Anti-corruption NGO calls for public gift and hospitality registers
Transparency International has called on the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to immediately compensate the cities whose time and voluntary efforts have been rendered abortive by those who bribed. Each of the unsuccessful cities should be fully reimbursed by the winning city, and not at the expense of the athletes by arranging this through the IOC, said the Chairman of Transparency International (TI), Prof. Dr. Peter Eigen.
Only where the winning city can clearly establish that a rival also bribed in its own attempts to win the votes should full compensation be denied. "Simply sacking a few IOC members will not solve the underlying problems", the Chairman of the international anti-corruption organisation said.
He also called for the immediate establishment of hospitality and gift registers by both the IOC and by future bidding cities, which would be kept as open and complete records of the hospitality and other benefits being afforded IOC members and their immediate family. This should also be applied to the president of the IOC, who though he has no vote is arguably the most influential figure within the entire IOC movement. "It is scandalous that President Samaranch should regard himself as being exempt from restrictions on the benefits received from bidding cities," Eigen said.
"The IOC bribery scandal is yet another example of the way in which the bribes of the rich are undermining the integrity of people in the developing world and distorting decision-making," states Peter Eigen.
"The spectacle of cities bribing to win the "business" of the Olympic Games lays bare the methodologies of international business against which our organisation has been constantly campaigning," Eigen continued. "There is also a condescending tone vis-á-vis the South underlying much of the publicity, which infers that votes from poorer countries have to be won with bribes, not force of argument."
"This ignores the fact that some of those implicated come from the world’s richest countries, and that bribes offered to people living in the most poor are obviously much more tempting than to those who can afford to refuse them. The primary sin lies with those who offer these inducements."
Eigen also said that the current IOC scandal underlined the urgent need to deal with the problem of corruption within the private sector. "Most countries do not yet even make it a criminal offence for an employee of one private entity to bribe an official of another private institution. This gap remains even in cases such as the IOC scandal where the bribery entails massive damages to the public."
Peter Eigen added: "If public confidence in the Olympic movement is to be revived, it is essential that the operations and procedures of the IOC should become fully transparent. The IOC can no longer view itself as a private club if it is to best serve the public interest."
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