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ON THE MONEY TRAIL: Corruption in the news - Jan. 9

Source: Thomson Reuters Foundation - Wed, 9 Jan 2013 14:07 GMT
Author: TrustLaw
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Round-up of news reports on corruption from the world's media

BEIJING - A revolt among Chinese journalists has spread to a second newspaper amid mounting public anger over heavy-handed government censorship, the Financial Times reports. The Beijing News refused a request from censors to republish a propaganda editorial that criticised Guangdong-based Southern Weekend for fighting against censorship. That refusal reportedly led to a showdown in the newsroom between a municipal propaganda official and the Beijing News editor. The mounting controversy over censorship – in which high-profile commentators and film stars have flocked to support the journalists – is the first full-blown political crisis faced by the administration of new Communist Party leader Xi Jinping. 

KAMPALA - The fight against institutionalised graft is set to step up a notch as parliamentarians who want forfeiture of ill-gotten gains brought in under Uganda’s 2009 Anti-Corruption Act received the government’s go-ahead to assess its budgetary impact – a prerequisite for adopting the amendment. The New Vision website reports that the development comes at a time when a number of donor countries have turned off Uganda’s aid taps, citing a scam in the Office of the Prime Minister where aid funds meant for reconstruction programmes in Northern Uganda were allegedly swindled. 

NEW YORK - Larry Seabrook, a pillar of Bronx politics for nearly three decades, has been sentenced to five years in prison in a corruption case, The New York Times reports. Seabrook automatically lost his City Council seat in July after he was convicted of orchestrating a broad scheme to funnel hundreds of thousands of dollars in city money to friends, relatives and a girlfriend through a network of nonprofit groups he controlled. Seabrook, 61, was also ordered to pay $620,000 in restitution to New York City.

RICHMOND, South Africa - African National Congress (ANC) members need to be vigilant against corruption, which attracts negative attention to the party, ANC Secretary-General Gwede Mantashe said on Tuesday. Business Day Live reports that he told a rally in southern KwaZulu-Natal: "Corruption is a terrible thing. It’s a leakage. It destroys countries." If corrupt practices are not dealt with, the ANC will end up "eating itself up slowly to the end", he added. The ANC has decided to increase the probation period for new members from two to six months, as part of its plan to inculcate a culture of good ethics.

READING, England - Eight people have been charged following a long-running investigation into corruption and other offences at the Halifax Bank of Scotland (HBOS) branch in the British town of Reading. Two former employees of HBOS – rescued by Lloyds during the 2008 banking crisis – along with six others were charged over business loans worth around £35 million, the Guardian reports.

KOLKATA - The amount of money Bangladeshi households pay in bribes has more than doubled compared to two years ago, according to a recent report cited by Deutsche Welle. Of the 7,906 households questioned in a National Household Survey, 63.7 percent said they had needed to pay bribes for government services. Although the estimated amount of petty bribery paid in the service sector more than doubled in the past two years, the total number of bribery cases in the country dropped, the survey found.

TALINN - The Council of Europe’s Group of States against Corruption (GRECO) has released an evaluation report calling on Estonia to sharpen its corruption prevention policy with regard to Members of Parliament (MPs), judges and prosecutors, the New Europe news website reports.

NEW YORK - In separate reports, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development said Austria’s enforcement of its anti-bribery laws is “far too weak”, while it criticised the Netherlands for “failing to vigorously pursue foreign bribery allegations” and said Spain’s enforcement of its foreign bribery laws has been “extremely low”, the Wall Street Journal reports.

JAKARTA - In a bid to combat the use of sex as a form of bribery, Indonesia’s Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) plans to formulate a rule to regulate the practice, the Jakarta Post reports. Many institutions are in doubt as to whether sexual favours constitute bribery because the 2001 law on corruption eradication only mentions bribery of monetary value, KPK deputy chairman Adnan Pandu Praja told the newspaper.

TAIPEI - Foxconn Technology Group has said Chinese authorities are investigating allegations that at least one executive accepted bribes from suppliers, Bloomberg reports. The statement came after Taipei-based weekly Next Magazine reported that a Foxconn executive was arrested in Shenzhen in September as part of a bribery probe. The group confirmed that authorities are investigating the allegations, and said employees and suppliers are awaiting the results.


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