José Ugaz was today elected chair of the board of Transparency International, the global anti-corruption organisation present in more than 100 countries.
Ugaz, the Peruvian lawyer with a history of taking on grand corruption, was elected by Transparency International’s annual membership meeting, which brings together the movement’s national chapters and individual members.
“There is still too much corruption out there, and we want to see much more being done about it. We must address the way the corrupt are getting away with it, unmasking them, drawing attention to corrupt schemes such as the abuse of offshore companies, impeding their enjoyment of ill-gotten gains travelling freely and leading a life of luxury while the poor have to pay their bills,” said Ugaz.
José Ugaz prosecuted several top-level corruption cases as Peru’s ad-hoc state attorney. Most notably, he was instrumental in the corruption case against former Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori and Vladimiro Montesinos, the former head of the country’s intelligence services.
Calls for civil society protection, FIFA disclosure
The meeting also passed three resolutions.
Transparency International called on governments to act now to safeguard the space for civil society to work “free from fear, harassment and intimidation.” The resolution warned that space for civil society around the world is deteriorating rapidly, with rising threats including towards Transparency International members.
Another resolution called on FIFA to publish the Garcia report into whether corruption was part of the awarding of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups to Russia and Qatar respectively so that anyone who has been involved in bribery or wrong-doing is held to account.
“FIFA must take concrete steps to win back trust in sport governance at a time when corruption threatens the integrity of sport,” said the resolution. “The ability for sport to act as a force for good in the world is compromised when sports organisations are not held to the highest standards of good governance and accountability.”
Transparency International also resolved to establish a Task Force to review the most effective ways in which the Transparency International movement should formulate positions and make public policy statements about multinational enterprises that have engaged in corrupt activities.
All resolutions are available online here.
International Board of Directors election
The meeting also saw the election of a new vice-chair, Elena Panfilova, the chair of Transparency International Russia.
Six new board members were also elected: Sion Assidon (Morocco), Emile Carr (Sierra Leone), Jeremy Carver (UK), Mercedes de Freitas (Venezuela), Mark Mullen (Georgia) and Elisabeth Ungar Bleier (Colombia). Brief biographies of the elected board members are available here.
Transparency International’s Board of Directors, consisting of 12 members, was until today led by Chair Huguette Labelle and Vice-Chair Akere Muna. Both Labelle and Muna stepped down as chair and vice-chair after 9 years.
“On behalf of the Transparency International movement I thank Huguette and Akere for their decade of dedicated service to the cause of transparency,” said Ugaz. “Their incredible energy and determination has been a constant source of inspiration to us all.”
José Ugaz is a lawyer who was special state attorney in one of the biggest corruption cases in Latin American history.
Ugaz was ad-hoc state attorney of Peru for several corruption cases against the criminal network of former Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori. Fujimori fled the country in 2000 after allegations of systematic and widespread abuse of power. From 2000-2002, Ugaz’s office opened more than 200 cases against 1500 government officials and other associates of Fujimori. Under his mandate, US$205 million in assets were frozen abroad and US$75 million were recovered.
In 2002, Ugaz became President of Proetica, Transparency International’s national chapter in Peru. He was an official at the World Bank’s anti-corruption unit from 2004-2006. He became an individual member of Transparency International in 2008 and has served on Transparency International’s Board of Directors since 2011. He is a teacher of criminal law at the Universidad Católica del Perú since 1986.
Elena Panfilova founded Transparency International’s national chapter in Russia in 1999, serving as its executive director until July 2014, when she became the chapter’s chair.
She has been an academic, consultant and activist, held positions in the OECD and became a member of the Russian Governmental Commission on Open Government. Since August 2014 she has been the head of the Laboratory for Anti-Corruption Policy (which she founded in 2008), working to promote transparency and civil society.