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Corruption affects millions of people, and is deeply linked to inequality and underdevelopment around the world. Yet rooting out corruption should not just be the priority and duty of the developing country. Countries like the UK have a major role to play.

The second iteration of the Defence Companies Anti-Corruption Index (CI), from Transparency International’s Defence and Security Programme, was launched on Monday 27 April. Last Thursday, we held an event to discuss the index findings and some of the broader issues surrounding corruption in the defence sector.

We’re delighted that Katherine Dixon will be joining us as our new Programme Director in the spring. We sat down with her to discuss her new role and her vision for the Defence and Security Programme in the years ahead.

Earlier this month, a Cabinet Office spokesman in the Lords said it would be “highly undesirable” for the Iraq Inquiry report to be released in the three months before the general election – meaning the document we have already been waiting three years for may have to wait until the next parliament.

The Government announced last year that it would publish its first-ever National Anti-Corruption Action Plan. Since TI first proposed this idea five years ago, we have been arguing that the Government should draw up such a plan, and we are delighted that it is now happening.

Andrew Feinstein talks about the TI-UK Defence and Security Programme’s new report, ‘Watchdogs?’, and what legislators and civil society can do to address oversight of the defence sector.

 

It was once said that Parliament is nothing less than a big meeting of more of less idle people. In proportion as you give it power it will inquire into everything, settle everything, meddle in everything. But does this apply when talking parliaments and their curbing of corruption in defence and security?

If defence establishments generally lack anti-corruption systems, why do the public in many countries still view them in a relatively positive light?

Yesterday, the British ‘businessman’ James McCormick was found guilty of fraud for selling millions of pounds worth of utterly useless bomb detectors to governments around the world, including a major contract in Iraq.

What do a cafeteria, a cleaning service company, a pasta factory, a slaughterhouse, and a resort in Egypt have in common? They are all quite possibly owned by the country’s military. And although everybody knows this, the detail of the defence budget is the biggest secret in town: literally. Ninety-nine per cent of the defence budget in Egypt is not disclosed. Whereas many defence establishments shield themselves from public scrutiny under the guise of national security, secrecy in this case serves to cover the huge profits made by the Egyptian military.

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