CEE failing to fight defence corruption

By bne IntelliNews January 29, 2013

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A survey by Transparency International says that more than two-thirds of countries, including many of the world's largest arms traders, have inadequate safeguards to prevent corruption in their defence sectors. Most CEE countries are ranked in the bottom half of the table, indicating moderate to high risk of corruption.

Rating governments by criteria such as the strength of parliamentary oversight of defence policy and the standards expected of defence firms, the survey found that only Germany and Australia out of 82 countries surveyed had strong anti-corruption mechanisms, while 57, almost 70%, had poor controls against corruption.

The 82 countries surveyed account for 94% of global military expenditure in 2011, worth $1.6 trillion, while the global cost of corruption in the defence sector is estimated to be at least $20bn a year, the watchdog said.

CEE has been blighted by a series of defence-related scandals over the years. Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Jansa has been charged with bribery over a now-abandoned 2006 deal to buy armoured vehicles. He has denied wrongdoing. In the Czech Republic, former defense minister Vlasta Parkanova had her parliamentary immunity stripped and is being investigated over a suspicious purchase of four CASA transport aircraft by the Czech military that took place when she was defense minister between 2007 and 2009.

The majority of CEE countries found themselves in the "moderate risk" category: Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Latvia, Poland and Slovakia. Russia and Turkey, two of the region's biggest arms exporters, were considered to be at "high risk" of corruption in their defence sectors. They are joined by Belarus, Kazakhstan, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia and Ukraine.

Above that category is "very high risk" and "critical risk", the latter including Algeria, Angola, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Eritrea, Libya, Syria and Yemen.

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