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How to build trust?

That is the question that Barry O’Keefe, Chairman of the International Anti-Corruption Council addressed in his opening speech at the 14th International Anti-Corruption Conference held in Bangkok on the 10th November, 2010.

“Leaders, politicians promise a lot, but do very little,” he said.  Therefore, we, the people, have lost faith in our leaders and in a way, in humanity.  Abhisit Vejjajiva, the Prime Minister of Thailand, added that youngsters inform him that they expect corruption in their society. Corruption is way of life.

Have we lost faith in each other? Do we really believe that corruption is a way of life?
It’s been a good three days at the conference and I’ve spent my time listening to people who’ve worked in the long fight against corruption. There are lawyers, academics, researchers, grassroots workers, and of course, individuals. Each and everyone is here because they care about corruption, they care about our future.

Now, how do we build trust, restore faith, refuse to be a bystander to corruption?

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Bangkok’s newest attraction

Interview with Siemens AG General Counsel Peter Solmssen

With over 400,000 employees working in 190 countries and gross revenue in 2009 of over $100 billion dollars, Siemens AG of Germany is one of the largest and most important engineering corporations in the world. In 2008, they were handed a fine of $1.6 billion, which the New York Times called “the largest fine for bribery in modern corporate history” and among some corruption fighters, Siemens is considered a textbook example of corporate corruption at its worst. Peter Solmssen, Managing Board Member and General Counsel for Siemens AG is a man on a mission to change that perception, and in so doing, change the way international business is done.

This morning Peter attended the “Is There a Role for Investors in Combating Corruption” workshop (along with Mark Mendelsohn, head of the US Department of Justice’s division who prosecuted the Siemens bribery case) and I caught up with him afterward to discuss Siemens’ efforts to combat corruption within company ranks, their remarkable ability to remain competitive, and why they’ve joined us here at IACC.

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Video- Who inspired you to fight against corruption?

Today, I asked a question to some participants: Who inspired you to fight against corruption? I find their answers very inspiring. That’s why i am posting this video.

I look forward to read your view as well. Who inspired you to fight against corruption? You could leave your answer as comment.

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Shutting Asia Out

Asia has been home to some of the bloodiest wars in history and the 25 year old conflict in the South Asian nation Sri Lanka is no exception, yet disappointingly Asia and its conflict prone nations seem to be getting very little focus here at the 14th International Anti Corruption Conference (IACC) in Bangkok.

With much anticipation I participated at the workshop titled ‘Anti Corruption Challenges in Post Conflict and Recovery Situations’ held today, hoping for some insight on how countries such as mine and even neighboring nations in the likes of Nepal could address the corruption menace, specially as these are relatively new post conflict nations, yet sadly, no mention was made on either of these two countries at the workshop.

As a journalist from Sri Lanka, I have personally witnessed the foreign interest including from the international media in my country over the past few years specially during the last leg of the war which ended in May last year with the military defeating the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), who were at that time dubbed as the world’s most ruthless terrorist outfit. Yet, despite the severity of the conflict and the controversial end to the war, most South Asian nations let alone Sri Lanka received no attention at this topical workshop.

The panel at the workshop indeed seemed impressive, yet their expertise was more towards Africa and the Americas. An Asian perspective in the panel would have thus been welcome.

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Categories: Peace and Security

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