Telephone Collection call Scripts & How to respond to Excuses (The Collecting Money Series Book 13)
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The war against graft political corruption has reached the point where the shame and social sanctions directed against this kind of theft and thief need to be given greater prominence in the arsenal used to fight corruption. This applies especially in developing countries where its consequences can be — and often are — deadly. As such, the whole approach to corruption needs to be re-examined: from local cultural assumptions and preconceptions to the legal conventions, constitutions, statutes and, especially, the prosecution-related instruments brought to bear on it at the national and global levels.
Integral to this are the principles of legal authority and equality before the law. The equality component is essential: the rule of law must be seen to apply equally to all citizens without fear or favour, regardless of race, creed or class. The following complementary but separate factors in a society are critical: culture, ethos, ethics and traditions, and legal processes and practices. Each derives its legitimacy from history and the traditional ways in which meaning is made. By their very nature, they are far more negotiable — existing as they do in a constant state of flux in a dynamic world.
Our success depends on how effectively we bring and use them together in the fight against corruption. We do this cognisant of the fact that grand corruption, when compared to the drug trade, human trafficking, terrorism finance and other global evils, is the most easily rationalisable major felonious activity on the planet. During the years to , corruption was at the centre of the global development agenda.
In , Transparency International was founded. In the mid-to-late s, corruption was adopted as a key development issue by the multilateral and bilateral development institutions. The following decade saw the rise of the BRIC nations2 and rapid economic growth across much of the developing world, as well as globalisation and its associated technologies assisting the expansion of trade and commerce. At the same time, the struggle against Islamic extremism captured the attention of policy makers in the international community.
Alongside it, unfortunately, has also come a rapid growth in the scale and complexity of corruption. So much so, that anti-corruption work needs to be returned urgently to the heart of the global development agenda. It needs to be part of the DNA of modern nation-states, multinational corporations, non-governmental organisations NGOs and even religious organisations and how they interact on the global stage. This urgency comes from the fact that graft has served to hollow out key governance institutions in some countries. This includes the defence and security sector and areas of social policy such as health and education, with dire consequences for the public services they are supposed to offer the poor, in particular.
The crippling impact of corruption on the delivery of these essential services has deepened economic inequalities, undermining faith in political processes, parties and politicians. In turn, this increases political volatility as politicians retreat to identity and personality politics with its complex web of non-negotiable irrationalities. It also feeds fundamentalism of all kinds — for example, ethnic, religious and sectarian.
This also does serious damage to the independence, legitimacy and integrity of the service sector — in particular, banks, law firms and auditing firms — and deepens the challenges corruption poses. The growth of the latter has been buoyed by the dramatic expansion and sophistication of the internet and an increasing variety of communication platforms. Although it can involve an individual or group of individuals, this sector forms itself into sophisticated entities. As I pointed out previously, businesses find corruption the easiest felonious activity to rationalise, especially in cross-cultural contexts.
For them, relationships are tradable products that can be leveraged for a profit and not a social currency that helps make trade and commerce flow more smoothly within the law. So how do we fight these piratical shadows? Corruption is defined as the abuse of vested authority for private gain. Leading global advocacy organisations such as ONE have even made efforts to quantify the cost of graft in lives McNair et al. As the recent FIFA scandal has demonstrated, unconstrained corruption also threatens valued cultural institutions and traditions that we all hold dear.
This means we are at a critical juncture. It calls for a renewed global partnership against corruption to match, and even exceed, the concentrated and successful advocacy that followed the fall of the Berlin Wall. The new push needs to identify, disrupt and delegitimise the global networks of corruption in money laundering; terrorism finance; drug, people and environmental trafficking; and other illicit activities. This requires new global partnerships that target the information-era entities and domiciles that these networks rely on.
They may be offshore tax havens or low-compliance jurisdictions where the ever-expanding raft of international regulations aimed at dealing with graft and illicit flows have limited currency. To be fully effective, however, this reinvigoration of the rule of law must go hand in hand with action to create a cultural climate in which the corrupt — the thieves — are shamed for what they do. Indeed, effecting change in the culture and traditions — which inform what is acceptable behaviour — is perhaps even more important in societies where legal institutions based on the Western model are nascent, or where their existence is being energetically contested, as it is in important parts of the developing world.
The release by WikiLeaks of US diplomatic cables in was a controversial episode of unofficial transparency and a powerful interrupter to the global status quo regarding corruption in relations between nation-states. It revealed the corrupt practices that ruling elites are capable of to the growing youth populations of regions such as the Middle East. The reverberations of this are still being felt. Across Latin America and in the developed world, revelations of inappropriate, corrupt and unethical behaviour by leaders — in both the private and corporate sectors — have created a level of criticism from the public that is unprecedented in some countries.
Presidents have been forced to step down and others turned into lame ducks while still in office by dramatic mass expressions of discontent boosted by social media.
In this sense the change has already begun — untidily, noisily, chaotically and even bloodily — in many places. The outcome is uncertain. But, in the long term, it will be dramatically different from the status quo. In addition to institutions such as an International Anti- Corruption Court as a further step towards increasing transparency, strengthening enforcement and securing restitution, the tools of visa revocations, personalised financial sanctions and more harmonised extradition mechanisms could actually be cheaper and more effective in tackling corruption than prosecutions — which are always tortuous.
However, for these measures to enjoy legitimacy around the world, they must be applied, and be seen to apply, with equal force across the different regions of both the developed and developing world. To conclude, a successful international anti-corruption campaign requires co-operation on a global scale and specific legal measures that help transform attitudes towards corruption and the ability to prosecute the corrupt. Although it may take longer, embedding a culture of social sanction and censure for anyone found guilty of engaging in, facilitating or condoning corrupt activity, even to the extent that those holding office lose public trust, would support these measures.
They need to be seen as bobolu. They need to feel the social stigma when they attend family gatherings, visit the golf club or step into the supermarket — as much to set an example to others as to punish the individual, impressing on the whole community that corruption will not be tolerated. John has been involved in anti-corruption research, advisory work and activism in Kenya, Africa and the wider international community for 19 years.
This includes work in civil society, media, government and the private sector. Cassin, R. FCPA Blog. Kar, D. Illicit Financial Flows from Developing Countries: — McNair, D. The Trillion Dollar Scandal Study. London: ONE. January The CleanGovBiz Initiative.
The Risk Advisory Group. The Compliance Horizon Survey. Transparency International. Corruption Perceptions Index — Lesotho. Transparency International and Afrobarometer. Berlin: Transparency International. The early spring of saw thousands of angry people on the streets of Chisinau, capital of the tiny Republic of Moldova.
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Investigations are ongoing. We believe that the citizens of Moldova were victims of a transnational web of corruption, benefiting politicians and criminals who used complex multi-layered company structures to conceal both their identities and their activities.
Regrettably, this story is not unique. The power of these crime groups stems primarily from their ability to operate with ease across national frontiers.
Against Corruption: a collection of essays
They complete a detailed risk assessment at the country level and then choose the least vulnerable approach to conduct their illicit activities, whether in narcotics, refugee trafficking or the massive money laundering exercises that follow such crimes. The problem for national law enforcement is that, by definition, it cannot follow this type of crime easily or quickly across borders.
Data exchanges between states and law enforcement agencies take time. Modern crime schemes are designed to have very short lives to avoid detection, lasting sometimes just months before the associated companies and bank accounts are wound up and replaced by new ones.
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Yet alongside the advantages available for criminals of operating on this global scale, making it inherently harder to track them down, there are also disadvantages that the clever journalist or law enforcement official can exploit to expose them. So how do we do this? How do we stop criminal gangs and the corrupt politicians they rely on — conducting business as usual?
Firstly, I will argue, through data: more data means more transparency, provided the quality of information is there and supported by tools that allow proper analysis. Secondly, by journalists using advanced investigative techniques, including the emerging discipline of data journalism, to identify the patterns and practices inherent in corrupt activity. Opaque systems allow them to thrive.
And some of them go to great lengths to disguise their wrongdoing, using financial and company structures that span the world. Such criminal schemes are designed by creative and intelligent, if misguided, people. Some of them could have been the next Steve Jobs, but found crime more appealing. For years, from the early s, Russian, Ukrainian, Romanian and many other Eastern European mobsters and politicians were using Cyprus as a place to hide their activities behind labyrinthine corporate structures.
It reached the point where Cyprus, with a population of little more than one million, became one of the main investors in Eastern and Central Europe. Not all of these investors were criminal enterprises as many used Cyprus for tax optimisation purposes. But there is hardly a country in the region — from the former Yugoslavia to Russia and beyond — where Cyprus-based companies were not involved in huge, rigged privatisation scandals. In , when Cyprus joined the European Union EU and started opening databases, including a registry of locally based companies, things began to change.
Investigative reporters began combing through millions of records and, in many instances, came across the names of beneficial owners the real owners of the company — who thought they were sheltered from public scrutiny. Politicians and criminals were caught off guard and exposed in press articles that led to arrests and resignations. Their past misdemeanours made future involvement in business problematic. However, they started fighting back almost immediately, substituting their names in company documents with those of professional proxies — usually Cypriot lawyers who would lend their name to just about anyone who wanted to conceal their identity.