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Speak Up Newsletter - August 2015
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Dear All,

Welcome to the Speak Up News in August 2015!

To start off with, there’s an update on TI’s campaign Unmask the Corrupt which addresses grand corruption cases: learn how TI Chair José Ugaz sees the next steps, discover how the campaign connects to the new Together Against Corruption strategy, and find out how individual chapters can contribute.

We also share some lessons learned from the chapter in Czech Republic: after they conducted a successful evaluation of financing of the presidential campaigns, the candidate revealed as least transparent hit back, threatening TI Czech Republic’s very existence.

You will also find our latest update on visualising corruption case work and feedback and tips and tools for data security when using the database, along with chapter-by-chapter news: read how the ALAC in Argentina has supported the setup of the ALAC in Brazil and keep up to date with recent cases from Guatemala, Russia and Zimbabwe.

Remember the ALAC 2014 survey? Everyone who took the time to complete the survey was entered into a raffle. Read on to find out who won those 5 iPads.

Our monthly update on fundraising has a special highlight: The Honduran chapter: La Asociación para una Sociedad Más Justa (the Association for a More Just Society, AJS) received US$700,000 worth of donations from individuals in 2014.

Last but not least, have a look at the feature Speaking up against corruption on the TI website presenting the chapter led corruption casework.

With kind regards from Berlin,
The PEP team

Please send your feedback and suggestions to pep-team@transparency.org.
TI’s campaign Unmask the Corrupt addresses grand corruption cases - the abuse of high-level power that benefits the few at the expense of the many and causes serious and widespread harm to individuals and society. It often goes unpunished. Everywhere around the world, it also relies on the same systemic weaknesses. The campaign alerts people on the scale and damage grand corruption causes to society, and raises the issues of anonymous shell companies, banking integrity, the need for increased due diligence in the sale of luxury goods, and of denial of entry for the corrupt. The campaign and its annual contest of the most emblematic cases will be presented to the Movement at the AMM in September 2015. From October 2015 to March 2016, the campaign will take the shape of a contest, where people nominate the worst perpetrators of corruption, and then vote and consider social sanctioning in a global dialogue among themselves and with our Chapters.
 
Read on to learn more about Unmask the Corrupt from José Ugaz, Chair of Transparency International.
 
Pep team: What is the main objective of the campaign and its contest?
José Ugaz: For a long time, the TI Movement has been systematic in the fight against corruption. We have had many impactful actions and there is not a single government or multi-national corporation that does not know about us. But we do need stronger support from people to succeed in our fight. One of the objectives of our contest is to enter into dialogue with anyone who cares about social justice and stopping corruption. Grand corruption cases are crimes of magnitude; they deeply harm people and societies; they too often go unpunished. Together with the public, we can change this situation if we all speak in once voice and become a movement of like-minded.
 
Another important objective is to discuss and organize social sanctioning with our supporters. TI-S will work together with the Chapters interested to articulate and organize visible and impactful campaigns in their countries.
 
PEP team: Do you foresee any risk for the Movement, and if so, how do you mitigate them?
José Ugaz: Security and safety of both our colleagues across the TI Movement and our supporters is absolutely crucial to us. We are deeply concerned by the fact that the space for civil society is shrinking at high pace and that grand corrupt officials often resort to violence to protect themselves. Many of our colleagues across the TI Movement continuously suffer from retaliation from some state officials. But we are also convinced that the last resort against grand corruption lies with each of us able to say “enough is enough” to those who abuse their power to enrich themselves and create so much harm to people and society. It is time to turn to engaged citizens who want to say “no” to corruption.
 
Several security measures are put in place to protect participants of the contest as much as possible:
  • On the cyber side, the contest will be secured on an https platform. We are working with a security firm (Inner Security) and taking measures to make our platform particularly difficult to penetrate;
  • There is an option to enter the contest and vote anonymously. Those who don’t feel threatened will be able to enter via their Facebook or twitter accounts or enter their email address. Emails can be set up separately to participate to the contest;
  • During the nomination phase, we will set up human proxies: TI community managers will be able to enter nominations on behalf of anyone who would write separately with a proposal; we are also approaching activists in exile who will be able to nominate cases on behalf of those who are concerned.
 
PEP team: How is the campaign linked to the new Together Against Corruption strategy that the Movement will discuss at the AMM in Malaysia?
José Ugaz: The Unmask the Corrupt global campaign is part of the Together Against Corruption strategy. The campaign will help all of us refresh our advocacy approach. In our work on laws and institutions, the work on grand corruption offers new language and an advocacy strategy to make sure that grand corruption crimes of magnitude that bring so much harm to people and societies are punished. It will also enable us to shape worldwide a culture of anti-corruption action. As the contest is based on dialogue and discussions with our supporters on the systemic weaknesses that often permit grand corruption, the campaign represents a unique platform for the TI Movement to continue to speak in one voice and boldly. We should all consider the campaign as an inclusive tool to voice our shared concerns to the world.
 
PEP team: How can chapters contribute to the campaign and the related contest?
José Ugaz: Unmask the Corrupt is a global campaign that allows us to speak in one voice on matters that are key to fighting corruption. As explained above, our main objective will be to shape a conversation with TI supporters worldwide. Chapters should monitor this conversation and feel free to enter into dialogue when topics discussed are in the realm of their own strategy and activities. Everyone should feel free to contact their regional coordinator or the campaign unit in Berlin when they’re willing to jump in the conversation. Expertise from the Movement will be critically needed during these months of conversation with supporters and we’ll never have enough support! Together we’ll succeed in raising awareness of the issues we deeply care about.

Czech Republic: When the exposed are firing back – effects of successful work and how to deal with them

When the chapter in the Czech Republic undertook an evaluation of the financing of presidential campaigns, Tomio Okamura was revealed as the least transparent of all eleven candidates. Enraged by the findings, he protested by filing a criminal complaint, making a complaint to the Tax Office and raising an application for the annulment of Transparency International Czech Republic on the basis that the chapter does not provide publically beneficial services, does not have properly staffed bodies (Management Board) and maintains accounting records in violation of the law.

Court proceedings lasted more than 18 months, due to delays caused by Tomio Okamura. The defamation of the chapter and delays in the judicial process had only one goal – to discredit the chapter. Eventually, TI Czech Republic won all disputes and it was ruled that Tomio Okamura had to pay court costs. Following his refusal to pay lawyers’ fees, on 15 July 2015, Tomio Okamura faced further legal repercussions for non-payment of debts.
The following interview is with Petr Leyer, Lawyer at the ALAC of TI Czech Republic. We ask Petr to tell us more about the risks incurred when the movement’s impactful work infuriates the exposed, how to deal with these risks and how to mitigate them.

PEP team: Petr, for over 18 months TI Czech Republic was involved in court proceedings with a politician the chapter exposed as least transparent in financing of the 2014 presidential campaigns. Tell us more about what has happened…
Petr: Before the presidential elections in 2013, TI Czech Republic watched campaign funding of individual candidates and whether they complied with at least the basic principles of transparency (e. g. a transparent account, disclosure of spending on the campaign, the composition of the electoral team and the number of volunteers involved in the campaign). At the same time, the ALAC was ready to receive individual complaints on possible irregularities in the financing. Tomio Okamura´s campaign was found as the least transparent one (required data was not publicly accessible anywhere and he did not respond to questions of TI Czech Republic). After the results of the evaluation were made public, Tomio Okamura protested against the credibility of TI Czech Republic.
His next reaction came in the wake of that: in the summer of 2013 he filed a criminal complaint against the management of TI Czech Republic and also a complaint to the tax office. Subsequently, he submitted a proposal (action) to abolish TI CZ, because, according to him, TI CZ´s activities were not pursuing the mission of a public benefit organization.
 
PEP team: How much did that cost in terms of time, human resources and finances?
Petr: Some matters were handled by internal resources (ALAC lawyers), but for representation in court, we hired an attorney. We cannot quantify exactly how much the dispute cost, but it was weeks of lawyers’ work and participation by other employees (e. g. when communicating with the media). If we had lost any dispute, the consequences would have been far worse than just financial costs, but since we were successful, Tomio Okamura paid our costs.
 
PEP team: Have these court proceedings also had positive effects for the work of the chapter and the larger issue of transparent campaign financing?
Petr: The decision is relatively fresh, so it is not yet possible to assess its impact. It turned out, however, that is not possible to attack NGOs so aggressively for their work. In other elections (Chamber of Deputies, municipalities or Senate), after pressure from TI Czech Republic, transparency of campaign financing has increased and the parties are voluntarily disclosing more and more information. Currently, there is a new bill being discussed that makes new provisions for the entire financing of political parties (including the supervisory authority), which is also credited to the advocacy activities of TI Czech Republic.

PEP team: Do you work with a risk matrix or other tools to mitigate risks for your chapter and the ALAC work?
Petr: In the period before Tomio Okamura´s action, TI Czech Republic had already faced other lawsuits, but none were successful. We proceed primarily from the fact that all of our outputs are supported by verified information. Unfortunately, this can’t prevent the person concerned taking legal steps to defend themselves, even though their chances of success is zero. Due to the variety of cases, we haven´t set up a unified mechanism for all situations, but the principle is that we do not say anything that isn’t well-founded and which has not been individually processed by our lawyers and analysts.

PEP team: What is your advice for other chapters and the secretariat, how can such risks be mitigated or, if a crisis occurs, how can it be dealt with best?
Petr: It helped us that in addition to the office staff, managing board members and former members were also involved in problem solving. This is important because in certain situations these people have greater distance and are able to look at the problem more objectively than the office staff. Therefore, it is good to be prepared for such a situation, e.g. have a crisis team that can deal similar things very professionally (from legal and also communication to the public point of view).

PEP team: Thank you very much for sharing your valuable lessons learned!

For information in more detail, please contact Petr Leyer, Lawyer at the ALAC of TI Czech Republic at Petr.Leyer@transparency.cz.

Data facts from your data

Our work with the database that keeps a record of the corruption cases reported to us and the related data visualisation has been moving to the next step, in collaboration with the Georgian NGO JumpStart. We utilised data entered to the central database to produce data facts with core messages about the cases reported to us and our corruption case work. This is part of our effort to illustrate key reported issues, and convey how successful the movement’s corruption case work is and what impact it has.
Have a look:
Please consider these key principles for your data collection:
  1. Try to enter data on time, at minimum once per month is core for up-to-date data visualisation.
  2. It is important to enter all data as completely as possible and to ensure the quality of data entries.
  3. When the case is closed, please enter your feedback as ALAC and the client’s feedback on the case outcome – is it successful from your and their point of view?
  4. Also, enter how satisfied the client is with the work of your ALAC/ Speak Up services.
  5. Do not forget to follow up and enter information on advocacy conducted and systemic change achieved!
The more complete data you enter and the care you take to give considered answers, the better the data visualisation becomes!

Join your feedback with us at pep-team@transparency.org.

Visualising feedback
to your work

Huge thanks to chapters from the Americas, Asia Pacific, Europe and Central Asia, Middle East and North Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa. By sharing their rich experience of case work, we were able to to produce visuals representing their work and the feedback they have received. We offer these visuals to you as an example of how you showcase your work in print and online.

Take a look at the results:
For the case descriptions and sharing your feedback, contact us at pep-team@transparency.org.

Database & data security: tips and tools

We ourselves are the first defence barrier of data. When you access your database online, even if your online database is encrypted and secure behind a VPN, you still have to keep data secure on your computer. Here are a few tips and tools that we hope will help you stay protected:
 
  • Change your password each month: It is advisable to change the password of your account each month; but make sure you remember it, otherwise you will need the assistance of your administrator to access your computer again.
  • Use a strong password: Strong passwords are phrases (or sentences) at least eight characters long—longer is better—that include at least three of the following: uppercase and lowercase letters, numerals, punctuation marks, and symbols. Example phrases: I love my new Xbox One Example passwords: Ilove!mynewxbox1
  • Keep the Token in a safe place in your office: Except in the specific case where you need to access the database out of the office, the Token should always stay in the office and in a place hidden from public view.
  • Do a backup of your computer each month: Create a duplicate copy of your data so that if a device is lost, stolen, or compromised, you do not also lose your important information. It is best to create a backup on a different device, such as an external hard drive, so that you can easily recover your information when the original device becomes compromised.
  • Lock your computer when you are not working on it: When you leave your computer, you should lock the screen to prevent other people from using your desktop and accessing your files. You will still be logged in and all your applications will keep running, but you will have to enter your password to use your computer again. You can lock the screen manually, but you can also have the screen lock automatically.
  • Install a firewall and antivirus software: They will protect your computer from attacks, viruses, Trojans and spyware.
  • Secure your laptops: Because of their portable nature, laptops are at a higher risk of being lost or stolen than desktops.
  • Be careful with e-mail, IM and surfing the Web: Never click on a link that you weren't expecting or you don't know the origin of in an e-mail or IM.
  • Create roles for different type of users: Amongst your staff you have different types of database user: by default you have the administrator, the coordinator, staff and volunteers. According to their role a staff member has different access privileges, can or cannot see certain information, is or is not able to add/delete some information. Assigning user the correct role is good database management.
 
If you have any questions or inquiries, please contact Jean Brice Tetka, PEP Data and Technology Coordination at jtetka@transparency.org.

News from chapters

Brazil:
Establishing a partnership based on lessons learned from Argentina

German Emanuele, Director of Justice and Citizenship and ALAC Coordinator in the chapter in Argentina, visited our colleagues in Brazil to help the ALAC set up their partnership with the university Pontifícia Universidade de Sao Paulo (PUC), sharing the experience TI Argentina has had in its partnership with the Universidad de Buenos Aires. The ALAC in Argentina operates permanently with the support of 20 law students per year, who work three times per week at the chapter. Their work ranges from answering the telephone, advising clients, working with cases and preparing investigations, to going to meetings with the judiciary and attending trials.  The commitment of the students is vital to process the huge amount of reports and cases effectively.

Inspired by Argentina’s experience, the ALAC in Brazil signed a partnership agreement with The Pontifícia Universidade de Sao Paulo (PUC). Professors and students will dedicate some hours to work with ALAC cases. The University will help the ALAC in promoting volunteer work among students.   In 2016 the University will create a subject “Protecting Whistleblowers”.  This will allow the ALAC in Brazil to work with more cases and at the same time to engage youth in anti-corruption work.
This activity was supported by EUROsociAL, the European Commission's cooperation programme.

For further information on volunteering for the ALAC in Argentina, see the video with Alejandra Martinovic, an Argentina lawyer who volunteered to support the ALAC in Argentina, which featured in our Speak Up News July 2015.
Guatemala:
Revealing ghost jobs in Congress
In October 2014, the chapter received a report of ghost seats from security employees employed by Congress. Allegedly, there was little transparency in the procurement process and in the payment of salaries to security staff working for members of Congress. The chapter made a public information request but the information was not made available. Eventually, after a constitutional protection order was raised to the Constitutional Court and the Board of the Congress was denounced for disobedience by the court, the chapter received the information and transferred it to the International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG) for thorough investigation.

The information revealed the existence of ghosts squares (people hired but not attending work) and that a private company providing security services was receiving large sums of money to pay personnel salaries higher than those paid to contract staff. It was possible to establish a relationship between the private company, contracts for security personnel and former president of Congress Pedro Muadi. After the complaint was made public in mid-2015, a preliminary hearing was requested against Pedro Muadi, who it is estimated grossed around 600,000 Guatemalan Quetzal (€69,957.30 on 5 August 2015) by providing security contracts to Congress.

For information in more detail, please contact Gabriela Ayerdi, ALAC Coordinator, Acción Ciudadana, the chapter in Guatemala, at gabrielaayerdi@accionciudadana.org.gt.
Russia:
City administration versus a Kaliningrad family: justice re-established
In 2014, Aurika turned to TI Russia’s Kaliningrad office for help. A family had been court-ordered to pay the costs of reconstruction after a fire in their apartment. These costs were massively inflated, since little work had taken place and their living conditions remained very poor.  The Russian chapter’s Kaliningrad office analysed the available documents and confirmed that the cost estimates were fraudulent. They then helped Aurika to prepare and submit an appeal against the decision issued by the court of first instance. This resulted in the court’s original ruling being overturned.

For information in more detail, please contact Gabriela Ayerdi, Projects Coordinator, TI Russia, at akoval@transparency.org.ru.
Zimbabwe:
Man wins back “stolen” house after many years of bitter struggle
Rodrick’s parents acquired a house before Zimbabwe achieved independence in 1980. His parents passed away and in early 1998, Rodrick left for Zambia, leaving the house in the custody of his siblings. In 2000, Josiah Tonga came to lodge at the house. He forced Rodrick's mentally-challenged brother to sign an agreement of sale and fraudulently transferred the ownership of the house into his own name. When Rodrick returned from Zambia in 2003, he was shocked to discover that his siblings had been evicted by the “new owner of the house”. Rodrick took the matter to the police and the case went to court. However, Rodrick’s efforts to win justice hit a brick-wall when Josiah allegedly bribed police officers and court officials.

With the chapter’s support, the ruling was overturned and Josiah was evicted from the house in December 2014. A day after his eviction he returned and broke down the house doors. The chapter sought the assistance of the deputy sheriff who came back to evict him again.

*Name has been changed.

For information in more detail, please contact Danai H. Mabuto, ALAC Team Leader, at danai@tizim.org.

The iPad winners are …

The ALAC 2014 Survey garnered numerous lessons learned and insightful results. We also conducted a raffle for five iPads (iPad mini 3, 16 GB WiFi and cellular) with RandomPicker.org – the winners are:
  • Acción Ciudadana, Argentina
  • Fundación Nacional para el Desarrollo (FUNDE), El Salvador
  • TI India
  • TI Latvia
  • TI Macedonia
Congrats to the winners. We hope the iPads will prove useful for your ALAC work: so you can work on the move, collect data during outreach work and for use in fundraising campaigns.
Please tell us how these iPads have supported your work at pep-team@transparency.org.

Honduras:
Collecting US$700,000 from individual people in one year

After hearing how AJS is standing up to powerful wrong-doers, nine-year old James Baldwin supported the Honduran chapter, the Association For a More Just Society (AJS), by donating US$ 50 - two-thirds of the money he possessed. Many other people in the US and in Canada are doing the same and donating to AJS on a regular basis. In 2014, The AJS received donations approximating US$700,000 from private individuals.

AJS started this fundraising work about 15 years ago, with a strong focus on sharing information about corruption, informing people what can be done against it, and building relationships with those who consider the cause important.

The chapter started small, contacting families and friends and continuously building the supporter bases and creating a larger community, ready to provide donations on a regular basis. AJS built its supporter base first in the US and Canada and is now starting a similar scheme in Honduras.
What are the ingredients to such successful fundraising?
  • A long-term commitment towards building relationships and fundraising from individuals
  • Time to meet with people, to organise coffee, luncheons or dinner meetings where people can gather and learn about the impact of corruption and how they can contribute to a more just society
  • Where applicable a tax-exempt organisational form
  • Strong descriptions of the chapter’s work and the cases resolved
  • Telling people what impact their donations have
  • Powerful, knowledgeable, charismatic speakers
  • Staff for communications, outreach and logistics
  • Funding for staffing, communications, outreach, logistics and to organise events
  • Appropriate facilities to host people
  • A long-term commitment towards building relationships and fundraising from individuals
  • Amplifying voices and perspectives of AJS’s Honduran staff — making personal connections and bridging cultural gaps between Honduran staff and supporters in other countries so that they feel connected and engaged
For information in more detail, please contact Evan Trowbridge, U.S. Director of Communications, at evan@ajs-us.org.
Copyright © 2015, Transparency International 

The views expressed in this newsletter do not necessarily reflect the views of TI-S or any individual chapter.


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