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Digest Article Search
Page 1 of 23
Yemen’s president restructures armed forces
Copyright: CNN, 20th December, 2013
President Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi has ordered a major restructuring of Yemen's military. The elite republican guard and the first armoured division will be absorbed into the country's Defense Ministry. "Yemen will head in the right direction with this restructuring of the armed forces and the ending of the contentious divisions in the military," said an anonymous Yemeni government official.
Read full article: http://edition.cnn.com/2012/12/19/world/meast/yemen-military/?hpt=wo_c2
Honduras congress passes law to purge police corruption
Copyright: Reuters TrustLaw, 19th December, 2013
Following a row that resulted in the dismissal of four Supreme Court judges, the Honduran government passed a law aimed at cracking down on the country’s highly militarised and controversial police force. The law seeks to weed out corrupt members of the police force by requiring officers to take lie detector tests, drug screenings, and to provide details about their personal wealth before being allowed to keep their posts.
Rio arrests 63 police in corruption crackdown
Copyright: Reuters, 4th December, 2013
With the promise of the international spotlight growing brighter, Brazil has closed a year-long bribery probe with the arrest of 63 police officers and 11 alleged drug traffickers. The charges faced by those arrested ranged from drug trafficking to kidnapping, and took place largely in the favelas, or slums, located on the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro. Low salaries are cited as a major impetus for police officers to become involved in criminal activity.
Indian Government Comptroller Slams Defense Offsets
Copyright: Aviation Week, 3rd December, 2013
A report by India’s Comptroller and Auditor General revealed that five major offsets contracts – worth up to USD 3 billion – did not follow India’s official defence procurement procedure. It was found that some companies simply invested the agreed upon sum into their wholly-owned subsidiaries based in India. In this instance, the money circulated within the company, never making it into domestic Indian industry.
Government support for arms exports challenged by MPs
Copyright: The Guardian, 28th November, 2013
The UK’s all-party parliamentary group (APPG) has called for a ban on the use of taxpayer money to support arms exports. It suggests the creation of a “prohibition list” of countries which should be refused sales of weapons from the UK. This is the result of an enquiry which delved into 40 years of UK’s arms exports. Via UK Export Finance, defence companies can obtain insurance and credit to help them export goods overseas when traditional lenders may be afraid to provide financing. Among the dodgy deals approved by UKEF (former ECGD), are £35m lent to Robert Mugabe to buy five BAE Hawk fighter jets for Zimbabwe between 1989 and 1992; and the Al Yamamah deal with Saudi Arabia, for which BAE has been investigated over alleged corruption.
DR Congo General sold arms to rebel groups
Copyright: Reuters, 21st November, 2013
A senior army commander with Congo’s Land Forces has been smuggling arms and ammunition to rebels which have been linked with widespread massacres according to a new UN report. Although the armed group that seized Goma recently is not amongst the recipients of these weapons, poachers and armed groups operating in other areas of the country have been linked to the commander’s illegal arms trade. According to the article, this smuggling—which is suspected to flow through Congolese capital Kinshasa to the east via a close network to the commander—is likely to result in pressure on President Joseph Kabila to push for reform in the sector.
German prosecutors think EADS paid bribes in Austria deal
Copyright: Reuters TrustLaw, 19th November, 2013
European defence giant EADS has been under the spotlight of German prosecutors, who are investigating alleged bribery in a USD 2 billion fighter jet deal with Austria amounting to at least USD 63.5 million. It all goes back to 2003 and the offsets deals promised by EADS, which were meant to generate twice the value of the deal for the Austrian economy. Allegations emerged back then that these investments were not bringing any money to the country, but only enlarging the pockets of politicians, civil servants and others. After raiding the German HQs of the company, German prosecutors claim that USD 91 million were paid by EADS to a shell company to arrange the offset deals, which in turn resulted in five brokers receiving at least USD 67 million euros between 2005 and 2008.
'Hong Kong, France join forces on Scorpene case'
Copyright: Free Malaysia Today, 23rd April, 2013
There have been new developments on the on-going French investigations into the Scorpene submarines deal with Malaysia. It has been announced that a list of kickbacks recipients will be released soon. All these bribes were paid by Terasasi, a Malaysian company based in Hong Kong which is involved in this procurement contract. The owner of the company, Abdul Razak Baginda, was acquitted in 2008 of the murder of Mongolian translator and lover Altantuya Shaariibuu in connection with the same case.
'Greek Ex-Minister Is Tried in Bribery Cover-Up Case'
Copyright: New York Times, 22nd April, 2013
Following an 8-year prison sentence for corruption in March, former Greek defence minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos has now denied the money laundering charges he is being tried for in a new trial, labelling them as “despicable”. He is being charged with devising a network to cover the millions of dollars in bribes he allegedly pocketed from defence deals whilst in power. His wife, daughter and 16 other aides are accused of participating in this scheme. Tsohatzopoulos has classed the treatment they have received as “state violence”. These trials have been seen as a symbol for a government-wide cleansing initiative in response to widespread protests and a severe economic downturn.
‘Defense Ministry Seek to Reclaim Lost Property’
Copyright: Ria Novosti, 17th April, 2013
The Russian defence ministry has been fighting to regain money and properties lost to corruption in the spate of scandals over past year, including the one that took down the former defence minister Anatoly Serdyukov. The scandal involving Serdyukov and the defence company Oboronservis is believed to have lost the Russian defence ministry over USD 430 million, and involved the illegal sale of government properties to preferred companies at below market value. The ministry is looking to pursue instances of corruption that could lead to a decreased readiness in the armed forces most aggressively.
Read full article: http://en.ria.ru/russia/20130417/180691160.html
'Afghanistan peace deal with Taliban needed, say MPs'
Copyright: BBC, 10th April, 2013
A new report by the UK Defence Select Committee stressed that effective measures to tackle corruption are at the core of an effective and successful transition in Afghanistan, once responsibilities are transferred to the Afghan National Security Forces after the withdrawal of UK troops in 2014. MPs in this group also stressed an Afghan-led peace deal with the Taliban is needed to stop Afghanistan sliding into civil war. They also said the UK has a responsibility to “make Afghanistan work”. Apart from tackling corruption, the report elaborates on other aims for Afghanistan, such as open and free elections, a strong judicial system and continued development aid, amongst others.
Read full article: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-22087122
‘Rajiv Gandhi was ‘entrepreneur’ for Swedish jet, U.S. cable says’
Copyright: The Hindu, 8th April, 2013
The latest of Wikileaks features a series of 42 diplomatic cables which put a couple of Indian defence deals in the spotlight. According to the leaked files dated between 1974 and 1976, former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, son of the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, was allegedly an agent for Swedish company Saab-Scania at the time they were negotiating the sale of their Viggen fighter to the country. His involvement was in his years as a civil pilot, before starting his political career. The cables also link the Air Chief at that time, with the negotiations for a Dassault Mirage fighter. He also happened to be the son-in-law of the then Air Marshal O.P. Mehra.
'U.N. overwhelmingly approves global arms trade treaty'
Copyright: Reuters, 2nd April, 2013
Following failed negotiations in the Arms Trade Treaty conference on the previous week, the UN General Assembly approved the treaty with a vast majority (154 votes in favour, 32 abstentions and 3 against). While there are international treaties to control the sale of almost any good imaginable—from dinosaur bones to postage stamps and bananas—there had been no treaty to control the trade in weapons worldwide until this week.
‘Natividad Lara Cervantes Arrested: Department Of Defense Employee Charged With Bribery’
Copyright: Huffington Post, 1st April, 2013
A man claiming to be the ‘Godfather at Camp Pendleton’ has been arrested on charges of bribery. Natividad Lara Cervantes allegedly used his authority to extort bribes from companies hoping to win contracts for work on the California Marine Corps base. Federal authorities conducted a sting operation in which Cervantes accepted USD 10,000 from someone cooperating with the operation.
'US Aid to Honduras Police Does Not Go to Suspected Death Squad Units, Officials Say'
Copyright: Fox News Latino, 25th March, 2013
The US aid provided to Honduras to cleanse their police force has been under scrutiny by the media despite US officials stressing that the country will maintain a “two degrees of separation” policy with Honduras and have bypassed the normal chain of police command to work with specialised units of agents which are honest, and not corrupt. This comes after Associated Press reported that all Honduran police units are under Juan Carlos Bonilla’s command, the country’s police chief who is currently being investigated for past extrajudicial killings and social cleansing.
Italy: ‘Indian police launch raids in Finmeccanica defence deal probe’
Copyright: Reuters, 13th March, 2013
After registering the case under India’s anti-corruption laws, the CBI has launched a formal probe into AgustaWestland, Finmeccanica’s Anglo-Italian subsidiary, on charges of corruption. It raided homes and business premises in several Indian cities to gather evidence of bribes being paid to Indian defence officials through middlemen. A number of Indian officials have already been investigated, but this latest push has targeted Italians operating in India on Finmeccanica’s behalf.
‘Chan Chun Sing outlines Mindef's anti-corruption processes’
Copyright: Asia One, 12th March, 2013
In response to their low banding in our Government Defence Anti-Corruption Index (GI), the Singaporean Defence Minister Chan Chun Sing, came out with a speech explaining some of the low scoring and giving new details to the public about defence policy. Even though he invoked the overused excuse of national security in refusing to say how much of the budget is spent on secret items, he did discuss the levels of oversight used for the budget and the auditing process.
‘Menem found guilty of smuggling weapons’
Copyright: Financial Times (£), 8th March, 2013
Former Argentine president Carlos Menem was found guilty of breaking embargoes in the 1990s by smuggling 6,500 tonnes of weapons to Ecuador and Croatia. Menem claimed not to know that the weapons would be illegally diverted to these countries after their sale to Venezuela and Nicaragua were authorised under secret decree. He faces between four and seventeen years in prison.
Read full article: http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/5fd41e48-8808-11e2-8e3c-00144feabdc0.html
‘Government to change Defence Procurement Policy’
Copyright: The New Indian Express, 5th March, 2013
India’s Minister of Defence (MOD) AK Antony has announced that the MOD is looking to change its defence procurement policy. They have suggested greater ‘indigenisation’, or domestically-sourced, procurement contracts. This is coming off the back of a large corruption scandal over the purchase of helicopters from Finmeccanica’s subsidiary, AgustaWestland. In a later development of this story, India’s government decided to postpone the procurement of another 197 helicopters from the same supplier.
Read full article: http://newindianexpress.com/nation/article1488609.ece
‘Defense Contractors Found Guilty of Fraud & Corruption’
Copyright: San Diego News, 4th March, 2013
Two defence contractors were charged with bribery and conspiracy to commit wire fraud in connection to a scheme aimed to combat fraud and corruption at the Naval Air Station North Island. Previous to this case, five Navy officials and several defence contractors had been sentenced. All of the Navy officials were found to have received at least USD 1 million in cash or gifts paid for fraudulently through the US Department of Defence.
Thailand: ‘Ex-defence official's assets seized on corruption charges’
Copyright: Pattaya Mail, 1st March, 2013
Officials from Thailand’s National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) have seized over USD 2 million in assets from former permanent secretary of defence Sathian Permthong-in, his wife, adopted daughter, and a university professor associated with Permthong-in. This came in response to inquiries over his ‘unusual wealth’ and ‘unscrupulous transfers’ close to USD 3.5 million. The case will be presented to a special branch of the Supreme Court dealing with former and current officials in political positions.
‘China: military vehicles to get new licence plates to cut misuse’
Copyright: Financial Times (£), 28th February, 2013
The misuse of military license plates is a common corruption problem in China. These plates, and the privileges affiliated with them, have been used on civilian vehicles of military officials and their families, and even sold on to civilians to avoid road tolls and traffic laws. To curb the prevalence of this phenomenon, authorities have issued new additions of these plates to initially render the widely-distributed old ones ineffective and to track their spread later.
‘Finland investigates attempted arms shipment to Syria’
Copyright: Reuters, 15th February, 2013
Following the interception of a container with tank parts in January, customs officials in Finland are investigating an illegal arms transfer to Syria via a port in Helsinki. It is reported that the shipment may have come from Russia and that there were no permissions requested for such delivery. This smuggling of arms breaks a current EU arms embargo to Syria.
‘France promises defence contracts free of corruption’
Copyright: WSJ Live Mint, 14th February, 2013
In his first visit to India, French president Francois Hollande assured the French government is vigilant on corruption in defence, as they hope to secure India’s most ambitious procurement contract to date: a USD 12 billion deal for their Dassault Rafale fighter. “There will be nothing contrary to the principles that we both share in common. Trade should be on the rules of trade” stressed Hollande, in the wake of the widely publicised corruption probe into another Indian deal involving Finmeccanica’s subsidiary AgustaWestland.
India May Drop Helicopter Order If Corruption Uncovered
Copyright: Bloomberg, 13th February, 2013
Increased attention has been drawn to a helicopter deal between India and Italy’s biggest defence firm, Finmeccanica, after its CEO, Giuseppe Orsi, was arrested on charges of corruption. Amid public outcry, Defence Minister AK Antony has called for India’s Central Bureau of Investigation to probe the deal and threatened that if corruption is confirmed, the $753 million deal will be cancelled. Three of the twelve helicopters have been delivered, and as of now, the remaining nine are on schedule to be delivered by March of 2014.
‘Ottawa urged to demand more from defence contractors’
Copyright: The Globe and Mail, 12th February, 2013
The Canadian government has unveiled a new defence procurement strategy to increase their benefits from contractors. Companies must now show how they can increase Canada’s industrial capacity before obtaining contracts. This new strategy comes after budgetary scandals involving new naval ships and the notorious F-35 fighter jet. Both contracts were reduced due to skyrocketing costs. Single sourcing is arguably a major factor in the overdrawn expenditures for the F-35 fighters.
FBI probes EADS unit claims
Copyright: Financial Times (£), 10th February, 2013
The FBI is currently holding documents linked to allegations that GPT Special Management Systems, a subsidiary of EADS, bribed military officials in Saudi Arabia with luxury cars and deposited USD 18 million into bank accounts in the Cayman Islands. The FBI has also already interviewed a witness in relation to the allegations. The investigation is rather curious, as the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) is currently engaged in an investigation of EADS. The article hints at some mistrust between the SFO and FBI as a result of Tony Blair stymying a previous investigation into BAE Systems following the famous Al-Yamamah fighter deal contract. In this case, the US eventually fined BAE USD 400 million, while the SFO investigation remained discontinued.
UN: Cost of Afghan corruption rose sharply last year, with half the population paying a bribe
Copyright: Washington Post, 7th February, 2013
A UNODC report on corruption in the war-ravaged nation of Afghanistan will likely leave aid providers troubled. The statistic that half of the 6,700 Afghans surveyed have paid a bribe is actually a somewhat positive one, demonstrating a nine per cent decrease in the frequency of payments since 2009. However, the troubling statistic is that despite the notable downturn in the prevalence of bribes being paid, the total cost of bribery jumped up by 40 per cent to USD 3.9 billion.
Read full article: http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/asia_pacific/un-cost-of-afghan-corruption-rose-sharply-last-year-with-half-the-population-paying-a-bribe/2013/02/07/4885a9aa-70fc-11e2-b3f3-b263d708ca37_story.html
Angola: A Record Budget for the Presidency, the Military and the Spooks
Copyright: All Africa, 21st January, 2013
Angola’s budget for this year is 50 per cent bigger than in 2012, which also means the chunk received by the defence sector has increased. Yet that doesn’t mean that the money is being spent wisely according to this article. Despite the Ministry of Defence having the highest budget of all sectors, these funds are not reaching the soldiers and police officers who need them the most. The article mentions the Army having difficulty with paying its pensioners and war veterans, and keeping dignified conditions in barracks: an outbreak of tuberculosis among its rank has been reported due to the precarious living conditions in them. Most contracts of food supplies have been awarded to shell companies owned by senior generals and government officials who often don’t deliver the food, leaving officers begging for money and food by Angola’s motorways.
Read full article: http://allafrica.com/stories/201301211763.html
BAE fixer acquitted after trial glitches
Copyright: Financial Times (£), 17th January, 2013
Alfons Mensdorff-Pouilly, a BAE middleman accused of helping Europe’s defence giant EADS fix arms deals in central and eastern Europe, was found not guilty of money laundering by Austrian courts. Mensdorff-Pouilly, who spent 12.6 million Euros to “help” this deals materialise, escaped prosecution in the UK too, when charges against him were dropped as part of the 2010 settlement between BAE, the UK and the US. Despite this, BAE has admitted to having lied to US officials about its payments to fixers and middlemen, and has now gotten rid of all its fixers and middlemen. “The soup [of evidence] was too thin” said the Austrian judge, following a trial obstructed by the deaths of key witnesses. He also stressed Mensdorff-Pouilly had been lucky the UK didn’t go after him, as the situation would have looked completely different otherwise.
Read full article: http://www.ft.com/cms/s/db840642-60d6-11e2-b85b-00144feab49a,Authorised=false.html?_i_location=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.ft.com%2Fcms%2Fs%2F0%2Fdb840642-60d6-11e2-b85b-00144feab49a.html&_i_referer=#axzz2K809jk