First Look

More corruption now globally than 20 years ago

National Integrity Action Limited | 2015-03-18 00:00:00

Mr. José Ugaz, chair of Transparency International (TI), the global anti-corruption organisation promoting integrity in more than 100 countries, says there is more corruption now on a global scale than when the organization had its genesis two decades ago.

Mr. Ugaz, who was in Jamaica to participate in a number of activities, including the signing of the agreement with National Integrity Action - formally accrediting NIA as a full chapter of Transparency International, likened corruption to cancer and said that efforts to fight this disease were seriously impacted by organised crime. He cited more money – billions rather than millions of dollars – and more power, as twin evils, defined the new phenomenon of ‘grand corruption’ and indicated that Transparency International had established a ‘No Impunity’ taskforce to more effectively challenge this new and dangerous form of corruption.

“We are going to be speaking loudly, naming names and taking legal action,” he declared to a gathering of newly-inducted NIA members at the Jamaica Pegasus hotel in Kingston on Sunday, March 15, 2015.

In the Latin American region, Ugaz disclosed that there were unprecedented levels of corruption in countries such as Brazil, which was reeling from the multi-billion-dollar Petrobras bribery scandal; Panama, where the former President had a total of $1.2 billion unaccounted for and which could rise to $5 billion; Chile, where the son of the President recently quit as head of a state charity over accusations of influence peddling; and Argentina whose president, and her late husband, Néstor Kirchner - who preceded her as president – are both accused of enriching themselves during a dozen years in power.

Mr. Ugaz declared that Transparency International had vowed to step up the fight against grand corruption, which is a form of corruption so grave and with effects on human life, human rights and human welfare so catastrophic that they should shock the conscience of the international community and mobilize the will of nations to act across borders.

Mr. Ugaz, who is a Peruvian lawyer, has a history of taking on grand corruption. According to Transparency International’s website, Ugaz prosecuted several top-level corruption cases as Peru’s ad-hoc state attorney. Most notably, he was instrumental in the corruption case against former Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori and Vladimiro Montesinos, the former head of the country’s intelligence services.

In a recent interview, the Transparency International chair stated: “There is still too much corruption out there, and we want to see much more being done about it. We must address the way the corrupt are getting away with it, unmasking them, drawing attention to corrupt schemes such as the abuse of offshore companies, impeding their enjoyment of ill-gotten gains - travelling freely and leading a life of luxury - while the poor have to pay their bills.”


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