Dominican Republic’s Anti-Corruption Department Gets Slammed for Not Indicting

The Dominican Republic’s Accounts Chamber President, Licelot Marte (pictured here), accused the Justice Ministry’s Anti-Corruption Department of not indicting those accused of fraudulent or irregular actions that have been uncovered by government audits.

Ms. Marte when on to list various irregularities that were uncovered but, as of yet, not handled by the Justice Ministry, including the issuing of checks with proper funding, lack of organized bookkeeping, and the violation of laws on Public Function and on Government Purchases and Contracts.

In her report, Ms. Marte stated that NGOs were especially bad, with only 579 out of 770 NGOs providing budgetary information, with only 435 of those having submitted a complete report.

For the original article from Dominicantoday.com, please click here.

Bulgaria Urged to Include Prosecution Service to Judicial Reform

Gabriela Knaul (the UN Special Rapporteur for the independence of judges and lawyers, and pictured here), upon leaving after her six-day mission to Bulgaria, said that Joint governance of the courts and the prosecution service appears to hamper a well-functioning system of accountability, and therefore limits effective prosecution of those involved in organized crime and corruption.

Ms. Knaul went on to say that efforts undertaken by the Bulgarian government to strengthen democracy and the rule of law were hampered by misconceptions of the judiciary and that no differentiation was being made between judges and lawyers.

Ms. Knaul did not leave out the Bulgarian media in her statements, however, saying that the media as a whole needed to uphold its social responsibility to facilitate tolerance, dialogue and understanding among the three branches of Government – the executive, legislature and judiciary.

For the full article from newsreleaseagency.com, please click here.

The photo of Ms. Knaul comes courtesy of the UN’s multimedia site, found here.

50 Municipal Officials Arrested in Anti-Corruption Sweep in Turkey

50 Turkish municipal officials were arrested on Monday in the Aegean provinces of Izmir and Aydin in an anti-corruption sweep against suspected interference in public tenders and fraudulent practices in cultural and artistic events.

Turkey’s main oppositin party, the Republican People’s Party (CHP), criticized the government by saying that the sweep was politically motivated, given the timing of the elections – June 12th. Many of the fraudulent tenders were taken from the municipal offices of CHP party members.

For the original article from SETimes.com, please click here.

Eu’s Ashton Visits Kosovo

Catherine Ashton, the EU’s foreign policy chief, visited Kosovo on Friday (the 27th) and reiterated that the rule of law was important for the future of Kosovo. Ashton met with Kosovo’s Prime Minister, Hashim Thaci (pictured here) and discussed Kosovo’s bid for entry into the EU and visa liberalization issues.

While meeting with PM Thaci, Ms. Ashton gave her support to the EU’s Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo and invited PM Thaci to visit Brussels. PM Thaci stated that Kosovo was doing all that it could to implement democratic policies in the economy and in legislation.

For the original article from SETimes.com, please click here.

Please note that the photo of PM Thaci comes from Pakistan’s BBC News’ site.

Monica Iacob Ridzi Indicted for Youth Day Event Corruption

Anti-corruption investigators in Romania have indicted Monica Iacob Ridzi (pictured here), the former Romanian Youth Minister, for abuse of service against the public interest and intellectual fraud with events related to the 2009 Youth Day celebrations in Romania.

The investgation against Ms. Ridzi was launched after reports by a daily sports magazine surfaced shortly after the Youth Day events stating that Ms. Ridzi had awarded contracts to private companies from the 600,000-euro budget without a public tender.

For more information on the story, please see Hotnews.ro and Mediafax‘s website(s).

Please note that the picture of Ms. Ridzi comes from the Hotnews.ro site.

Iraqi Kurds Continue to Protest Government Corruption

For almost three months now, protestors have gathered in Sulaymaniyah Square in the semi-autonomous oil-rich province of Kurdistan (pictured here) to protest what they allege is government corruption, nepotism, incompetence, and anti-democratic measures. Since the protests began, at least 12 civilians have been killed across Kurdistan.

The continuing protests have pushed the government and opposition parties further apart than ever before, with Massoud Barzani, the region’s President, accusing the opposition of attempting to ignite a coup. Opposition figures, however, have countered that they are not trying to start a coup, but are rather trying to exercise democratic rights present in democracies across the world.

Analysts have said that this type of back-and-forth is quite common in regional politics and reflect a lack of discretion rather than a serious threat to the young Iraqi democracy.

For the original story, with an accompanying video, please see Presstv.ir.

The photo of Sulaymaniyah Square comes courtesy of WLCentral.org.

Corrupt Mayor’s Children Made to Pay for His Mistakes

The children of the late Jesús Gil (pictured here), a controversial former businessman and politician of Marbella, Spain, are being forced by a Spanish court to repay over 100 million euros in compensation to the city for accounting irregularities during their father’s tenure as Mayor.

As the three children are the heirs to Mr. Gil’s estate, the court ruled that they have also inherited his obligations, with the court ruling that they must pay back 66.5 million euros for the losses caused to the municipality for their father’s actions, with an additional 39 million euros in interest dating back to the 1994-1999 tenure of Mr. Gil.

The city of Marbella began to suffer from a massive corruption ring centered upon urban planning and bribery, initiated under Mr. Gil.

For the full story from El País, please click here.

Please note that the photo of Mr. Gil is by Julián Rojas.

112 Military Personnel Identitified As Having Defrauded Job Exams

Romanian anti-corruption prosecutors indicted 112 military personnel, including 2 generals, 24 officers, 15 non-commissioned officers (NCOs), and 71 Corporals, for defrauding Defense Ministry job examinations. The former deputy of the Management and Human Resources Department and the former Training Director were both indicted within the ministry.

Those indicted in the scandal were located in the Breaza and Pitesti areas.

For the original article from Hotnews.ro, please click here.

Former Romanian Labor Minister and Mp Acquitted of Corruption Charges

A former Romanian Labor Minister, Paul Pacuraru (pictured here) – who was in office between April 2007 and September 2008 – and a former Romanian MP, Dan Ilie Morega, were acquitted of accusations of corruption stemming back to December 2008 on Wednesday.

Prosecutors had accused Mr. Morega of offering to help Mr. Pacuraru’s son win public contracts in exchange for Mr. Pacuraru appointing a specific person as the Chief Inspector of the Gorj County Labor Inspectorate.

For the original article from Mediafax, please click here.

Please note that the photo of Mr. Pacuraru is from a previous article by Mediafax and is copyrighted by the Romanian Press.

Kazakh Bank Asks Britain to Extradite Former Bank Head

Kazakh bank BTA has asked the UK to extradite its fugitive former head, Mukhtar Ablyazov (pictured here), for large-scale fraud and funneling of funds through fake companies, estimated to be $7billion.

Meanwhile, a UK court has ruled against Mr. Ablyazov’s claims that the request for extradition was politically motivated, stating that the bank has sufficient grounds to file a claim against Mr. Ablyazov.

Mr. Ablyazov was once a part of Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev’s inner circle, but has since fallen from grace and fled the country in 2009.

For more information on the story, please see CNBC’s article on the matter along with an article from Tengrinews.kz.

Please note that the photo of Mr. Ablyazov comes from Tengri news and is copyright of Yaroslav Radlovsky.

Bulgaria Recalls 13 Communist-Era Ambassadors

A Bulgarian Foreign Ministry spokesperson confirmed on Tuesday that 13 Ambassadors would be recalled for communist-era involvement in the secret service, with dismissal pending. The spokesperson, Vessela Cherneva added that a further 22 Ambassadors and permanent representatives would be recalled on June 1st.

An investigative panel concluded in December of last year that 192 diplomats had previous involvement with the secret service, causing the government to decide to recall all diplomats. Bulgarian President Georgi Parvanov has insisted that each case be handled on an individual basis.

For the original article from SETimes.com, please click here.

Egyptian Military Denies Plans to Pardon Mubarak

Egypt’s ruling military council denied recent rumors that they would pardon former President Hosni Mubarak and his wife, Suzanne Mubarak (pictured here) for corruption, embezzlement, and abuse of power (and, in the case of Mrs. Mubarak, abuse of postion for unlawful gain).

Both Mr. and Mrs. Mubarak have fallen ill since Mr. Mubarak’s abdication from power following his February ousting – and have not seen jail time -, furthering speculation that they are receiving special treatment from the military council.

For the original article from Yahoo!.com, please click here.

6 Pristina Municipal Officials Arrested for Abuse of Office

Six Municipal procurement and infrastructure officials were arrested in Pristina on Tuesday for suspected abuse of office in connection with the signing of an 800,000-euro project.

The police unit in Kosovo for economic crimes and corruption questioned the six suspects and detained them for 48 hours. This comes just one week after Pristina’s Mayor, Isa Mustafa (see earlier story from May 2nd), accused the police of pressuring municipal workers.

For the original story from SETimes.com, please click here.

Bribery Third Largest Problem in Balkans Says Un

A UNODC (United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime) survey of 28,000 people found that corruption is the third-largest issue facing the Western Balkans today, with the average individual paying between 4 and 10 bribes per year and each bribe ranging from 103-1,212 euros (~$135-1,600) – more than 140% of weekly salaries.

Furthermore, only 1.5% of respondents said that they reported the bribe to the appropriate authorities, saying that corruption was so rife that there was no reason to report the incident. About 4 out of 5 bribes were in the form of monetary compensation for things such as receiving better care (in medical situations), avoiding a fine (with police or other officials), or speeding up bureaucratic processes (municipal/governmental officials).

For an article summarizing the report, please click here.

Please note that the UNODC’s logo is their property.

Medvedev Increases Fines for Bribery

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has signed a law that increases the fine for giving or accepting bribes up to 100 times the bribe, with a maximum of 500 million rubles ($18.3 million).

The news comes from the Rossiyskaya Gazeta. For the original article, including a brief summary of a week’s worth of news from Russia, please click here.

Please note that the photo of President Medvedev comes from the Daily Mail.

Fifa Agrees to Talk to Whistleblower on Corruption Allegations

FIFA President Sepp Blatter announced that the Sunday Times will bring their whistleblower, who alleged corruption in the choice of Qatar for the 2022 World Cup, to Zurich in order to discuss matters with FIFA officials. The whistleblower has claimed that two FIFA officials, Issa Hayatou (pictured here) and Jacque Anouma, received $1.5 million to support Qater’s bid in December.

Blatter went on to say that the process needed to be dealt with thoroughly, but did not dismiss the possibility of having to reopen the vote if corruption involving the two officials was proven. Mr. Blatter, furthermore, stated that he was looking forward to seeing the evidence that David Treisman, the former head of England’s failing 2018 bid, claimed to have in front of the British Parliament last week.

For more info on the story, please see the articles from Swissinfo.ch and Insidethegames.

Former Egyptian Interior Minister Jailed for Corruption

Egypt’s former Minister of the Interior, Habib al-Adly (pictured here) was sentenced to 12 years for corruption, including money laundering and profiteering. Mr. al-Adly’s trial was closely followed by Egyptians, as his ministry was also in charge of the brutal crackdown against protestors before the ousting of former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.

Mr. al-Adly is also facing charges in connection with the deaths of hundreds of Egyptian protestors, for which he could face the death penalty, although Mr. Al-Adly has denied all of the charges. He is also only one of at least 20 former ministers and businessmen who were closely allied with Mr. Mubarak’s regime who are currently in custody.

Please click here for articles from Quote.com (Brazil) and the International Business Times.

Mubarak’s Top Aide Will Not Be Released

A Cairo Criminal Court has ruled that Zakaria Azmi (pictured here) can be detained for another 30 days pending further investigation into his personal finances as requested by the public prosecutor in order to not tamper with the course of investigations or questioning of witnesses.

Mr. Azmi was the Presidential Chief of Staff to former President Hosni Mubarak for 22 years and is currently under investigation for illegally using his position for profit.

For the original story, please see Ahram’s English-language site found here.

Head of Kazakh Customs Control Is Fired

Kazakhstan’s Prime Minister, Karim Masimov, announced on Friday that Qozy-Korpesh Karibozov (pictured here), the former head of the Customs Service, has been relieved of his duties after allegations arose that he was allowing smugglers to traffic between 100 and 200 trucks-worth of goods across Kazakh borders daily.

Along with Mr. Karibozov, more than 100 members of a criminal organization were also arrested on May 3rd (Tuesday) for smuggling the goods between Kazakhstan and China. The financial police have also arrested the deputy head of the National Security Comittee’s department in Aqmola Oblast.

Prime Minister Masimov has announced via Twitter that the former Interior Minister, Serik Baimaghanbetov, would replace Mr. Karibozov.

For the original article from Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, please click here.

55 Romanian Customs Employees Indicted for Accepting Bribes

Romanian Prosecutors have indicted 55 employees of Naidas customs for accepting bribes to facilitate the smuggling of cigarettes from Serbia. Of the 55 indicted, 3 had already been temporarily arrested for accepting bribes.

This comes on top of the arrest of 4 customs police officers, 20 customs police agents, and 5 customs workers, all from Naidas, back in February.

For the original news release from Hotnews.ro, please click here.

Businessman and Former Food Minister Sentenced to Jail for Corruption in Cuba

Max Marambio, a Chilean businessman who was close to President Salvador Allende of Chile, and the former Food Industry Minister Alejandro Roca were sentenced to 20 and 15 years in prison, respectively, for charges of corruption on Thursday.

Mr. Marambio was tried in absentia as he had refused to travel to Cuba in order to face the charges against him, although he was defended by a court-appointed lawyer. Mr. Maramibo stated that he was being tried by a bunch of thugs, referring to Raúl Castro, who took over for his brother Fidel in 2008. Raúl Castro has made efforts to fight corruption in one of the world’s last communist countries.

For more information on the story, please see Yahoo! news and/or Thisdaylive.com.

Doubts Hang over Relatively Clean Albanian Elections

Albanians turned out to vote in local elections on Sunday although the Socialist Party (SP) Chairman Edi Rama, the current mayor of Tirana ,who is also currently leading the vote for mayor by approximately 1,000 votes, accused the state of pressuring voters.

The current Albanian Prime Minister, Sali Berisha, who heads the Democratic Party (DP) has already come out and said that they would recognize the result of the elections, while Mr. Rama responded that the SP would wait to recognize the results once they are released in a few days.

This comes as Mr. Rama’s party is poised to win in the major Albanian cities of Elbasan, Korca, Vlora and Gjirokastra.

For the original article from SETimes.com, please click here.

Please note that the featured photo comes courtesy of Ana Pekmezi from the SETimes article.

Former Ukrainian President Questioned over Role in Murder of Prominent Journalist

Leonid Kuchma, the former President of Ukraine, was brought into the Prosecutor’s office for questioning over the sensational November 2000 murder of anti-corruption journalist Georgiy Gongadze.

The slain journalist’s likeness was used during Ukraine’s Orange Revolution as a rallying cry against the ancien regime and Kuchma’s chosen successor, Viktor Yanukovych.

To say that the controversy surrounding the murder and subsequent investigation has been prolonged would be stating the obvious and has reached the very top of Ukrainian politics, as evidenced by the involvement of Kuchma, his body guards, and various others in Ukrainian elite political circles; each turn in the case is followed by conspiracy theories that attempt to explain the various twists in the plot, which are then followed by counter conspiracy theories.

To read the original, detailed story from Pravda, click here.

Swedish Housing Boss Guilty in Bribery Trial

Olle Lundgren (pictured here) was convicted of accepting $13,500-worth (24 metric tons) of bricks meant for the construction of housing by the contractor Weinberger, in the hope that Mr. Lundgren would help out the company in the future.

Mr. Lundgren’s conviction in the case will lead to a 6-month prison sentence even though, according to Mr. Lundgren’s attorney – Anders Munck – Mr. Lundgren believed that he had paid for the bricks, at least until last year when the bribery accusations arose.

The scandal also affects the the local municipal housing firm, Familjebostäder, the city’s sports and clubs division, and the relationship between housing magnate Stefan Allbäck and municipal officials.

For the original article from The Local, please click here.

The photo of Mr. Lundgren comes courtesy of GT.Expressen.SE.

62 Romanian Border Police Officers Indicted for Corruption

62 Romanian Border Patrol Officers and 4 Customs Officials were indicted by Romanian anti-corruption prosecutors from a northern border crossing on Wednesday. The 66 officials are accused of soliciting and/or accepting bribes amount to approximately 893,740 euros between September 2010 and January 2011.

A total of 49 of the 66 indicted persons are currently in custody, with the other 17 still at large.

For the original articles, please see the sites of Mediafax.ro and Hotnews.ro.

Please note that the photo from this article comes from Mediafax’s version of the article.