News 15th Sep 2020

A Year in the Fight Against Corruption

Daniel Bruce

Chief Executive

Daniel joined Transparency International UK as Chief Executive in October 2019. He is an experienced senior leader in international charities, previously serving as Chief Executive of the press freedom and media development organisation Internews.

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By Daniel Bruce

Transparency International UK’s new impact report reveals why the fight against corruption is as critical as ever.

I am delighted to launch Transparency International UK’s latest Impact Report.

The world’s attention has been rightly focused on the Coronavirus pandemic and its devastating consequences in lives lost and economic impact for the last six months. Yet it has become clear that the opportunities for corruption have also soared in these unprecedented times.

Our work at Transparency International UK has never felt more relevant. Normal procurement checks and balances have been eased to respond rapidly to demand leading to cases of equipment unfit for purpose. The race to find new treatments and vaccines has already thrown up potentially dangerous examples of data manipulation and a lack of transparency. Massive sums have been paid out in fiscal stimulus often with few checks, and governments around the world enact wide-ranging laws in the name of the pandemic.

While much of our work this year was conceived before the pandemic took hold, it raises key issues and offers solutions to fight corruption and lack of transparency in a post-Covid, post-Brexit world.

Our Impact Highlights in the last year include:

  • At Your Service: our report laid bare how Britain’s professional and business services, from law firms and PR companies to private schools and estate agents, play a key role in embedding dirty money into the country.
  • Key advocacy successes in the last 12 months include the Crown Dependencies and the Cayman Islands announcing they will adopt public registers of company ownership so that the corrupt cannot hide behind shell companies, and the Chancellor introducing a levy on banks and other regulated companies to fund policing of economic crime.
  • As businesses looked to build new supply chains often in high risk markets, we provided critical anti-bribery and corruption guidance and training to companies, helping them to navigate an increasingly tricky landscape.
  • Open Business: Our report outlined an easy to follow roadmap for corporate transparency to reduce corruption risk, build consumer confidence and enhance reputation.
  • Our Defence and Security programme continued to expose the risk of corruption in the sector and highlighted how that vulnerability has been exacerbated by the pandemic.
  • Our Government Defence Integrity Index (GDI) delivered disturbing assessments of corruption risks in 21 countries across West Africa, the Middle East and North Africa.
  • We supported nationally led action in defence sector corruption in countries including Tunisia, Nigeria and Mali.
  • Transparency International Defence and Security became an official subject matter expert to NATO on mitigating corruption risk in conflict management.
  • With health care procurement a key target for corruption during the pandemic, we worked to make global procurement more transparent through our Health Initiative’s Open Contracting for Health project, focusing on Uganda, Zambia, Nepal, Kenya and South Africa.

What we have learnt this year, is that we can’t afford to take our foot off the pedal when it comes to fighting corruption, regardless of the emergencies and crises that face us.

There is still so much more to do to achieve our goal of a world free from corruption and a world that is more equitable for everyone. I hope you enjoy our report and that you will support us in the coming year.

Read the new Impact Report here.