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Brazil's World Cup investments fail transparency test

Source: Thomson Reuters Foundation - Fri, 9 Nov 2012 07:15 PM
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BRASILIA (TrustLaw) - The 12 Brazilian cities that will host World Cup soccer matches in 2014 are not providing enough information to the public on their infrastructure upgrades, making it difficult to assess whether they are corruption free, according to a Brazilian transparency watchdog.

Brazil plans to invest nearly $500 billion over the next four years in stadiums, highways and other infrastructure projects ahead of the World Cup and the Olympics in 2016, raising widespread concern over the potential for bribery in public contracting.

Brazil’s Ethos Institute said in releasing its transparency index on Friday that no city received a strong score in accountability.  The best were Belo Horizonte in the south east of the country and Porto Alegre in the far south, yet each only received a medium score of 48 out of 100. The city of Ciuaba in the west of the country received the lowest score with just 10.

Sao Paulo, the nation’s largest city and its financial centre, Rio de Janeiro and the capital Brasilia all scored below 20, Ethos said.

The Local Administration Transparency Index,  launched at the International Anti-Corruption Conference (IACC) in Brasilia, is part of a government-backed Brazilian initiative called ‘Logos Limpos’ or ‘clean games,’  which aims to monitor public spending in order to reduce the risk of corruption in the run-up to the sporting events.

Ethos used 93 different transparency indicators, which are based on four questions -- Are there information channels about the World Cup investments, are they effective, do they provide all the necessary information, and do they allow for social participation, said Paulo Itacarambi, vice president of Ethos Institute, at a news conference.  

The questionnaires were sent to the city halls of the 12 hosting cities just weeks after Brazil enforced its General Law of Access to Information. The law gives public officials a maximum of 30 days to respond to information requests from the Brazilian public.

All public expenditure in Brazil must, by law, be catalogued on a public government website such as those hosted by the senate and the Office of the Comptroller General. As a result, some cities questioned whether they needed to replicate that information on a webpage dedicated to the World Cup, Itacarambi added.

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