Transparency through amlc _ business, news, the philippine star _ money laundering penalties uk

Peter tanchi, the senior pastor of christ commission fellowship (CCF), had been telling me to write about the need for public officials to sign a waiver of their bank secrecy rights at the same time they sign their oath of office or employment. I told him I had written this a number of times, but he insisted I have to keep writing until it is happens.

The need to stop corruption is the simple justification for what would normally be considered an invasion of privacy. It is a way by which the ombudsman can check allegations of corruption against a public official.

Without it, everything becomes a “he said, he denied” situation that diminishes public trust in our government. I understand indonesia’s highly effective anti-corruption agency, the same one that won the magsaysay award, has that power to look into bank accounts of public officials.

The annual filing of the statement of assets and liabilities and net worth or SALN is not enough.Money laundering penalties uk there must be a way of verifying the data claimed in a SALN. Such verification by AMLC or the anti-money laundering council was proven to be most useful during the impeachment proceedings against former chief justice renato corona.

In the case of vice president jojo binay and his tormentors in the senate, the only way accusations and denials can be verified is through an examination of the bank accounts of the vice president, his family and close associates. It is not enough to just claim the charges are politically motivated because that’s obvious.

It is unfortunate the vice president is opposing the examination of his accounts by AMLC, an agency that works under the bangko sentral, the most trusted of public institutions. By asking the supreme court to stop such an examination, the vice president is sending the subliminal message that he might have something to hide.Money laundering penalties uk nothing responds to accusations of corruption best than the balm of a clean conscience. A clean conscience, on the other hand, removes any fear of an investigation by AMLC.

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Indeed, the AMLC is the best institution we have to keep our officials honest, by following the money through its paper or digital trail. The law should even be strengthened to enable the agency to do its job well. The results of AMLC examinations are now supporting the corruption charges against sen. Jinggoy estrada and sen. Bong revilla before the sandiganbayan.

The claim that an automatic waiver of bank secrecy by a public official invades his privacy does not hold water. So is the claim that it would discourage qualified people from seeking public office. No one forced the official to become a public official. If he is so finicky about his privacy, he should have stayed as a private citizen.Money laundering penalties uk anyone who is reluctant to automatically allow the ombudsman to order AMLC to examine his bank accounts can be presumed to have something to hide.

Indeed, public service is not for everyone. Given the pervasive state of corruption in government today and its negative impact on our country’s development, we have to limit the honor of holding public office only to the most honest of our citizens.

Of course, it would be nice if high government officials are also given a compensation package commensurate to the skills required of the office, as is the case in singapore. We can’t afford to do that yet, but still it is a fact that many of our officials have been getting rich while in office. It is time to find out without doubt how that happened.

The link between corruption and the failure of government to adequately deliver essential public services is clear.Money laundering penalties uk that explains why honesty in public office had been deemed important when people elected P-noy in 2010, even if they had doubts about his leadership abilities. Indeed, kung walang corrupt, walang mahirap.

Speaking for myself, I voted for P-noy even if I thought he is less capable than some of the other presidential candidates because I figured he will not steal while in office and he had mar roxas to help him. At the end of his term, I expect him to go back to the house of his parents on times street, not in an exclusive makati enclave.

My mistake was I didn’t realize P-noy would tolerate corruption and incompetence among his close aides. This explains why people now think daang matuwid is a joke. And I overestimated the effectiveness of mar despite his honesty and best intentions.

This reminds me of something S. Dhanabalan, an associate of the late lee kuan yew wrote on the subject of honesty in the highest places.Money laundering penalties uk he said LKY insisted on honesty even if it meant going against a friend. I hope P-noy reads the next few paragraphs and learns from it.

“to call lee kuan yew my friend would not be quite right. More accurately, we were colleagues. I don’t think he had many friends, because he was so focused on doing what was good for the nation, and that would require him sometimes to act against his friends. If he was too friendly with anyone, that could color his decision, so he was very careful.

“ many leaders of countries are honest. India’s jawaharlal nehru was honest. Julius nyerere in nigeria was honest. Manmohan singh is honest. But that’s not enough. You must be prepared to demand honesty and be ruthless with your relatives and friends if they are not. Otherwise you can’t get the honest culture established.

“lee kuan yew was not only honest, but he was also ruthless in demanding honesty from his colleagues.Money laundering penalties uk you could have been his colleague, you could have fought with him through the long march, it didn’t matter. If you are dishonest, you’re out.

“so I think in order to make sure he did not soften in this approach, he was very careful about establishing friendships with people.”

Too bad P-noy, like his mother before him, thought being honest themselves was enough. They allowed people close to them to do business as usual.

This is why jojo binay should be concerned about this attempt to stop the AMLC from checking his accounts. It shows fear and would color the public perception of his honesty in public office.

True, it can be said that after the experience with a half baked anti corruption program of P-noy, the public probably no longer cares that much about honesty. That probably explains why jojo continues to enjoy the lead among potential presidential candidates in a recent pulse asia survey despite pretty damaging stories about alleged corruption under his watch in makati.Money laundering penalties uk

As far as some people see it, all politicians are crooks anyway so they just vote for the one who helps them. It may be true that in a presidential contest a good political network drubs honesty, but jojo shouldn’t sell himself short.

Jojo has done good things for his constituents in makati to the point of creating a mini welfare state there. Free health care and free high quality education are at the core of what our poverty stricken countrymen need. Having come from the ranks of the poor rather than the traditional elite, jojo understands the basic needs of people and he delivers.

But the jojo I know is bigger and better than his political enemies see him. He showed he has his heart in the right place by being a human rights lawyer when it was dangerous to be one. Now that jojo is writing the final chapter of his life, he needs to remove that cloud of doubt that hangs over him.Money laundering penalties uk otherwise, his legacy would be less than it could have been. He shouldn’t waste his date with destiny with a good segment of the filipino people thinking he might have been less than honest.

It is time for jojo to instruct his law firm to drop that case filed in the supreme court seeking to prevent the AMLC from doing its job. If he is clean, AMLC should be able to testify to that fact because the paper trail from his banks says so.

Otherwise, it would be safe to say not even his supporters fully believe in their hearts that the charges against jojo are simply politically motivated. At the very least there is doubt, but they choose to discount the corruption allegations because they like jojo… and for good reasons too because overall, he had served them well.

It would be very impressive if jojo can stand on a platform and dare AMLC officials to do their job because he knows he has nothing to hide.Money laundering penalties uk

Until AMLC can certify all is clear, people will always think where there’s smoke, there’s fire and as a consequence, think less of public officials. That weakens public confidence in our government and is a threat to our democratic system that its enemies can exploit.

Boo chanco’s e-mail address is bchanco@gmail.Com. Follow him on twitter @boochanco