Political Corruption Hampers Developing Economies, Report Says
Corruption ''undermines the hopes of prosperity and stability of developing countries''
LONDON, UK - 03/26/04 - Political corruption holds back the global economy and undermines the potential for sustainable development in poor countries, says the Global Corruption Report 2004 recently published by Transparency International (TI), a privately-funded, non-governmental corruption monitoring group.
The abuse of power for political gains affects taxpayers and shareholders worldwide and "deprives the most needy of vital public services, creating a level of despair that breeds conflict and violence" in developing countries, the report says.
Corrupt funding of political parties and candidates, it goes on to say, "has been at the center of many political scandals in recent years. Although governments have political tools to deal with the problem, most of them have failed to create strong safeguards."
Political corruption "undermines the hopes for prosperity and stability of developing countries, and damages the global economy," said Peter Eigen, chairman of Transparency International (TI), during the recent launch of the report.
"The abuse of political power for private gain deprives the most needy of vital public services, creating a level of despair that breeds conflict and violence. It also hits the pockets of taxpayers and shareholders worldwide. The problem," he said, "must be tackled at the national and international level."
The report includes analyses of the regulation of political finance, the disclosure of money flows into politics, and the repatriation of wealth looted by politicians, as well as assessments of the state of corruption in 34 countries and recent international developments that might affect their stance toward corruption.
In addition, the report includes TI's standards for transparency in political and campaign finance.
Eigen said the report calls for bringing integrity and accountability into governance, stopping bribery by multinational companies, and curbing the flow of stolen assets into secret foreign bank accounts.
He chided multilateral financial institutions and donor governments that, he said, "must work with developing-country governments that demonstrate the political will to fight corruption."
One of the report's more interesting components is its ranking of political leaders of developing countries who, over the past several decades, have allegedly embezzled huge amounts of money from developmental funds provided by entities such as the International Monetary Fund, the Asia Development Bank, and other entities.
Who snarfed up the most from the cash trough?
According to the report, the Corrupt Top 10 are: (Name, country, years in power, estimates of funds alledgedly embezzled - in billions (B) or millions (M), and GDP)
1.)??? Mohamed Suharto, Indonesia, 1967-1998, $15B to $35B, $695
2.)??? Ferdinand Marcos, the Philippines, 1972-1986, $5B to $10B, $912
3.)??? Mobutu Sese Seko, Zaire, 1965-1997, $5B, $99
4.)??? Sani Abacha, Nigeria, 1993-1998, $3 to $5, $319
5.)??? Slobodan Milosevic, Serbia/Yugoslavia, 1989-2000, $1B, n/a
6.)??? Jean-Claude "Papa Doc" Duvalier, Haiti, 1971-1986, $300M'to ????????????? $800M, $460
7.)??? Alberto Fujimori, Peru, 1990-2000, $600M, $2,000
8.)??? Pavlo Lazarenko, Ukraine, 1996-1997, $114M to $200M, $765.
9.)??? Arnoldo Alemᮬ Nicaragua, 1997-2002, $100M, $490
10.)? Joseph Estrada, the Philippines, 1998-2000, $78M to $80M, $912
TI recently launched its Standards on Political Finance and Favors (SPFF) matrix, setting out a blueprint for transparency in political and campaign finance "in a year that sees key elections in countries where political corruption has been a persistent problem" - namely, Indonesia and the Philippines.
Among others, the SPFF recommends that donations to political parties and candidates to elected office "must not be a means to gain personal or policy favors, and that governments must implement adequate conflict-of-interest legislation; that political parties, candidates and politicians "should be required to disclose detailed information about assets, donations, in-kind donations, loans and expenditure, on an annual basis as well as before and after elections, to an independent agency;" and that independent public oversight bodies "endowed with the necessary resources effectively supervise the observance of regulatory laws and measures."
The highlights of the entire 2004 Global Corruption Report can be viewed at http://www.transparency.org
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