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Slovak judge, German pharmacologist and Brazilian campaigner win anti-corruption award

The third annual TI Integrity Award goes to a judge who took on corruption in her own profession, a critic of corruption in the pharmaceutical industry, and a civil society activist determined to clean up local politics

The Transparency International Integrity Award 2002 will be awarded to Jana Dubovcová, a Slovak judge whose survey on corruption in the courts prompted calls for her dismissal, Dr Peter S. Schönhöfer, a German pharmacologist who exposed the corrupt practices of drug companies, and Luis Roberto Mesquita, a Brazilian businessman who defied death threats in his campaign to clean up politics in the city of Guarulhos in the state of São Paulo.

The awards will be presented on the eve of Transparency International's Annual General Meeting in Casablanca, Morocco, on Friday 11 October 2002. The ceremony will also be attended by Captain Mustapha Adib, who won the first TI Integrity Award in 2000. Jailed for blowing the whistle on corruption in the armed forces, he is only now able to receive his award: he was released from jail on 18 May 2002.

Jana Dubovcová, Chief Justice of the District Court of Banská Bystrica in central Slovakia, rocked the judicial establishment when in April 2001 she personally initiated a survey of corruption in her own court. The results indicated that corruption had been encountered by 30% of respondents, two-thirds of whom said they had been asked for a bribe directly by a judge. The survey prompted the Council of Slovak Judges to call upon the Minister of Justice, Ján Carnogurský, to dismiss her as Chief Justice. Carnogurský refused to dismiss her.

Fifty-year-old Dubovcová also took the lead with the introduction of a new Judicial Management system in co-operation with the Swiss Ministry of Justice. This electronic tracking system aims to speed up cases and to ensure the elimination of a major source of corruption, the non-transparent allocation of judges to case. Judges are now assigned to cases by random selection. According to Dubovcová, the new system has increased by 70% the number of cases resolved within three months of the case being filed. Piloted in Banská Bystrica, the project is now being extended countrywide.

According to Emília Sicáková-Beblavá, President of TI-Slovakia, "Jana Dubovcová has taken a lead in promoting two standards: one for the ethical conduct of judges, and another for improving the efficiency of court procedures. Both eliminate major causes of corruption in a sector that ranks second only to the health sector in surveys of corruption in Slovakia."

Dr Peter S. Schönhöfer, a professor of pharmacology and co-editor of the independent German drugs bulletin, Arznei-Telegramm, is a resolute critic of corruption by certain pharmaceutical companies, including practices such as paying honoraria to doctors' interns and medical department staff to insert non-essential drugs on lists of approved drugs. He has also criticised corrupt medical experts for falsifying scientific data in publications. Schönhöfer, 67 years old, has often had to defend his critical opinions in court, but has never lost a case nor had to retract any statements. He has demanded full disclosure of links between the pharmaceutical industry and the health care system in order to minimise the scope for corruption. Anke Martiny, Deputy Chairwoman of TI Germany, explained: "Dr Schönhöfer is a shining example for medical professionals in the German health sector and further afield. He has shown great determination in demanding strict codes of conduct to curb corruption and conflicts of interest."

Luis Roberto Mesquita, 43, a well-known businessman and head of the AGDC-Guarulhos Association for Citizens' Defence, initiated a campaign to clean up politics in the industrial municipality of Guarulhos, with more than 1 million inhabitants the second largest city in the state of São Paulo, Brazil. By engaging citizens in public meetings, he challenged candidates for city elections in 1996 to commit themselves to corruption-free government if elected.

The newly elected mayor, who signed such a pledge, was then challenged by Mesquita to live up to his pledge. When Mesquita's own investigations revealed that the mayor's family had suddenly acquired properties from the city at knockdown prices, Mesquita brushed aside death threats to lead a campaign that resulted in the mayor, Nefí Tales, being dismissed from office in September 1998, then impeached by the Municipal Chamber in December 1998 on the grounds of "unlawful enrichment". On 15 March 2002, Tales was arrested and jailed for 50 days, and his property was confiscated.

After leading public demonstrations against corruption among city councillors (who even demanded kickbacks to remove Tales from office), Mesquita then launched a public debate on corruption during the municipal elections of 2000. Only eight of the 21 sitting councillors secured re-election. According to Cláudio Weber Abramo, General Secretary of Transparencia Brasil, "Mesquita has taken on the most powerful and corrupt in his city again and again. We are challenging the Presidential candidates to make the same pledges to corruption-free government - and, inspired by Mesquita, we will strive to hold them to their promises."

The annual TI Integrity Award seeks to underline the work of individuals and organisations that have shown great bravery and integrity in combating corruption. "The anti-corruption movement derives its inspiration from the bravery of individuals such as this year's Integrity Award winners - who are shedding light on corruption in three areas - the judiciary, the health sector and the body politic," said Peter Eigen, Chairman of Transparency International. "There are many more unsung heroes, and I want to applaud them all. Their efforts improve the quality of life for all - and often save lives."


For any press enquiries please contact

Jeff Lovitt (TI Secretariat)
Tel: +49-30-3438 2045
Email: press@transparency.org

Cláudio Weber Abramo (Transparencia Brasil)
Tel: +55-11-3062 3436
Email: cwabramo@uol.com.br

Ute Bartels (TI Germany)
Tel: +49-89-4895 4440
Email: office@ti-deutschland.de

Emília Sicáková-Beblavá (TI Slovakia)
Tel: +421-2-5341 1020
Email: ema@transparency.sk