Displaying items by tag: Corruption
Pray for our leaders
Lord God, when we look at today’s headlines we read of bribery and bickering and duplicity in the halls of Westminster and the Metropolitan police’s corruption and immorality. We see strikes bringing commerce and industry to a halt and inflation choking hard working families. It is hard not to be discouraged; yet Psalm 42 tells us not to be downcast or disturbed, but to put our hope in You, our Saviour and our God. Please lead us as we pray and trust You, even when we do not understand what You are doing. Jesus, please send your Spirit to shepherd our leaders and direct them to follow the paths you have prepared. Remove the dross from selfish business dealings and replace it with integrity and honesty. Give courage and unity to our politicians and union bosses so that Your will is agreed on and accomplished in the workplace.
Met Police corruption
‘Two or three Met Police officers per week will appear in court on criminal charges in the coming weeks and months’ said commissioner Sir Mark Rowley. ‘And the public should prepare for more painful stories as the force confronts violence against women and girls, domestic abuse and sex offences’. He spoke in the wake of PC David Carrick admitting on January 16th dozens of rape and sexual offences against 12 women and PC Hussain Chehab who pleaded guilty to child sex offences on 24th January. Sir Mark said, ‘We haven't applied the same sense of ruthlessness to guarding our own integrity that we routinely apply to confronting criminals. I'm deeply sorry for that. Lifting the stone and revealing painful truths will not be resolved overnight, and I mustn't pretend it will. I hope you understand that can't be done. We must prepare for more painful stories as we confront issues.’
Haiti: city taken hostage by gangs
In Port-au-Prince your life depends on knowing where the boundaries are. Competing gangs are claiming areas, kidnapping, raping, killing at will and demarcating territories in blood. Cross from one gang's turf to another, and you may not return. Armed groups terrorise 60% of the capital by controlling roads. 1,000 people were killed between January and June. The last head of state was killed in office, creating a vacuum; there is no functioning parliament , and the US-backed unelected prime minister is unpopular. Half the population face acute hunger, 20,000 face famine-like conditions and cholera, but gangs are the greatest plague. Morning and evening rush hours are kidnapping times as commuters are snatched from the streets in a growing industry. Ransoms range from £164 to £820,000. Most victims return if ransoms are paid, but they suffer: rape, burns by melted plastic, and more. Catholicism is the official religion, but voodoo is the national religion. The majority of Haitians practise some aspects of voodoo.
Iraq / Lebanon: headed down a chaotic path
Governments in both Iraq and Lebanon struggle to function and pass legislation. Political parties tied to ethnic and religious groups vie for control. Iran-backed militias hold more power than the military. There are many parallels between Lebanon, Syria, and Iraq because the nation-state borders were drawn around them by colonial nations around a hundred years ago. Ethnic groups thrown together by these borders often find it difficult to make their own voices heard and cooperate. It is an ongoing process that is only successful if there has been a dictator or authoritarian government. There is government corruption. Young Iraqis are dissatisfied and are opening their eyes to opportunities for truth. South Iraq is seeing a time of harvest among the Shia community. Even though they face persecution by larger religious groups, they are boldly proclaiming the Gospel repeatedly to all peoples and all backgrounds or ethnic minorities or majorities in their communities. God is doing amazing things in the south.
Europe: Most corrupt countries
According to Transparency International, Russia remains the most corrupt European country. High-ranking public officials commit illegal activities. Albanian businesses are bedevilled by corruption and low conviction rates. Austria has well-developed institutions and proactive legal systems. However, high-level public officials and the central government have experienced corruption recently. Belgium also has a well-developed institutional and legal framework to combat corruption, but is also one of the most corrupt European countries. Bosnia’s political structures are the most affected by corruption. Bulgaria’s government officials engage in embezzlement, unfettered violation by the government relating to procurement of public assets as well as misappropriation of public funds. Bulgaria is the most corrupt member of the EU. Croatia is in the top three corrupt EU members but recently is making efforts to combat corruption. The Czech Republic has widespread corruption across most public sectors. France’s high-ranking officials and defence officers commit many corrupt activities.
One of the root causes of poverty in Asia is corruption that diverts resources from the poor to the rich in a culture of bribes. Corruption and bribery are two sides of the same coin. Another root cause of Asian poverty is recurring natural disasters - floods, typhoons, volcanic eruptions, landslides, etc. ‘Asian countries are mostly dependent upon agriculture, forestry and tourism. All can all be affected by natural disasters. Education is affected by poverty because poor people stop going to school to work; leaving them without literacy and numeracy skills needed for a career. Poor people tend to believe not only that they are poor, but that they will remain poor, leading to psychological poverty - an unhealthy frame of mind that is usually self-inflicted. Spiritual poverty occurs when people’s incompleteness and dependency overwhelms them. In their brokenness they feel that something is wrong within themselves. They need God. Ask God to brood over and touch the impoverished Asian.
Economic crime bill
Ground-breaking legislation introduced to Parliament recently could provide a major boost to Britain’s defences against illicit wealth. Transparency International (TI) said that the bill introduces much-needed reforms on property ownership, transparency, strengthening UK asset recovery powers, and sanctions. But there are some gaps within it. An 18-month transition period is far too long, and risks massive levels of asset flight. TI recommends the Government implement transitional provisions to stop property from being sold before the register comes into force and the proceeds transferred overseas. Overseas companies owning UK property should declare their beneficial ownership information; and the legislation should be implemented at the earliest opportunity to empower Companies House to introduce verification checks, query, investigate and remove false information.
Sanctioned elsewhere but not by the UK
There are several individuals being sanctioned by other nations but not by the UK. Oleg Deripaska was sanctioned by America for money laundering, ordering the murder of a business rival, illegally wiretapping government officials, extortion, racketeering and bribing government officials. He owns 45% of an aluminium company listed on the London Stock Exchange, and former Conservative energy minister Lord Barker is its executive chairman. The Russian state-owned VTB bank was suspended from the Stock Exchange but Andrey Kostin, president of the bank, is not sanctioned. Victor Zolotov, also on the EU's list but not UK's, leads Russia's national guard. His family is one of the richest in Russia in the real estate sector, with property portfolios in the UK. Pro-Kremlin billionaire Alisher Usmanov founded Russian-based USM which owns major iron, steel and copper suppliers and a telecommunications company, and has commercial ties to Everton Football Club (which has suspended its sponsorship contracts with USM).
Kazakhstan’s ongoing civil unrest shows the need for meaningful progress against corruption. Last week there were countrywide protests over inequality, poverty and corruption, also calling for meaningful reforms. The wealth the country’s political elite have amassed through corruption has been a particular concern throughout the protests. Kazakhstan has made some progress in fighting corruption in recent years - in a 2019 study people and small businesses saw things improving on the ground - but serious concerns remain, such as the flawed anti-corruption framework, lack of responsiveness in policy-making, and state control of the media. Pray for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and other independent voices who are urging the government to resolve the ongoing unrest peacefully. Unless the violence stops immediately, the way out of the crisis is uncertain for the already struggling Kazakh society.
South Africa: after Tutu
Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s funeral was on 1 January. He was a driving force behind ending racial segregation and discrimination in an era when South Africa taught the world what courage and reconciliation could achieve. The contrast between those times of sacrifice, justice and glory, and today's corrupt political realities are stark. Deep economic frustration, high unemployment and inequality is governed by the African National Congress (ANC), which is at open war with itself and full of corruption. The day after Tutu’s funeral a fire severely ravaged much of the houses of parliament, causing ‘significant damage’ to the new assembly wing, including the National Assembly chamber where lawmakers sit. While firefighters were still working on ‘hotspots’ further flames erupted, threatening to cause the entire structure to collapse. We can pray that as men rebuild the houses of parliament, God will raise up and anoint political and community leaders to repair the damage done by mismanagement and corruption.