corruption

Indonesia bans use of dollars, foreign currency

As of July 1st, Indonesian banks and businesses can no longer accept foreign currencies. Stable currencies, with the

US dollar leading the pack, were widely used across the country to sidestep fluctuations in the Indonesian Rupiah (USD1=IDR13,300).

New rules brought in by Bank Indonesia, the central bank, with the aim of re-enforcing ‘macro-economic stability‘ in the country.

The stability of the US dollar and the euro also makes them appealing to financial criminals, from black marketeers to bribe payers. In Indonesia, paying for a hotel in USD, or other luxury goods or services, was widespread. Dollars and euros come in higher value denominations and are easier to transport. The ban on using foreign currency for domestic transactions within Indonesia will have some impact on financial crime. How will the drug lords and corrupt officials spend their cash in Bali and Jakarta if the can’t use dollars? It will be interesting to see how this is enforced and to what extent. Will the first people to be prosecuted be the high-rollers who live by the dollar? Or smaller businesses and individuals trying to save a few rupiah?

Blacklists, PEPs, corruption and regulation. How is 2015 looking so far?

January 15th saw a round of face to face meetings for jurisdictions found to be lacking in the last FATF plenary, with the APG ML in Sydney.

Cambodia, Lao PDR, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Papua New Guinea  all made the last list.  Of the four countries on the high risk list three are in the Asia Pacific region – DPRK, Myanmar and Indonesia. The DPRK  has written to the OECD affirming its commitment to anti-money laundering and has apparently joined the APG as an observer.

Cuba managed to wriggle off the list of high-risk jurisdictions. While we have heard nothing much about its AML efforts, we can only assume that its new found close friendship with the White House has bought the former closed state a little wiggle room. Expect more news on trade barriers opening with Cuba.

ABC – Anti-bribery and corruption

This first ABC story provides a barometer for how the anti-corruption campaign is taking effect in Turkey. A parliamentary committee in Turkey has voted not to pursue investigations into four former ministers accused in a corruption scandal that implicated former Prime Minister Erdogan. Nine members of the 14-strong commission were members of Erdogan’s AK Party. Read more here.

The former president of Taiwan, Chen Shui-bian , currently in the fourth year of a 20 stretch for corruption, has been granted medical leave for brain surgery. But it’s not all rosy for Chen, who is facing a new round of money laundering charges. This time, charges allege he laundered TWD10m (USD321,000) in the proceeds of a bribe through his brother-in-law.

IllegalLogging2

The scale of illegal logging – http://www.illegal-logging.info

Transparency International calling for a bit of light to be shed on what the Solomon islands is doing. A man with close
connections to the logging industry has just been named the new Minister of Forestry for the island nation. Anyone else smell a conflict of interests?

ML and capital flight

Bangladesh – Bank Bangladesh, the central bank and financial intelligence unit has set up a new arm to tackle the high risk areas of TBML and terrorist financing. The move is part of the BB’s initiative to stop capital flight from Bangladesh.

Regulation

CapGemini is predicting a new era of regulation – which is great news  for regulatory professionals. Simplified operations, e-banking,  mobile  banking and other new forms of banking will take prominence, according to the report.

It also echoes a call for a reduction of banker bashing – an easy sport for many, especially those who are not employed in banking. Banker bashing may soon become a thing of the past; not because they all stop taking cocaine and becoming good people , although according to this  Guardian report it has happened , but because new financial firms, relying on new technology, will supersede banks.

Banks are like enormous cruise ships once built in Europe’s shipyards – requiring millions of hands to operate, weighed down by tonnes of heavy metal and taking aeons to change course. New smaller, lighter firms can evolve, develop and zip around the market with as much flexibility as new millennial customers require.

China’s regulators have published new AML guidance to help insurers to play their part in the fight against money laundering. More details are available via a subscription here. Also check the China Insurance Regulatory Commission for more updates.

A sombre note to conclude, and remind us of the battles some of our colleagues face when reporting financial crime to the authorities. Three policemen are under arrest in Vietnam charged with plotting to murder a witness in a bribery case.

First published on the ICA blog in January 2015.

Compliance Carols

This is the time of year to roll out the platitudes and look back over the past 12 months, at the high points and low points  and this blog is no exception.

2014 has been a great year for compliance, mainly thanks to the numerous investigations into rate rigging, market

Christmas Candle

Christmas Candle

manipulation and sanctions breaches which although on a global scale, have affected the Asia Pacific region.

Terrorist financing

Starting on a very sombre note, the Australian police force has arrested and charged two men with giving AUD15,000 to ISIS by funding flights for Australians who went to join the jihad in Syria. There is no evidence linking this to the tragic siege in a Sydney cafe in December, perpetrated by an apparently mentally ill man. Nor are their any direct links between that and the barbaric terrorist attack on a school in Peshawar carried out by the Taliban who murdered more than 130 people, the majority of whom were children. Who is funding the Taliban? The UK, US and foreign aid budgets have been variously named as unwitting donors. But that is all old news. Terror was still being funded in 2014.

Last Christmas I broke the law for you

BNP have claimed the top of the Christmas tree this year with their admission to breaching US sanctions on Sudan, Iran and Cuba, accepting the largest financial penalty to date issued for this type of breach, an eye watering USD8.97bn, which is roughly how much money it sluiced for sanctioned entities between 2004 and 2012. The penalty has focused attention on sanctions, and upon the intricate systems used by BNP to hide transactions.

He sees when you are grafting, he knows when you’r e on the take

Corruption gained a very high profile in APAC this year, with President Xi Jinping launching merciless attacks on former allies and fellow politicians who have skimmed from the national coffers. Although some view this as a political purge with corruption used as an overcoat, the message sent out is loud and clear: you’d better watch out, you’d better not graft.

Lonely this Christmas

Hong Kong’s Independent Commission Against Corruption officers will surely be celebrating this week  as it landed a prize scalp. A jury found HK’s former second official – Rafael Hui – guilty of accepting HK$8.5m (£700,000) from executives of the Sun Hung Kai Properties development company. The case has exposed the intricate links between the SAR’s government and powerful property developers; Hui’s case is the latest conviction. He is due to be sentenced in time for Christmas in Hong Kong’s jail, which will be a far less chilling residency than those of peers in Mainland China.

All you want for Christmas is a job in KYC

Recruitment in Asia Pacific compliance is still booming. Banks in Hong Kong are looking for lawyers to shore up their regulatory defences but all is not lost for those without a law degree. Back in August, recruiters in Singapore were crying out for customer on boarding and know your customer specialists, as well as project managers to fill posts. While the legal eagle-eye view on financial crime is still viewed as a safe bet, firms still need hands-on practitioners to do the real work.

Financially include the world

One of the biggest campaigns to gain ground in 2014 is the rally behind financial inclusion –  lead by various non-governmental organisations including the Bangkok head-quartered  Alliance for Financial Inclusion. Financial inclusion aims to provide appropriate financial services to those who are excluded from the financial sector and as a result, are at the mercy of ruthless money lenders, usurers and criminals who use exploitation – whether via labour or sex – to earn money. If you could borrow money from someone who would not try to sell you or your children into slavery, you would, wouldn’t you? If the world’s biggest banks are looking in earnest to change their reputations for the good, they could do worse than to reach out to the less profitable sections of society, who could do with some support.

12 corps avoiding… or is that evading?

To round off with some festive cheer, let’s all join in with a rousing chorus of the 12 Tax Dodgers of Christmas, 38Degrees’ reworking of a popular Xmas carol to highlight those who chose to hide their wealth rather than paying taxes in the country where they make their vast fortunes. Step up Amazon, Caffe Nero, Johnny Walker et al.

Or maybe it should be‘O come all ye shameful.’

First published on the ICA blog in December 2014.

The winds of change have rolled in with the Asian Autumn

Since early October, students in Hong Kong have protested against China’s reneged promise of free and fair elections. This coming from the country who protested last when its citizens lost money en masse due to the misselling of minibonds in 2008. They used to say that HK only protests if the people lose their money. Clearly, this is no longer the case.

Protesters in Hong Kong

Protesters in Hong Kong

Demonstrators are congregating under Occupy Central movement in Hong Kong’s financial centre – the home to massive private banks and numerous boutique finance houses and wealth management companies. they want the monied and the money managers of Hong Kong’s financial and business districts to sit up and take note.

The protests, marred by violent clashes this weekend, are garnering global attention. If Hong Kong succeeds in its bid for elections that are not controlled by business and political interests from Beijing, what developments can we expect in how financial services are supervised?

A PEP with more than one account….

Meanwhile, in the Philippines a large scale corruption case is hitting the headlines. Senator Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr., his wife, children and siblings held 81 bank accounts which they used to hide the proceeds of corruption, the Philippine prosecutors have alleged in court.

Ramon Revilla Jr - www.imgsoup.com

Ramon Revilla Jr – http://www.imgsoup.com

Having a large number of bank accounts, according to an expert witness from the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) is a sign of a ‘money laundering scheme.’ While the number of accounts held may be significant in this case, simply having a few bank accounts is not always an indication that the account holder is a money launderer, but incidences of this nature are always worth a closer look. Finding out why a client has several accounts, and then carrying out some link analysis between accounts to verify that their reasons make sense should clear up any suspicions. Of course, if your client is politically exposed person, as Senator Revilla Jr is, there is an even greater urgency to investigate.

Strictly Pacific..

The Asia Pacific Group on Money Laundering (APGML) has issued a statement expressing its concern about Vanuatu, the tiny Pacific island jurisdiction. APGML is concerned that Vanuatu has not criminalised ML/TF adequately, is unable to screen for sanctioned terrorists, does not undertake adequate customer due diligence and has no AML framework for non-banking entities. Vanuatu is a weak link in the APGML’s regional armour, but in terms of the big tax secrecy havens, it is a small player. It did not even rank in Forbes’ 2010 list of the Top Ten Tax Havens. London and Singapore were on the list.

De-risking vs exclusion

The Financial Action Task Force has reacted to warnings that stronger regulation for anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing could result in financial exclusion as institutions pull services from jurisdictions and groups deemed not worth the risk. Some on the sector claim that de-risking – as the process is known – would drive the so-called ‘shadow economy’, the use of alternative financial systems which can be both beneficial and nefarious, but are almost certainly unregulated. Now that the banking sector has spent vast resources developing regulatory systems that are meaningful and effective, is there a real fear that the users will turn to unregulated systems simply because they are scrutinised less? Regulators, it appears, are struggling with balancing how to do their job and not stifle innovation.

For Hong Kong, the struggle is a little more pressing. They are balancing their freedom to vote, with Beijing’s desire for control. China may turn out to be a risky partner for Hong Kong, but for the Special Administrative Region, de-risking may not be an option.

First published on the ICA blog in October 2014.

Hong Kong’s wealth industry to focus on compliance and ethics

FCA - Hong Kong

Hong Kong

Imagine the scenario. Sandy, a relationship manager with a private wealth company in Hong Kong has hit only 50 per cent of her quarterly sales target. In the cut-throat world of trickle down economics, not meeting the target means that Sandy will not earn a salary-making bonus and more importantly, will lose her job. Sandy needs to hook a major client with more than a few million kicking around to invest. So when a client that Sandy has been chasing for a couple of months finally calls for a meeting and offers a deal that could take our RM over target and into the firm’s very good books, how cautiously will Sandy approach the deal? Would a private wealth relationship manager refuse the business of a multi-million dollar client if there are apparent red flags for money laundering, corruption or tax evasion? Would they try to side step customer due diligence? Would they even recognise the red flags in the first place?

The Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) has endorsed a brand new standard for private wealth managers which should go some way to answering the questions raised here. The Enhanced Competency Framework (ECF) encourages customer-facing employees – the relationship managers who often know their clients better than any other bank employee – to upgrade their skills and practice in terms of competency, compliance and ethics.

A relationship manager is best placed to identify when a client’s requests or account activity is suspicious or not in line with their usual account activity. However, incentive schemes which encourage relationship managers to sign up clients in an increasingly competitive market can raise issues around ethical behaviour.

It is important to note that the standards are non-statutory, which means that practitioners can volunteer to take the training courses to gen up on professional competency, compliance and ethics, but they are not required to do so. Although this removes some of the impact these standards could have had on the private wealth management industry, it is still a step in the right direction. The ECF will be administered by the Private Wealth Management Association, an industry group, and the framework does reflect an increased industry interest in improving and maintaining professional standards. Past attitudes to training on compliance and anti-money laundering in Hong Kong has varied between institutions.

Hong Kong, living the high life

Hong Kong, living the high life

One firm I know of has experienced great challenges in convincing HK based financial institutions of the need to train employees. Perhaps the new standards and the HKMA backing hint at a change in how institutions are approaching business. Making these standards a statutory requirement would show that Hong Kong is taking competency, compliance and ethics in the private wealth management seriously.

Cleaning up the murky world of private wealth in Hong Kong could shed light on some of the practices which have allowed some in the city to amass enormous wealth, and left others languishing.

PEP Alert Romania: President’s brother arrested in bribery case

BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) — Police have arrested the brother of the Romanian president on suspicion of taking a bribe and using the president’s name to promise he could get a prison sentence reduced.

The Bucharest Court late Friday approved an application from anti-corruption prosecutors to arrest Mircea Basescu for 30 days on suspicion of taking a bribe of 250,000 euros ($340,000) from the family of a well-known convict. Basescu had been detained on Thursday, but only for 24 hours.

His arrest came after a video was broadcast in which he appeared to acknowledge receiving a bribe to help reduce the sentence of Sandu Anghel, who is imprisoned for attempted murder. Mircea Basescu has denied wrongdoing.

President Traian Basescu has denied intervening in the case and has distanced himself from his brother.

Source: AP

Corruption: Does my bung look big in this?

In March, the US Department of Justice has slapped a USD88m fine on Japanese firm Marubeni for their involvement in a seven-year campaign to bribe high ranking FCA - US DOJIndonesian members of parliament and other public officials. The DOJ account of how the bribes were orchestrated sheds some light on the process. One of the most amusing elements of the case reveals how deep-seated bribery and corruption plays out in the meeting rooms of corporations, using specially drafted consultants to manage the deals and how officials react when they feel they are being short-changed.

The first ‘graft’ consultant was offered three per cent of the total deal in commission, for feeding the appropriate hands in parliament and at state-owned companies. The bribe-takers, in this case officials at the national power company, griped that their gifts might not be substantial enough to secure their favour and when word of their unhappiness reached the right ears, his commission was reduced to one per cent and a second ‘graft’ specialist was brought in to seal the deal. This is how bribes are made – no brown envelopes, nothing is under the counter. It is open, documented and built into the budget.

The DOJ used the extra-territorial provisions of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act to target the firm. Marubeni pleaded guilty to eight charges – read the full DOJ report here

Repercussions

Repercussions for the firm extend far beyond the dollar fine. Marubeni is subject to investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigations, and the presence of the agents alone around the US offices is enough to cause concern for future clients.

Damage to its reputation could have a significant effect on future business, allowing the competition to step in and win contracts based on the fact that they are not on the receiving end of a DOJ penalty and probe.

Last but by no means least, comes the remedial action the firm must take, as dictated by the terms of their plea agreement. This is the real meat for Governance, Risk and Compliance professionals.

Marubeni has agreed to maintain and implement an enhanced global anti-corruption compliance program and to cooperate with the department’s ongoing investigation. This will be a large cost to the firm. The agreement also highlights the apparent lack of an effective ‘compliance and ethics program’ as a factor in the final plea agreement.

Regrettably for Marubeni, all of its dirty dealings were recorded in emails which detail conversations between consultants and Marubeni, including percentages to be paid in commissions.

Two former executives have pleaded guilty to FCPA breaches and two more face charges.

A consortium of failures

Some of the failings noted in the DOJ final notice.

Two senior executives,, both in sales’ positions, have pleaded guilty to conspiracy to breach the FCPA.

Allegations of bribery were laid against two more executives in July 2013; by March 2014, these allegations were not proven.

According to court filings, Marubeni, its employees, and other parties paid bribes to officials in Indonesia for assistance in securing a USD118m contract, known as the Tarahan project. The contract was for Marubeni and its consortium partner to provide power-related services for the citizens of Indonesia.

The bribe-takers included a high-ranking member of the Indonesian Parliament, senior members of Perusahaan Listrik Negara (PLN), the state-owned and state-controlled electricity company.

The two consultants hired in connection with the Taharan project to provide legitimate consulting services were, according to the DOJ, taken on to pay bribes to Indonesian officials.

Does my bung look big in this?

E-mails between employees at the Marubeni subsidiary in Indonesia gave details of the bribery system and concerns or demands of the bribe takers.

Officials from the state power company expressed ‘concern’ about whether the agent FCA - Pocket moneywould provide them with satisfactory ‘rewards’ or maybe her would ‘only give them pocket money and disappear.’ Clearly, the bent state-employees of Indonesia can see when their own warped integrity could be devalued. Comments that the agent has not shown he was ‘willing to spend money’ might even suggest that, radically, he was not prepared to offer enormous bribes.

Either way, he lost the gig. A mail sent by Marubeni employees stated the following: “unfortunately our agent almost did not execute his function at all, so far. In case we don’t take immediate action now now [sic], we don’t have any chance to get this project forever.”

The first graft consultant still got his one per cent commission, even though a second bribe expert was brought in to close the deal, on the remaining two per cent commission.

The report concludes with this comment:

“Marubeni and its co-conspirators were successful in securing the Tarahan project and subsequently made payments to the consultants for the purpose of bribing the Indonesian officials. Marubeni and its co-conspirators paid hundreds of thousands of dollars into the first consultant’s bank account in Maryland to be used to bribe the member of Parliament. The consultant then allegedly transferred the bribe money to a bank account in Indonesia for the benefit of the official.”

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Dying to tell the story

A decade ago, when I started writing about money laundering, organised crime and corruption, my editor told me this was sometimes a dangerous job. Aside from a few scrapes with sub-editors and the occasional less then co-operative government press officer, I have had few misgivings about the subject I write about and have never been in any danger (that I know of…).

I do recall once finding a series of internal memos from a multi-national bank that had been leaked on-line. The file was made up of letters, emails and account ledgers with hand written comments from the institution’s compliance officer, claiming emphatically that certain transactions did not constitute money laundering. I quietly showed file to a colleague, who  added a healthy dose of scepticism to the conversation. He questioned the file’s legitimacy, it could have been posted by a disgruntled employee, and pointed out to me that as the CO in question had just been announced a member of our firm’s advisory board, it might be prudent not to follow it up. To my great shame, I did not pursue it.  Fortunately, several other people did and the CO in question stood down from his post. Unfortunately, I did not save the link to the files so cannot share that with you.

The real heroes of corruption journalism are out there exposing embezzlement, graft and politically exposed persons who abuse their positions whenever they can.  Tetyana Chornovol, the Ukrainian FCA - Tatyana Chornovilinvestigator who was brutally assaulted by members of the ex-Ukrainian president‘s security force, and her peers have done so in Ukraine and their efforts have borne fruit; a corrupt regime was ousted. Chornovol survived the attack and is now the head of the new Ukrainian government’s anti-corruption bureau.

Gone but not forgotten

Here is a list of prominent anti-corruption writers who have felt the might of their opposition.


FCA - CardosoCarlos Cardoso, affectionately referred to as the Patron Saint of Corruption Journos by some, is one such hero. Back in November 2000, Cardoso was gunned down in Mozambique. Cardoso published a corruption news letter which he circulated to 400 subscribers from diplomatic, government and business circles. Six men were put on trial for Cardoso’s murder. Journalists in Mozambique were cautious about reporting sensitive stories since then.

 

Then we have figures such as Anna Politkovskaya, the Russian reporter with Novaya Gazeta, a paper which criticised the Russian government and questioned the sources FCA - Politkovskayaof wealth owned by rising oligarchs, was shot and killed outside her home in November 2006. Politkovskaya was reporting on the war and atrocities in Chechnya, as well as the sources of ‘new Russian’ wealth.

FCA - LitvinenkoAleksandr Litvinenko was poisoned by polonium-210 in London, almost one month after he accused the Russian government of murdering Politkovskaya. Litvinenko, a former secret service agent who spoke out against a corrupt regime in Russia, was arrested and jailed twice before fleeing to the UK where he was granted political asylum in 2000, and from where he continued to speak and write about corruption.

 

Further back, we have the woman whose work and sadly her death, gave rise to the asset seizure structure employed by governments and the law globally to freeze and confiscate assets bought with the proceeds of crime. Veronica Guerin spent years pursuing major crime bosses in Ireland to expose the real nature of their money making enterprises. She was shot twice and injured before the bad guys finally killed her on June 26th 1996 as she waited in her car at a traffic light in Dublin. Her murderers came from the major drug traffickers in Dublin who she had doggedly pursued, questioning their lavish lifestyles with no apparent sources of income.

FCA - Guerin

Within a week of her murder, the Oireachtas, the Irish parliament, enacted the Proceeds of Crime Act 1996 and the Criminal Assets Bureau Act 1996, which allowed the government to seize assets suspected of being acquired with the proceeds of crime. This legislation was the blueprint for similar legislation in the UK (POCA 2002).

The title of this blog is taken from the Freedom Forum conference Guerin was due to speak at on June 28th 1996.

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Yanukovych’s corrupt excesses, secret files and attacks on activists

When the Ukrainian people descended upon the palatial presidential palace Mezhihiyra in Kiev, they found reams of documents detailing the administration’s corruption; some had been burned. Some files were thrown into a lake by security guards loyal to Yanukovych and with the motive of  protecting their own involvement in the schemes FCA - marble lavvyplayed out by the administration to steal billions from the public coffers. Fortunately, the papers were saved and teams of investigative reporters from the Yanukovychleaks project have pieced together details. Follow them at Yleaks.

Buzzfeed has put around ten per cent of the info into this list.

A disgusting amount was spent on the Mezhihirya Residence, the former state owned residence of Ukrainian ruler’s, of which Yanukovych claimed ownership in 2009; think marble floored toilets, fleets of luxury cars that never left the grounds, enough fresh flowers to put Elton John to shame and Liberace style interiors. Even more was syphoned off public funds via a series of invoices to Italian and Ukrainian design teams for last minute ‘arch-urgent’ design changes, whatever that means.

More alarmingly, are two lists of people which were prepared for the President by one of his security team. Ten members of the controversial Femen group, whose tactic to draw attention to their corrupt government is to gain as much exposure as possible by exposing themselves in public. Despite their critics, these women drew attention to their country by appealing to the lowest common denominator; bare flesh attracts attention.

Another list of ten investigative journalists was produced, which may have been no surprise to those on the list, but frightens those who speak and act against corruption. The bodyguard had even logged and recorded a chillingly brief account of a planned attack on a journalist who must have got too close to the truth. Tetyana Chornovil was attacked hours after publishing an article about a luxury home owned by a government minister. The bodyguard’s final entry for the event reads: “1am – clean.”FCA - Tatyana Chornovil

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Bribery: Betel nuts and mobile cards

FCA - BetelnutNepalese customs officers on the India border have turned to traditional betel nut shops and prepaid mobile cards to accept bribes from travellers. Border officers on both sides can be fastidious in collecting bribes. A few years ago, an Indian friend was travelling to Nepal, when their bus was stopped by border officials. Everyone on the bus paid a sum of money to the customs officer without flinching. My friend, knowing she had nothing to hide, refused to pay. The official refused to get off the bus without his bung. In the end, the other passengers told my friend to pay, because they either had something to hide, or just wanted to get on with their journey. Such is bribery.

Customs officials adopt new methods of bribery

Armed Police Force (APF) personnel and other officials mobilised at the Mechi Customs Office have come up with new and innovative ways of receiving bribes from service seekers. They receive bribes from traders and other service seekers indirectly either from nearby betel nut shops where the amount is collected or in the form of mobile top-up balance cards.

The office had recently installed a dozen closed circuit cameras to monitor the illegal activities of the security personnel and officials. However, the move has become ineffective in controlling such activities.

In a scene observed in the area, an Indian street vendor came up to the border with his cycle loaded with goodies. The security personnel and custom officials deputed came up to him and took a brief look at the goodies. The vendor then walked to a nearby betel nut shop, acted as if he wanted to buy something and left the shop after leaving IRs 50 there.

A local businessman said the amount of bribe collected throughout the day is shared among the officials later. Likewise, some street vendors buy pre-paid mobile balance top-up cards for the officials. According to a street vendor, the recharge card technique is popular among women officers. Instead of under-the-table deals in which the risk of being exposed remains high, the new techniques leave no trail of the officials’ unscrupulous activities.

Under the condition of anonymity, a businessman from Khoriwari in India said it was worthless to try and pass goods through the eastern border without bribing officials. Locals buying daily essentials from across the border are harassed the most, while the business men paying off the bribe are let scot-free. The customs office and the APF depute three separate teams at the border per day. Sources say each team collects approximately Rs 3,000 to Rs 5,000 as bribe every day.

Meanwhile, Mukti Pandey, chief of the Mechi Customs Office said he has received complaints that security personnel and other officials receive bribes and that he will initiate a probe into the matter soon. He also expressed hope that the CCTV cameras would help control bribery.

Posted on: 2014-03-05 12:18

Source: eKantipur

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