Fighting ‘public enemy No. 1’ in developing countries

By James D. Ratley, CFE

jim-ratley-80x80.jpg   From the President and CEO

What fraud is common to all nations? Corruption. Corruption schemes comprise one-third of fraud cases worldwide, as reported in the ACFE’s 2012 Report to the Nations on Occupational Fraud and Abuse — with a median loss of $250,000.

Corruption and bribery enrich strongmen but ravage citizens in many nations. This fraud, according to Dr. Peter Eigen, founder of Transparency International (TI) speaking at a TED Talk conference, perverts “economic policy-making … which is the main reason for the misery, for the poverty, for the conflicts, for the violence, for the desperation. …”

We’re honored to present Eigen, a singular fraud fighter, as a keynoter at the 25th Annual ACFE Global Fraud Conference, June 15-20 in San Antonio, Texas.

When he was working as a World Bank director in Africa in the early 1990s, systematic corruption was undermining all his projects. He says the members of the World Bank — including Germany, his home country — thought that foreign bribery was acceptable. “In Germany … it was even tax-deductible. No wonder that most of the most important international operators in Germany, but also in France and the U.K. and Scandinavia, everywhere, systematically bribed,” he says.

He began to speak out against common bribery practices, but the World Bank ordered him to cease and desist because he was “meddling in the internal affairs of our partner countries.” In 1993, Eigen convened a small group of colleagues in Berlin who agreed that corruption didn’t have to be the norm. They began TI — a global, nonpartisan nonprofit with chapters in more than 100 countries — that continues to help governments, businesses, civil societies and individuals fight the scourge of corruption.

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