Meeting in Panama City today, representatives from more than 110 Transparency International chapters and members unanimously adopted a resolution calling for an end to the secrecy that enables corruption and contributes to inequality worldwide.
Illicit financial flows have been estimated to exceed an annual US$1 trillion. The release of the Panama Papers offered more evidence than ever before about the extent to which the corrupt rely on a web of anonymous companies, trusts and other vehicles to transfer, launder and hide their illicitly sourced funds in locations also characterised by secrecy.
“Secrecy fuels corruption and leads to inequality and poverty,” said José Ugaz, chair of Transparency International. “We met in Panama to send one message to all governments, business, and civil society: together we can request the end of secrecy and stop the shady deals that create social damage,” Ugaz added.
Transparency International’s chapters and members called on all governments to publish timelines for establishing public registries containing beneficial ownership information and on all businesses to disclose proactively their beneficial ownership information in open data format.
In addition, the Transparency International Members adopted a resolution on corruption-free land governance worldwide. (Read the full text of both resolutions here.)
The Transparency International Movement also adopted a policy on the overlaps between corruption and tax abusive behavior. This policy identifies the aspects of both issues that need to be tackled, including regulatory capture and undue influence in the lobbying processes around tax policy, bribery in tax administration and the risks of secrecy in high risk sectors, such as the extractive industries. The solutions to tax abuse and corruption identified are also common and focus on corporate and government transparency, such as country by country reporting, beneficial ownership transparency, transparent lobbying and enhanced oversight of the professional services so often engaged in these practices.
The Annual Membership Meeting of Transparency International has also elected Individual Member Boris Divjak and re-elected incumbent board member Natalia Soebagjo as board members.
Brief biographies of the TI board members elected today:
Boris Divjak is a macroeconomist, former director of the Bergen-based U4 Anti- Corruption Resource Centre where he focused on providing advice to bilateral donors in delivering governance and anti-corruption programmes and aid to developing countries. Divjak worked extensively with the World Bank Group (WBG), but also the European Commission, USAID and other bilateral and multilateral donors. As an anti-corruption activist Divjak founded the Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) Chapter of Transparency International (TI) in 2000, and as of November 2005 was elected into TI's international Board of Directors, where he served two terms until 2011, incl. chairing the Membership Accreditation Committee. He has been an Individual Member of TI since 2012. Through his TI capacity, Divjak analysed corruption issues and advocated for reforms globally, and engaged directly with citizens and policy makers in BiH and beyond in the Western Balkans region.
Since 2009, Natalia Soebagjo has been a member of Transparency International Indonesia (TI-I) and Chair of the Executive Board since 2011, overseeing and guiding the work of the Secretary-General and the Secretariat. In 2013, Soebagjo was elected to the International Board of Transparency International. Most recently, Soebagjo was appointed by the President of Indonesia to be a member of the Selection Panel for the 2015-2019 Commissioners of the KPK, Indonesia’s Anti- Corruption Commission. She was also on the KPK’s Ethics Committee which had to make a ruling regarding the conduit of one of the KPK Commissioners.
Karen Hussmann was elected as a member of the Membership Accrediation Committee. Hussmann is a public policy expert with 20 years of experience in governance, transparency anti-corruption issues, health economy and conflict affected states. She has a Master in Public Policy and Management (MGPP) from the University of Chile and has extensive work experience throughout Latin America – where she has been living for 10 years between Colombia and Chile – in many countries in Africa, and some in Asia.
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