The Anticorruption Business Council (ABC) is a non-profit that works to consolidate the efforts of all stakeholders, including government, to fight against corruption in Kyrgyzstan. ABC co-founded SME Investor Attractiveness (SIA), focusing on improving foreign investor protection in the Kyrgyz SME sector. TrustLaw connected the SIA with lawyers at Ashurst and Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom to produce a memorandum explaining how fraud is generally investigated and the mechanisms used to enforce regulation and punish those found guilty of defrauding investors.
We asked ABC’s Neesh Chand about his experience working with lawyers around the world. Here’s what we had to say:
What is the impact of corruption in a country like Kyrgyzstan?
Corruption affects economic development. From the foreign investment perspective, corruption deters investment, which affects job creation and tax revenues for government. Lower tax revenues mean lower salary for civil servants and less funding for infrastructure development, education and other important sectors. Ultimately, corruption affects the general public.
How did this project help ABC to achieve its mission to improve foreign investor confidence?
We are now working closely with the GSBEP (Kyrgyz financial police) to identify international best practices that can be implemented in Kyrgyzstan. One example already identified is the importance of considering different sources of evidence and not just relying on official documentary evidence which can be inaccurate or insufficient in fraud cases. Implementation is being tested on an actual case involving a foreign investor facing difficulties. At the end of the case, a case study will be written and distributed. Showing real life examples of what is being done to improve investor protection is a step towards increasing investor confidence.
What was it like working with lawyers?
Initially we thought that it might be challenging for lawyers from three global law firms, based in different locations, to produce a memo that was consistent, comparable and easy for non-lawyers to understand. Our concerns were unjustified. The three memos were of a high standard. They addressed the issue clearly and were written in ‘user friendly’ language. All three firms managed the process very professionally, arranging regular conference calls and providing updates. The memos exceeded our expectations. Furthermore, all the lawyers had good attitude and were fun to work with. Lawyers can be fun people!
This project has been nominated for the 2014 TrustLaw Impact Award. Learn more about the TrustLaw Awards.