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Transparency International annual meeting tackles barriers to fighting global corruption, examines conventions, return of stolen assets

Anti-corruption campaigner from Ireland elected to TI Board; resolutions on Burma, facilitation payments passed

Members of Transparency International - the world’s leading anti-corruption organisation - from over seventy countries, came together to discuss barriers to eradicating corruption globally and locally. International conventions such as the UN Convention against Corruption and the OECD Anti-bribery Convention were the topics of much debate as well as of two resolutions passed by the Annual Membership Meeting on the Indonesian island of Bali from 27-28 October.

Strengthening the global legal framework

In the context of the UN Convention, TI called for a greater commitment to monitoring how signatory countries are doing in implementing the Convention and for more assistance for countries trying to recover assets stolen by corrupt leaders and ferreted out of the country.

Indeed, with an expert panel on asset recovery preceding the membership meeting, it was a thread that wove its way through the proceedings. The issue is vital in freeing up badly needed resources in lower-income countries, in enhancing trans-national cooperation on anti-corruption and in putting an end to the impunity of larcenous leaders.

Demanding a new commitment to fighting foreign bribery

The role of multinationals bribing abroad was also discussed in relation to the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention, springing from a sense in the anti-corruption movement that there has been backsliding on the commitment of the world’s wealthiest countries to crack down on corrupt behaviour abroad by their companies.

The members of TI therefore demanded consequences for countries lagging on enforcement and an end to the troubling trend of using national security as an excuse to avoid investigating or prosecuting corruption cases. The annual membership meeting issued further resolutions on Burma, Pakistan, and facilitation payments.

TI Board elections

The members of TI also elected a new member to the TI Board of Directors and re-elected a standing member. John Devitt, CEO of TI Ireland, has been elected to the board, while Rev. Geo-Sung Kim of TI Korea has been elected to a further three-year term.

John Devitt

John Devitt is the founder and CEO of TI Ireland. He is a communications specialist by training. A former press officer at the British Embassy in Dublin, he was also the first Irish member of its Public Diplomacy Committee. Before joining the TI movement he served as Trade Representative at the Irish Consulate in New Zealand. He appears frequently in the Irish media.

A graduate of European Studies at the University of Limerick and of Public Relations at the Public Relations Institute of Ireland, John is a member of the National Union of Journalists and Institute of European Affairs, and Research Associate of the School of Business, Trinity College Dublin.

Geo-Sung Kim

Geo-Sung Kim is the founding secretary-general of Transparency International Korea, the South Korean chapter of TI established in 1999. He is an ordained pastor of the Gumin Presbyterian Church and holds degrees in theology and sociology. He has participated in the democracy and human rights movements in Korea and between1977-1980 he was twice imprisoned for criticising the then dictatorship. Reverend Kim has served in various civil society organisations over the past 25 years. In 2002 and 2003, he was honoured by the Korean government as a "person of merit" for his contribution to Korea's democratisation movements. Kim has been active on various government anti-corruption committees and has been an adviser to the Federation of Korean Industries.

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