a physical perspective. Mr Zuma’s imprisonment represents the progress made in the fight against corruption within the country. Amid the many challenges SA faces, it is easy to lose sight of the good, and positive things that are happening. In 3 ½ years SA has seen the evidence of corruption and specifically ‘state capture’ being brought to light. This would never have happened, had it not been for a mighty movement by God’s Spirit, in conjunction with many prayers. The devil would not be happy about it and is heating up the battle to ‘turn the tide’.
Revelations by courageous investigative journalists reveal kleptocracy in Equatorial Guinea. A recent cross-border investigation exposed how Gabriel Mbega Obiang Lima - the President’s son, and the country’s oil minister - may have siphoned off millions in state funds and bribes abroad. Journalists tracked down an international web of shell companies and properties linked to him, including a Cyprus company and its subsidiaries in other countries. Another corruption investigation, released this week, implicates two more individuals related to the Obiangs who run Equatorial Guinea's state oil company. Journalists discovered the oil industry power couple had luxury properties around the world that even their hefty pay packages cannot explain. In Cyprus they purchased a €2.5 million villa to obtain golden EU passports. The international community needs to make it much more difficult, and eventually impossible, for the kleptocrats to enjoy the proceeds of their crimes, deterring them from stealing from their people in the first place.
While the 2019 peace agreement signed in the CAR was a step forward, it has not yet been fully implemented, as militia attacks continued to occur. Pray for meaningful dialogue between state and non-state armed participants that would enable the agreement to succeed. The Chinese, the Russians, the UN peacekeeping forces (MINUSCA), the rebels, and the political authorities are all out to plunder what they can of the mineral riches of the country. The people have eyes only to weep. When will this nightmare ever come to an end? Pray that peace, stability and justice will come soon, for the sake of the civilians who continue to suffer immensely. Although a special criminal court was set up in 2015 to investigate and prosecute grave human rights violations, it lacks funding : so countless victims of violence are waiting for justice. Pray that the court will be fully financed, so that all perpetrators are held to account.
The election of Ebrahim Raisi, sanctioned by America for his involvement in mass executions of thousands of political prisoners in 1988, became more of a coronation after his strongest competitors found themselves disqualified from running. That sparked calls for a boycott, and many stayed home. 28.9 million voted out of 59 million eligible voters, and 3.7 million voided their ballots. The low turnout and voided ballots suggest unhappiness with the tightly-controlled election, as activists criticised Raisi's ascension. Those casting ballots received stamps on their birth certificates. Not having a stamp could affect their ability to apply for jobs and scholarships, or to hold onto their positions in the government or the security forces. Iran accused Washington of claiming that last week’s election was neither free nor fair. Amnesty International wants Raisi investigated for crimes against humanity, murder, enforced disappearance and torture. See
On 10 June a bipartisan group of members of the US Congress launched a caucus against foreign corruption and kleptocracy at a virtual kickoff event. The new caucus will focus on fighting global corruption and kleptocracy (authoritarian governance model in which foreign officials use corruption to maintain their power and grow their influence in countries). Transparency International said this caucus is a clear recognition of the importance of combating global corruption by leaders, which has increased since the pandemic. Corruption, including stolen and misappropriated relief funding, harsh crackdowns on pandemic reporting in the media, and attempts to appropriate or dismantle democratic and rule-of-law institutions, robs all those in need of urgent aid.
BBC chairman Richard Sharp said failures of ‘accountability and transparency’ existed until 2020. The BBC will review editorial practices and investigate how journalist, Martin Bashir, was re-hired as religion editor in 2016, after an inquiry found he used ‘deceitful behaviour’ to secure an interview with Diana, Princess of Wales. The BBC accepted the findings and reiterated its apology. The Duke of Cambridge said his mother was failed ‘not just by a rogue reporter’ but by BBC bosses. An enquiry found Bashir had faked bank statements to suggest Princess Diana was under surveillance - to win the trust of her brother Earl Spencer, and eventually gain access to the princess for the 1995 interview. Then as media interest in the interview increased, the BBC covered up its knowledge of how Bashir secured the interview. Now the BBC board ‘hopes to ensure the mistakes of the past could not be repeated’. Pray for truth, humility and justice run through all reporting and commentaries.
The UK has joined other European countries and donated €500,000 to a human rights project investigating the Lukashenko regime in Belarus. The longtime dictator denies human rights abuses in his country despite overwhelming evidence gathered by journalists and NGOs. The project will collect, store, and build evidence of human rights violations and torture against the people which may in future be used in independent criminal proceedings. The initiative is led by a coalition of expert NGOs and supported by the UK, Denmark, Germany, and other international partners to hold Lukashenko’s regime to account for violations following the rigged Presidential election in 2020. This independent initiative, free from political interference, will help defend democracy, media freedom and human rights. It will help the Belarusian people take a vital step further towards securing justice.
Fraudsters are sending out fake texts offering a Covid vaccine, trying to steal personal and financial information. Other scams include selling fake Covid cures and non-existent or low- quality PPE, as well as posing online as official sources to steal personal and banking details from victims. One scam message reading 'We have identified that you are eligible for your vaccine' prompts people to click on a link to 'apply’ for it. Pray for more police warnings about providing financial details to strangers. Criminals preying on people's fears over the pandemic are stealing millions of pounds, according to Action Fraud, the UK's national reporting centre for fraud and cybercrime. There have been fraud attempts posted on local Facebook pages and an ‘extremely convincing’ fake NHS website. Action Fraud warns people to never give out personal details to organisations or people before verifying their credentials first, even if the message appears to be genuine. See