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12 March 2012
Corruption is a much greater problem in the UK than previously recognised and needs to be responded to by enforcement, transparency and accountability, according to a University expert.
Professor Mike Levi of Cardiff School of Social Sciences told an audience at the University’s Glamorgan Building that recent events such as the All Wales Ethnic Minority Association (Awema) alleged financial scandal and the News of the World’s phone hacking controversy have highlighted corruption issues domestically as well as in the developing world.
Speaking as part of the Transparency International UK event Does the UK have a corruption problem?, Professor Levi said: "A series of high profile incidents such as MPs’ expenses and the Awema issue in Wales have shown that there is an urgent need to confront accusations of corruption if the legitimacy of authority is to be sustained.
"Integrity issues have attained a greater social and political significance and are taken as symbols of the ethical health of the nation, at home and internationally. Corruption undermines good governance, the rule of law and human rights and can also lead to the misuse of resources as well as a distortion of the financial markets.
"Obviously the UK in general and Wales in particular do not experience the scale of demands from public sector people for bribes in order to do their job, but economic pressures and beliefs that others are out for themselves can undermine people’s sense of service."
Professor Levi has been conducting national and transnational research on white-collar and organised crime, money laundering and proceeds of crime confiscation since 1972. He is the only British academic to be appointed to the new European Commission’s Group of Experts on Corruption and to the World Economic Forum Organised Crime Council. In 2011 he was part of the review board for the UK’s National Integrity Report which outlines how major institutions such as the media, police, and courts handle transparency, corruption and integrity issues.
The main presentation at the event was given by Professor Michael Macaulay of Teesside University who authored the report Corruption in the UK. He outlined the report’s principal conclusions about the state of corruption and anti-corruption in public administration, law enforcement and the media. The seminar was introduced by the Executive Director of Transparency International UK, Chandhu Krishnan.
Transparency International is the country’s leading anti-corruption organisation and part of the global Transparency International (TI) movement. With a network of people in more than 90 counties, the organisation has unparalleled global understanding and expertise.
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