In May, the Italian energy plant Eni discovered around ten trillion cubic feet of natural gas off the shore of Mozambique, increasing the estimated reserves of Mozambican gas above 50 trillion cubic feet. This discovery placed the East African nation in the spotlight of economic development and energy production. On the other hand, Mozambique’s new intra-regional competition with Kenya and Tanzania, investment by Europeans, and lack of solid economic foundations create the possibility of corruption. Therefore, as the country enjoys a boost to its GDP, only an effective, transparent control of finances will ensure a parallel benefit to its population.
According to the Associated Press, worldwide natural gas consumption is expected to rise 17% in the next five years, as China’s need for the resource will likely double. This dramatic increase indicates the potential volatility of the non-renewable resource and the finances behind it, as scarcity will eventually inflate the gas’s price and the income of its harvesters:
The Department of Good News brought us a great story today. The Thomson Reuters Foundation – who, among other things, run the good governance, non-profit journalism outlet TrustLaw – has hired Stella Dawson to fill their new position of Special Corruption Correspondent. From the foundations’ press release:
Dawson has reported for more than 20 years on international economics, banking and monetary policy for Reuters from Chicago, Washington, New York, London and Frankfurt. As Global Editor for Economics and Markets between 2007 and 2010, she played a leading role in shaping Reuters news coverage of the credit crisis and the Great Recession.
She was named Reuters Treasury Journalist of the Year in 2005 and has won UPI awards for feature reporting and breaking news. Her coverage of corruption in Virginia led to the criminal conviction of a county chief executive. She also is an experienced radio and television journalist, and appears on the BBC, NPR, CSPAN and CNBC. Stella is seconded from Reuters to the Foundation for two years.
Its great to see a talented journalist being added to an organization like TrustLaw. We need more experienced, smart people to hold officials accountable. The even better news is that Ms. Dawson was hired as part of a larger initiative to organize a “worldwide network of freelance journalists focused on bringing good governance themes to life.” We’ve seen a lot of these organizations pop up lately – notable 100Reporters, who lists Task Force member Global Financial Integrity as a partner – and deliver some excellent reporting. We’ll be keeping an eye on this new development.
Sneaking Your Money Across Borders: Capital Flight On The Rise
International Business Times, June 4, 2012
TGEG, The City Of San Fernando, and the Bishop
PRWeb (Press Release), June 7, 2012
Oil Giants Launch Bribe Probes
The Wall Street Journal, June 6, 2012
North Africa: U.S. State’s Fernandez On Transitioning Economies of the Arab Spring
All Africa, June 6, 2012
BIR sues supermarket operator for tax evasion
philSTAR.com (Philippines), June 7, 2012
In December of 2011, nearly a year after South Sudan voted overwhelmingly in favor of independence from its northern neighbor, I asked a very important question. Will South Sudan defy the resource curse?
The “resource curse” is the tragic phenomenon that countries well-endowed with natural resources tend to have slower economic growth and poorer development than those without. According to an analysis of developing countries by Jeffrey Sachs and Andrew Warner, the more an economy relies on mineral wealth, the lower its growth rate. Countries with significant natural resource endowments also tend to have an increased likelihood of experiencing war and violence and a decreased likelihood of having a democratic system of governance.
South Sudan faces many predispositions that make it susceptible to the curse. First and foremost it holds over 75% of what was the united country’s 500,000 barrels per day of crude oil output. As a new nation coming from 50 years of conflict and marginalization, South Sudan is exposed to a variety of other exacerbating factors, including weak, ineffectual institutions and government inefficiency and mismanagement. The country derives nearly 98% of its budget from oil, which is another red flag. A government which is dependent on oil revenue has little accountability to its citizens through taxation.
Now, nearly a month and a half since the article was published in the NY Times, many shareholders of Wal-Mart have displayed dissatisfaction. In a shareholders meeting on Friday, June 1, in Fayetteville, Arkansas, a vote for the Wal-Mart Board of Directors illustrated the rising disapproval of Wal-Mart’s actions.
Excluding votes from family and insider share holders, 32% of share holders voted against Wal-Mart CEO Mike Duke, 38% voted against former CEO Mike Scott and 31% voted against chairmen Rob Walton, the three top leaders of the company. With descendants of the Walton family owning nearly 50% of Wal-Mart shares, votes from activist shareholders are little more than protests. Wal-Mart spokesman, Dave Tovar, pointed this out in a press release from Monday, June 2, saying, “obviously a substantial majority of our shareholders supported their election.”
China steps up efforts to keep officials from leaving country
Los Angeles Times, June 6, 2012
Parliament awaits Najib’s explanation on Terasasi
Malaysia Kini, June 6, 2012
Tribunal faces rise in number of tax disputes
Financial Times (United Kingdom), June 5, 2012
Tanzania: Media, Police and TRA Curb Tax Evasion
Daily News (Tanzania), June 4, 2012
UK Tax Disputes Surge
Tax-News, June 6, 2012
Every other week, the Task Force highlights a Featured Allied Organization. The Task Force has more than 120 member organizations from all over the world which endorse its mission. The current featured Allied Organization is The Civil Association for Equality and Justice. To learn more about the Task Force Allied Organizations and to see a full list of our members please visit the Allied Organization webpage.
The Civil Association for Equality and Justice (Asociación Civil por la Igualdad y la Justicia, referred to as ACIJ by its Spanish acronym), is a Buenos Aires-based non-partisan, non-profit legal advocacy organization with local, national and regional initiatives. ACIJ dedicated to the defense of the rights of the most vulnerable groups in society while contributing to the strengthening of the democracy. Founded in 2002, the objectives of ACIJ are to defend the National Constitution and the principle of the rule of law, promote the eradication of all forms of discrimination and the proper enforcement of the laws that protect the marginalized sectors of society, as well as to contribute to the development of participatory practices and increase civic participation in the democracy.
The work of ACIJ includes actions at both the institutional and the grassroots level. To promote the effective adherence to laws protecting disadvantaged groups as well as to make positive policy changes in discriminatory laws and practices, ACIJ utilizes institutional strategies and tools such as civic and judicial activism and monitoring of government actions. Actions in strategic litigation, policy analysis and proposals, and budget analysis have been extremely successful. ACIJ also understands the need for community-based, bottom up solutions to legal and public policy shortfalls. To develop consciousness among citizens regarding their rights and to increase familiarity with channels available for their protection, ACIJ utilizes strategies of grassroots civic engagement and rights training. At this time ACIJ utilizes a diversified strategy to achieve its objectives in the following program areas: Community Legal Action, Rights and Community Building in Urban Slums, Educational Equality, Citizen Action and Anticorruption, and Strengthening of Democratic Institutions.
Column : Black money, white paper
The Financial Express (Op-Ed), June 5, 2012
NRB tightens grip on money laundering
Himalayan News Service
BIR assures Senate of AMLC agreement revision
Inquirer News (Philippines), June 4, 2012
Qatar to host meeting on anti-money laundering
Gulf Times (Qatar), June 4, 2012
GIABA organises workshop on Money Laundering and Combating Financial Terrorism
Ghana Web, May 31, 2012
Brazil’s Parliament is considering measures to eliminate tax havens. These havens are problematic for Brazil and other nations because they reduce tax revenues, hurting spending budgets. Brazil has 33 conventions and one agreement signed with countries for curtailing tax abuse. However, among them all, there are no provisions that require exchanges in financial information from the Cayman Islands, the Virgin Islands, or the Bahamas, among others. For those three jurisdictions alone, Brazil has a total estimated US $61.2 Billion of direct investment. Opaque systems such as this allow for large scale tax evasion. Brazil needs the financial transparency necessary to monitor activity moving in and out of tax havens.
Brazil can’t do it all alone. The global shadow financial system allows illicit money to move too easily around the world. International bodies, such as the G20, need to act if a country like Brazil is going to have a fighting chance. Working to solve these issues at the G20 level is the End Tax Haven Secrecy campaign. The campaign is comprised of 50 organizations across the world, including Task Force members Global Financial Integrity and Christian Aid, who work to end tax haven secrecy. Much of this campaign includes pushing for G20 support, influencing governments and legislation, as well as empowering populations. The following press release explains the campaign’s push for anti tax haven legislation as well as their participation in the End Tax Haven Secrecy Campaign.
World Bank Lauded for Publishing Sanctions Decisions
IPS News, June 3, 2012
Anti-graft activists press Indian gov’t for action
Associated Press, June 3, 2012
Blank paper on black money
India Monitor, June 3, 2012
Development is SA’s weak spot
Mail & Guardian (South Africa), June 1, 2012
U.S. Multinationals Lobby to Alter Tax Rules They Sought
Businessweek, June 4, 2012
The 2012 annual conference of the Task Force on Financial Integrity and Economic Development will take place at the Ramada Plaza Tunis in Gammarth, Tunisia, from October 17-18.
Illicit financial outflows from developing countries – which total around $1 trillion per year – undermine the tax base in poorer countries, eroding the accountability that is essential for good governance and global stability. Fiscal accountability is a key component of a well-functioning social contract, both of which have been absent in many countries in the Middle and North Africa (MENA) region, including Libya, Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen and Syria. MENA countries have experienced the highest average annual illicit outflows of any region: $146 billion. Establishing transparent financial systems helps secure democracy and avoids a return to authoritarian rule.
Speakers and panelists at this year’s conference will address a number of topics related to the implications of and solutions to the shadow financial system, including: country-by-country reporting, beneficial ownership of accounts, automatic exchange of tax information, curtailment of trade mispricing, and anti-money laundering. Breakout sessions will focus on stolen asset recovery, transparency in the oil sector, human consequences of financial opacity, and harnessing technology to increase transparency. The conference will conclude with a civil society workshop focused on conducting advocacy of the issues discussed at the conference. Together, speakers and participants will craft a public message to the MENA heads of state and the global community on how they can increase financial transparency to support the transition to greater accountability and prosperity.
The Failures of Our Economic System
Thought Economics, June 1, 2012
China key to elephants’ future in Africa – experts
The Star (Kenya), May 31, 2012
India, Bahrain Sign Pact Aimed At Curbing Tax Evasion
Bernama (Malaysia), June 1, 2012
Ease law on indirect transfers: Exempt transfers in overseas listed cos and give credit for taxes paid overseas
Economic Times, June 1, 2012
HMRC targets property rentals in tax evasion crackdown
Money Marketing (UK), June 1, 2012
December 5, 2013·
The FACT (Financial Accountability and Corporate Transparency) Coalition today praised Representative Lloyd Doggett (D-TX) and Representative Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) for the introduction ...
December 3, 2013·
Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index 2013 offers a warning that the abuse of power, secret dealings and bribery continue to ravage societies ...
November 25, 2013·
Some of the world’s most infamous secrecy jurisdictions, such as the British Virgin Islands and Jersey are considering becoming more transparent, whereas ...