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Public Lecture on Prosecution of Economic Crimes by Chairman- Transparency International

Chairman of Transparency International, Jose Carlos, was graced with a full auditorium and amazing entertainment when he visited Strathmore Law School (SLS) for a public lecture on Prosecution of Economic Crimes, particularly on the issue of Grand Corruption. In his lecture, Jose distinguished between corruption of the past and that of recent times, stating that corruption in the past mainly involved individuals in the public sector. This has since evolved as corruption in the present day is a systematic problem, widespread and in essence, one that affects the way the society is structured.  


The evolution of organized crime is also changing the face of the world, through illicit businesses. They possess a lot of economic, political and military power as is the case in Mexico, where drug trafficking organizations are as powerful or more than the State. Jose argued that this has resulted in change of morals, whereby rigid and traditional mafia characteristics in the past have been abandoned by criminal organizations; such as the territorial aspect and specialized criminal activities that now depend on the capacity of actors to provide services. This thus creates flexible networks that adapt and empower corrupt actors in their illicit activities.


Jose recognized this type of corruption as Grand Corruption, and defined it through three elements; corrupt actors possessing political or economic power; the mobilization of huge amounts of resources due to advance technologies; and the serious effect on fundamental human rights, mostly paid by the poorest people of our countries. The results of these corruptions state capture where illegal organizations take charge of the decisions of a State or even take absolute control of it.


Giving a comprehensive overview of Peru as he investigated the illegal organizational network that seized the State of Peru ran by the former president Alberto Fujimori and his ally Vladimiro Montesinos, Jose mentioned that the reason why Fujimori survived in power for so long was because of impunity, where one steals from the state and there are no consequences to their actions. He highlighted that this was one of the main issues that Transparency International is working on addressing, through the ‘No Impunity’ initiative, adding that he believes it is high time for impunity to be eradicated.


Furthermore, Jose talked about causes of impunity, as per the report prepared by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Causes such as; corruption or lack of independence in the judiciary, political interference, lack of social reaction, and violence or fear.


Jose ended the lecture by challenging everyone; the students, the law school, the lawyers, the activists and, the professionals; to do something about corruption or else the situation will be controlled by the corrupt.