Omaid Sharifi on corruption on Afghanistan

IACC Young Journalist Ryan Hicks spoke to Omaid Sharifi about the situation in Afghanistan with regards to corruption, the key players and issues, and the role of youth and media in fighting corruption.

Omaid Sharifi is the Country Representative for Afghanistan at the International Center for Democratic Transition. He is also the founder of the White Ribbon Movement. Follow him on Twitter at @OmaidSharifi

Shot on location in Brasilia, November 2012.
Camera & Production: Parker Mah
Editing: Ryan Hicks & Parker Mah

Garzón, the last exile from spanish dictatorship

When newspapers in your host country only mention Spain to talk about its crisis, its evictions, cuts and corruption of its politicians, seeing an audience of 140 nationalities cheering Baltasar Garzon was like a reconciliation with my country.

The judge answered questions raised by the public, received books, had his picture taken and answered dozens of reporters- even while having a broken voice due to a virus. In Spain, however, he cannot practice his profession and although for a large segment of society he is a hero, the rest think of him as a villain.

His order to wiretap leaders of the largest network of corruption linked to a political party ended his career. Garzón does not fear saying that the dismissal process was “arbitrary, unfair” and “irregular” and said he will take Spain to the European Court of Human Rights after the Constitutional Court rejected his appeal for protection.

Baltasar Garzón

The judge also criticized Spain for the barriers imposed while he was preparing to investigate the offshore accounts of over a hundred other participants. The diversion of money to offshore territories was one of the claims of his speech. “It is unacceptable that after 10 years of discussion within the European Union, there has been no agreement on such systems. Perhaps the explanation is that, in one way or another, the European Union countries are the most related to transactions and operations in tax heavens.”

Among his claims, he proposed an amendment to laws in order to better facilitate the fight against corruption by the judiciary. Garzón said that corruption is not configured as a crime, but the crime lies in behavior relating to it. Thus arose the need for corruption to be considered a crime under international jurisdiction.

“It is increasingly clear linking corruption and transnational serious facts within the jurisdiction of the international court,” he said. “Genocide crimes, drug trafficking, piracy …. In all of them there are elements of corruption and any judge of any country should have an obligation to investigate.”

“Corruption is itself a major crime category and therefore should have no difficulty to contemplate corruption within the international jurisdiction but there is lack of political intention,” he said.

Garzón, who is representing Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, now begins a series of trips through Latin America. He had to leave Spain (he describes himself as the “last exile from Franco) but his corruption lessons now resonate in the rest of the world.

Photo: © http://www.presidencia.gov.ar/

The Next Step: Dirty Money

Throughout the International Anti-Corruption Conference, we’ll post exclusive interviews about what happens after the workshops and panels are over. We’ll look at what was accomplished and what strategies participants can actually take back to their countries to fight corruption.

One of the major obstacles to fighting corruption is dirty money and illicit financial flows. How do institutions restore people’s trust? And what key measures are needed to make sure transparency is rooted in the world of money.

After their panel, Patrick Alley, co-founder of Global Witness and Nicholas Shaxon, investigative journalist and author, joined me to talk about the next steps needed to curtail the flow of dirty money.

The Next Step: Corruption & Change in the Arab Region

Throughout the International Anti-Corruption Conference, we’ll post exclusive interviews about what happens after the workshops and panels are over. We’ll look at what was accomplished and what strategies participants can actually take back to their countries to fight corruption.

On this episode of The Next Step we look at corruption and transformation in the Arab region. Panelists and participants shared a variety of perspectives and there was a lot of debate, reflecting the complicated nature of the region post-Arab Spring.

After the session, we caught up with two people who’ve been in the thick of the region’s historic change: Mona Salem, Social Contract Centre (Egypt) and Abdulnabi Alekry, Bahrain Transparency Society.

Produced by Ryan Hicks and Manuel Medina

There’s Ugly Players in the Beautiful Game

By: Yolaan Begbie, David Klaubert and Manuel Medina

On 30 October 2007, Sepp Blatter announced Brazil would host the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Brazilians celebrated – the beautiful game would return to their beautiful country more than six decades since they hosted it in 1950.

Drago Kos: “I’m sure the bad guys are very happy Brazil will host the World Cup…” Picture by Virginie Nguyen

But while new stadiums are being built, and teams are training hard, there are others silently celebrating and preparing too. “I’m sure the bad guys are very happy Brazil will host the World Cup…” warns Drago Kos, International Commissioner at the Independent Joint Anti-Corruption Monitoring and Evaluation Committee in Afghanistan. The bad guys he’s referring to are not the soccer hooligans synonymous with the games. We’re talking criminals – men and women who operate a sophisticated syndicate to cash in on the multi-billion dollar event – or in this case, events with the Olympic Games also coming to the country in 2016. “When they send their infrastructure to the World Cup they just have to wait a few years for Olympics.” As a retired FIFA referee, Kos is familiar with the ugly side. He’s dealt with attempts of bribery before and knows just how intricate the network of these bad guys are. What is needed, he says, is a group devoted to sharing information about these illegal networks – not only during the World Cup, but now.

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