Activists and business leaders call for an end to corruption

Activists and business leaders call for an end to corruption

Today, leading voices from the corporate world, academia, and activists who have risked their lives fighting for the truth, added their voices to the call for governments to finally take bold action to root-out corruption.

Trillion_Dollar_Petition

This May, Prime Minister David Cameron will host the world’s first Anti-Corruption Summit. Expectations are high. Bold and decisive measures are needed if governments attending the Summit are to put their own houses in order and close-the loopholes that continue to facilitate corruption.  But, success is not guaranteed; the threat of inertia is very real and some leaders may opt for the easy-way out and come to London to simply restate old pledges that have so far failed to deliver sufficient change. This would be a massive own goal for governments, and a missed opportunity to take action that could really help in the fight against poverty.

Developing countries lose a trillion dollars every year due to money laundering, dodgy deals and illegal tax evasion. If these funds could stay in developing countries some of this money could be taxed; investing even a slice of these funds in basic health and education services could help fight poverty and preventable disease.

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Signatories to the letter have called on governments attending the summit to sign up to a new blueprint for tackling corruption – a Fair Play Standard. This new standard includes the most effective policies for fighting corruption:

  1. Allow the  public to know who owns and profits from companies, trusts and other legal entities
  2. Tighten the rules to stop corrupt money being spent on property and luxury goods.
  3. Require banks and businesses to find out who they’re dealing with, and report it if they come across shell companies or dodgy practices.
  4. Require companies buying oil, gas and minerals, and those in the defence and construction sectors to make details of their payments to any government, on any project, available to the public.
  5. Demand companies reveal how much tax they pay in every country they do business in.
  6. All government contracting processes around the world should be open.
  7. All government budgets around the world should be available for anyone to view.
  8. Corruption hunters should have access to timely, comparable and relevant open data on the issues above as well as the technology that will allow them to work effectively.

The missing ingredient now is the political will. Corruption hurts us all – but it hurts the poorest most. Leaders must do everything in their power to stop it; turning a blind-eye would be inexcusable in its complicity.

Will you help us end the Trillion Dollar Scandal? Take action today!

The letter reads:

Sir,

Global corruption in all its forms, from looting state budgets to laundering money, is one of the most unjust, corrosive and dangerous issues of our time.

Corruption is a punitive tax on business, inhibiting job creation and prosperity. It fuels support for extremism and facilitates terrorist financing, making our world a more dangerous place. It erodes trust in our police, our courts and our politicians, making our world less just and fair. It doesn’t just hinder economies – it prevents people from reaching their true potential.

Corruption diverts precious government resources away from schools, hospitals and other essential services, and locks people into poverty. An estimated $1 trillion is siphoned out of developing countries each year through money laundering and dodgy deals – money that could generate tax revenues to invest in fighting poverty, stimulating growth and creating jobs.

We urge delegates of the Anti-Corruption Summit in London on May 12th agree to these eight steps:

  • The public should know who owns and profits from companies, trusts and other legal entities.
  • We need tighter rules to stop corrupt money being spent on property and luxury goods.
  • Banks and businesses should be required to find out who they’re dealing with, and report it if they come across shell companies or dodgy practices.
  • Companies buying oil, gas and minerals, and those in the defence and construction sectors must make details of their payments to any government, on any project, available to the public.
  • Companies should reveal how much tax they pay in every country they do business in.
  • All government contracting processes around the world should be open.
  • All government budgets around the world should be available for anyone to view.
  • Corruption hunters should have access to timely, comparable and relevant open data on the issues above as well as the technology that will allow them to work effectively.

Taken together, these steps will help create a new international norm – a Fair Play Standard – which will focus our efforts to stamp out corruption. Looking the other way is no longer an option. We must act together with courage, ambition and urgency to put an end to this scourge and make our world a fairer place.

Signed

Baroness Valerie Amos

Paul Polman
CEO, Unilever

George Soros
Chairman, Open Society Foundations

Bob Collymore
CEO, Safaricom

Mo Ibrahim
Mo Ibrahim Foundation

Winnie Byanyima
Executive Director, Oxfam

Sir Paul Collier
Oxford University

Bono

José Ugaz
Chair, Transparency International

Dominic McVey
Entrepreneur

John Githongo
AntiCorruption
Campaigner

Guilherme Leal
CoFounder,
Natura Cosméticos

Bob Geldof

Eloise Todd
Global Policy Director, ONE Campaign

Rakesh Rajani
Ford Foundation

Gillian Caldwell
CEO, Global Witness

Martin Tisne
Omidyar Network

Caroline KendeRobb
Executive Director, Africa Progress Panel

Sarah Chayes
Author, Thieves of State

Peter Ward
ICE BT

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