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“Citizens must not only hear of the war against corruption. They must also see evidence of it.” By Kiana Wilburg “Citizens must not only hear of the war against corruption. They must also see evidence of it. Therefore, government’s approach to this cancer must be intense in word and action.”Economist,Dr. Clive ThomasThis is the opinion of economist, Dr. Clive Thomas who recently commented on the intentions as well as the efforts being made by the new administration in rooting out corruption.He noted, however, that government must also place emphasis on modernizing Guyana’s anti-corruption laws. He said, too,Cheap Wholelsale NFL jerseys, that it is imperative for the APNU+AFC administration to start working towards getting its investigative commission on corruption up and running. He reminded that the party vowed during the 2015 election campaign season that this would be done within 100 days of being in office.The financial commentator made this statement, among others, during an exclusive interview with this newspaper last week.“The issue of corruption and how devastating it can be to the economy cannot be underestimated. It’s an epidemic in Guyana and the task is now up to the new government to rectify this. But stopping corruption won’t be easy. It requires modernizing our legislation, because what corruption has now evolved to today is not covered in some of our laws. We also need a Commission or Steering Committee that will be dedicated to seeing the laws adhered to, and those disregarding it, punished.”The economist expressed that for the time being, the law provides for criminal penalties for official corruption. Several laws cover various aspects of corruption, including the Integrity Commission Act, the Fiscal Management and Accountability Act, the Audit Act, and the Criminal Law Enforcement Act.He said that for too long, “many engaged in corrupt activities and are yet to do the time. That should not be. We need to get serious. We need to be resolute and practical about our approach to the matter.”The columnist said that with regard to APNU+AFC’s intended Investigative Commission on Corruption, it should be complemented by a Steering Committee that will look at the needed improvements to the anti-corruption laws.He suggested that such a Committee should have close relations with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Transparency Institute Guyana Inc., and the Guyana Bar Association. He said that these bodies are all important links in identifying where corruption takes place and how to intensify the fight against it.He added that government can also solicit help from the international conventions against corruption.Dr. Thomas reminded that it was under the previous administration that Guyana became a signatory to the Inter-American Convention Against Corruption and the United Nations Convention Against Corruption. He said that the treaties allow for Guyana to receive technical assistance on approaches that will be effective when dealing with corruption.Dr. Thomas articulated that incorporating the international community into the process would lend more credence to the exercise.“It would also prevent people from saying it is just another partisan witch-hunt. I am against all forms of corruption. We need to put systems in place to prevent the reoccurrence of the kind of corruption that existed under the previous administration.‘I don’t want the people I support politically to be involved in corrupt activities, and the best way to do this, is by putting in place the laws and mechanisms to guarantee its enforcement so as to prevent those persons there now from being tempted somewhere along the line.”Dr. Thomas also asserted that the fight against corruption in all its forms will be made stronger with the involvement of the international corporations.“With the help of the anti-corruption conventions we signed on to, we can get help in monitoring offshore accounts in some territories. Other countries are doing this like China and the USA who are partnering to find and prosecute corrupt officials trying to stash ill-gotten wealth in varying countries,” he added.He noted that a significant proportion of economic transactions in Guyana are inspired by criminal motivations. He said that among these are repeated instances of general corruption and fraud, generating and distributing proceeds from organized crime, illegal capital flight,http://www.cheapcustomjerseys.us.com/MLB/, tax evasion and foreign currency substitution (US dollar) in day-to-day transactions.Based on a study he conducted over the period 2001 to 2008, Dr. Thomas found that the underground economy yields a size of approximately $188B or US$940 million. He estimated that the public procurement frauds, which took place under the PPP,Cheap NFL Jerseys, amount to about $140billion.He explained that Guyana’s underground economy refers to corrupt transactions that are prohibited by law and/or are undertaken by unauthorized providers. It has two main drivers: tax evasion and regulatory non-compliance.He said too, that government needs to place special attention on two other areas of significant illegality and corruption in Guyana,Cheap MLB Jerseys, which generate massive economic hemorrhaging; illicit capital flight and the criminal underground economy.Dr. Thomas explained that in Guyana, illicit capital flight refers to assets, whether legally obtained or otherwise by residents, which are intentionally transferred, smuggled, or sent abroad without the knowledge of the Guyana Revenue Authority and other oversight authorities.These,Cheap Jerseys From China, he said, are not generally intended to yield proceeds that will be returned to the country. Because these transactions are illegal, they are kept secret.“Therefore, when capital flight occurs, the capital disappears from Guyana’s financial/asset records, even though it might turn up in records elsewhere.”Dr. Thomas firmly believes that this occurred “by the billions” under the PPP/C and stressed that as the new government pursues all its forensic audits, this aspect should also be given attention.“During the 1980s and 1990s, capital flight was widely acknowledged as a major problem confronting Guyana. During the 2000s, however, it has been barely referenced by the authorities. During that time, capital flight resumed with a vengeance. This took place because the previous ruling political elites promoted collusion, through mutually-supporting networks,Wholesale Soccer Jerseys, with criminal endeavours seeking to evade the regulatory and oversight functions of the state,” Dr. Thomas had said.He added, “As I have argued elsewhere, this presently constitutes the starkest reminder of the ongoing criminalization of the state…”He then made reference to data accumulated from two international sources responsible for annual tracking and reporting on aspects of global capital flight, including Guyana. One is the United Nations and the other is the Global Financial Integrity (GFI) founded in 2006.Dr. Thomas noted that for the years, 2010-2012, Guyana’s illicit financial flows had averaged US$443million or approximately G$90billion. Although these flows do not fully account for total capital flight, he said that they provide an order of magnitude for that sum.He had said that by any standard, this is a huge amount that has risen rapidly during the 2000s.“Retrospectively, the 2010-2012 average compares to US83 million back in 2003.This had doubled to US$173 million by 2006, and more than doubled yet again by 2010 to US$575million. The recorded growth in capital flight therefore, has been explosive during the 2000s,” he concluded.
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