Putting the corruption fight on the political agenda in France

G20: Leading on anti-corruption? The view from civil society

 

The biggest challenge for TI France is intensifying international efforts for better governance – a prerequisite for sustainable development – at home and abroad

We are making inroads. The magazine Acteurs publics gave TI France their 2010 award for best communicator in the category “associations and great causes”  for our activities on lobbying regulation and prevention of conflicts of interest in particular.

2010 ended on a note of great achievements for us, and these achievements will boost our determination to make a big impact as a veritable G20 “sherpa” on behalf of the Transparency International movement as we lobby the French presidency of the G8 and G20. One of the recommendations that TI is making to the G20 is to allow civil society to take asset recovery cases to court.

A room full of gold and money was discovered in Ben Ali’s Tunis palace. How much more is saved in foriegn assets, property and banks?

This is very close to our work to make sure France is not a safe haven for the corrupt.

In November 2010 the Cour de cassation (French supreme Court) made a historic ruling, recognising that TI France’s legal complaint against 3 African Heads of state was admissible. This is a big step in our movement’s work to stop the corrupt laundering their ill-gotten gains in foreign bank accounts.

Preliminary investigations had uncovered more than 50 properties and 100 bank accounts linked to these three leaders in France. The investigation, led by the 2 judges appointed after Supreme Court’s decision, already showed that the leaders and their families continue their acquisitions even after TI France filed its complaint. This was revealed last week by an article in Le Monde.

Our aim is to obtain the opening of a judicial inquiry and the appointment of an investigating judge, who could go further than a simple police investigation.

We were helped in this case by our colleague and Gabonese friend Grégory Ngbwa Mintsa, who was imprisoned for joining our case. We nominated Gregory for TI’s 2010 Integrity award for the exemplary work he conducted in his country to fight corruption, and he was one of the three winners. Nominations are open for the 2011 awards.

Integrity Award Winner Gregory Mintsa

Soon after, the Arab spring put the spotlight on stolen assets. Following this path, at the beginning of 2011 we filed two more complaints: one targeting former Tunisian president, Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali and his entourage, the other against the family of Libyan president, Muammar Gaddafi.

As with their 3 west African counterparts, both are suspected of detaining huge patrimonies on the French soil. These 2 complaints led to police investigations. On June 9th, we lodged another complaint targeting Ben Ali’s family, this time with civil party petition.

We have also been working on transparency at home.

In October we presented our recommendations for preventing conflicts of interests in public affairs and regulation of lobbying to an exploratory commission set up by President Nicolas Sarkozy. We also presented these recommendations to the Parliament and the media during the UN’s International anti-corruption day.

We attend 2012 to be an important year in French politics. Ahead of the French presidential elections we will promote our recommendations on how to prevent conflicts of interests, regulate lobbying, reinforce the means of justice and support victims of corruption. Other issues we hope to raise are the reform of the penal procedure. We’ll shortly publish a new report evaluating French judicial system and the difficulties encountered by the judges to fight corruption effectively. As in numerous other issues, this report will show that a lot is still to be done. Another sign that we have to keep our pressure to make things change.

 

Read TI France’s annual report here

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Daniel Lebegue

About Daniel Lebegue

Daniel Lebegue is the President of Transparency International France

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Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Civil society role in recovering stolen wealth : space for transparency - 8 July 2011

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  2. Corruption: a crime against society : space for transparency - 18 July 2011

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