2013 Activities

Palestine’s status good in comparison to Arab countries, but still concerning , Cost of corruption in international defense and security is $20 billion a year

Palestine’s status good in comparison to Arab countries, but still concerning , Cost of corruption in international defense and security is $20 billion a year

Ramallah/London: January 29, 2013 – Transparency International’s International Defense and Security Index on the role of governments in preventing and fighting corruption launched yesterday and which AMAN contributed to, shows that half of the countries do not disclose their defense budgets.

The report pointed to a waste of public funds by nine countries given their lack of tools to prevent corruption in the defense sector. This is the first index for fighting corruption in this sector, published by the Defense and Security Program, TI-UK in cooperation with a number of TI organizations. The report showed that two-thirds of the major arms importers and half of the major countries that import arms characterize their control tools for security and defense as weak.

The report, based on the index, shows a high risk of corruption in nine countries which are: Algeria, Angola, Cameron, Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Eretria, Libya, Syria and Yemen, whereby these countries lack the basic mechanisms such as control tools that would enable accountability. This means that providing an institutional nature to mechanisms for fighting corruption in this sector was almost impossible. Furthermore, the index showed that that the risk of corruption in South America and Eastern Europe was less pervasive because of effective control tools in the field of supervision, controls and social accountability in addition to auditing.

The index analyses the measures taken in 82 countries to reduce the risk of corruption. These countries comprised 94% of the global military expenditures in 2011, or US$1.6 trillion. The countries were categorized into six groups. The first group had a very low corruption risk and included only two countries: Germany and Australia.

The second group of seven countries: Austria– Norway - South Korea – Sweden– Taiwan - the UK- the US, was characterized as low risk.

The third group consists of 16 countries: Argentina- Brazil – Bulgaria – Chile – Columbia– Croatia - the Czech Republic – France – Greece – Hungary – Italy- Japan-Latvia- Poland- Slovakia- Spain, which is at moderate risk for corruption.

The fourth group has a high corruption risk and includes most (30) of the 82 countries: Bosnia Herzegovina – Cyprus – India – Israel- Kenya – Kuwait – Lebanon – Mexico– Nepal – Serbia – Singapore – South Africa – Thailand – Ukraine – United Arab Emirates – Bangladesh – Belarus – China – Georgia – Ghana – Jordan – Kazakhstan– Malaysia – Pakistan – Palestine – Russia – Rwanda – Tanzania – Turkey, which are all subject to high risk for corruption.

The fifth group, which is characterized by being at a very high risk for corruption is comprised of 18 countries: Afghanistan– Bahrain – Ivory Coast – Indonesia– Iran – Iraq – Morocco– Nigeria – Oman – Philippines– Qatar – Saudi Arabia – Sri Lanka – Tunisia– Uganda – Uzbekistan – Venezuela - Zimbabwe

The sixth group was characterized by having a critical level of corruption risk and is comprised of nine countries: Algeria– Angola – Cameron – the Democratic Republic of Congo – Egypt– Eretria – Libya– Syria and Yemen.

The absence of the Palestinian Legislative Council has negatively impacted the integrity of the Palestinian security sector

Dr. Azmi Shuaibi, commissioner of AMAN (TI-Palestine) indicated that the absence of the PLC’s role and the continued Israeli occupation has weakened any effective control system in Palestinian security institutions, which ultimately led to Palestine being categorized along with countries whose security institutions may be subject to corruption. This is in spite of the fact that Palestine, along with Jordan, fell into a better category compared to other Arab countries after Kuwait, Lebanon, and the UAE. All the other Arab countries (Iraq, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Syria and Yemen) were placed in lower categories than Palestine.

The groups range from low risk (first group) to critical risk (group six) based on a detailed assessment of 77 indicators which include five main fields of risk which are: political, financial, human resources, operations and procurements.

According to Mark Pyman, Director of Defence and Security Programme Transparency International UK: “Corruption in defense is dangerous, divisive and

wasteful, and the cost is paid by citizens, soldiers, companies and governments. Yet the majority of governments do too little to prevent it, leaving numerous opportunities to hide corruption away from public scrutiny and waste money that could be better spent.”
TI calls on governments to make this sector, which is usually guised in secrecy and which includes large general contracts, more transparent. Defense institutions are also called on to encourage the public’s access to information regarding defense budgets and procurements. Legislators should also acquire more effective control tools to monitor this sector, which will then enable them to acquire the means for eliminating corruption.
Transparency International estimates the global cost of corruption in this sector to be no less than US$20 billion a year according to data from the World Bank and from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, which is equivalent to the overall sum pledged by the G8 countries to fight world hunger.

Modest control at the political level and absence of transparency regarding information and budgets

The index showed that only 15% of governments have ever carried out comprehensive, effective and responsible monitoring over defense policies while it also showed that 45% of countries have modest means of monitoring or none at all over defense policies; 50% have the minimum level of monitoring on defense procurements.

The study also showed that citizens are not usually allowed to obtain basic information about the defense sector and half of the defense budgets lack full transparency or only include a small amount of information. Citizens in 70% of the countries are not allowed to obtain basic indicators on the amount of money spent by their governments on secret files.

According to Dr. Oliver Cover, the principal author of this study, “this Index shows unequivocally that there is a severe risk of corruption in this sector. Our index will help everyone to understand and address the risks. Our report will give them practical solutions to achieve transparency. Doing so will save the lives of troops and citizens—and governments billions of dollars.”

AMAN discusses recommendations with Palestinian parties

Dr. Azmi Shuaibi added that AMAN will soon hold a meeting with security service officials, heads of factions and the PLC’s security and interior committee to discuss the report regarding the challenges and recommendations for the Palestinian security sector. This is in order to make the necessary decisions and devise mechanisms to close the gaps and overcome the deficiencies indicated in the report.