Head of the publication of the Global Corruption Report by Transparency International, the Tehran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture organized its annual anti-corruption event on Monday.
Held to mark the International Anti-Corruption Day on Dec. 9, the event was attended by top private sector officials as well as representatives of the United Nations and International Chamber of Commerce for Iran.
Hassan Abedi Jafari, secretary of the event and a TCCIM member, kicked off the meeting by referring to global data indicating that world corruption is currently on a rising trajectory.
“Only 18% of all nations managed to reduce corruption past year .Iran has also not fared well and has failed to score higher than 30 out of 100 in the corruption index while its municipalities, banks, courts, customs and other state entities are vulnerable to corruption. However, Jafari sees a silver lining.
“Hope toward improvements in our country exists in that for a number of years, NGOs and the private sector have emerged as two effective groups vigorously endeavoring to break this faulty cycle alongside and outside the government,” he said.
TCCIM Chairman Masoud Khansari enumerated major challenges facing the country, such as unemployment,negative investment growth rates, and pension funds.
“I believe corruption to be the underlying foundation of all these challenges,” Khansari stressed, adding that a comprehensive crackdown on corruption would remedy all these pains.
As the Law of Improving the Health of Bureaucracy and Combating Corruption–passed six years ago–the leading figure of the private sector said Iran must refrain from “reinventing the wheel” and look to anti-corruption success stories around the world, where countries shy away from enlarging the government, expand their private sectors both in size and authority, and allow full access to their press.
Kaveh Moradi, the representative of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, took to the podium next to emphasize on the importance of anti-corruption drive for the implementation of the 16th sustainable development goal devised by the UN, i.e. peace, justice and strong institutions.
He also read a Farsi rendition of a statement from Yury Fedotov, the executive director of UNODC.
Fight the Malady, Not the Symptom
Delivering a speech at the same event was Gholamhossein Shafei, the head of the Iran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture, initially cited a number of studies indicating the serious adverse impact of corruption on GDP growth, exports and imports, among others.
According to UNODC, every year $1 trillion are paid in bribes and an estimated $2.6 trillion are stolen annually through corruption, representing more than 5% of the global GDP.
“What we are witnessing is a campaign against the corrupt, not corruption,” Shafei said, calling on the private sector to lead the way by devising moral codes of conduct and demanding their implementation.
The event also included a keynote speech by Mohammad Mehdi Behkish, secretary-general of the Iranian National Committee of the International Chamber of Commerce, who mainly accentuated the need for promoting healthy competition in the economy to push back corruption..
Behkish formally bestowed Khansari with ICC’s certificate that recognized TCCIM as the entity in charge of devising corruption-free codes of conduct while it was announced at the event that the corruption evaluation model of private businesses will be unveiled before the next fiscal year starts in March 2018.