On 18 April, the Group of states against corruption (GRECO) published a report highlighting concerns about the use of emergency procedures to amend legislation in the field of the fight against corruption in Romania. It got back on the implementation of a majority of recommendations of the GRECO about incrimination of corruption and party financing transparency that was judged satisfactory so far, and encouraged Romania to take measures regarding pending recommendations.
In its report published on 24 April, the GRECO congratulated Lithuania for measures that were taken regarding prevention of corruption of members of the parliament, judges and prosecutors and for the partial implementation of a certain number of recommendations, especially with regard to members of the parliament. Yet, it highlighted the necessity to reinforce cooperation between the Chief Official Ethics Commission and other institutions in charge of prevention of corruption of members of the parliament, judges and prosecutors.
Council of Europe
On 22 March, the Committee of Minister of the Council of Europe adopted a recommendation calling its 47 member States regulations in order to promote transparency of lobbying. It recalled the useful and legitimate contribution of lobbying in the definition of public policies and in an enlightened decision-making process, but that must not be done at the expense of ethics and integrity.
In an article published by Euractiv on 11 April 2017, the French national financial prosecutor’s office, headed by Eliane Houlette, got back on the project of creation of a European public prosecutor office that would simplify investigations and facilitate coordination in fiscal fraud affairs or in the framework of complex cases such as the Panama Papers. The discussions on this European project, which was proposed in 2013 by the European Commission, are still at an early stage as during the European Council of 3 March 2017, 19 Heads of States decided to implement an enhanced cooperation on this matter. Other Member States may nonetheless join the discussions or the project at a later stage.
On 5 April, Global integrity published the 2017 edition of Africa Integrity Indicators. The cover transparency, accountability and development in 54 countries of the continent. The report notably concluded with the progress regarding transparency in Tunisia or in Kenya for instance but voiced concerns on restrictions upon citizens’ rights to protest in Cameroun and in Ethiopia. This version is open to comments for two months and a definitive version will be published in June 2017.
One year after the publication of millions of documents, and as Transparency international had just published a column on the impact of the affair highlighting the importance of combining whistleblowing, big data and collaborative journalism, the investigation led by the International consortium of investigative journalists was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for explanatory journalism.
The investigations led by 109 redactions over 76 countries, coordinated by the International consortium of investigative journalists (ICIJ), were based on new information on the opacity of offshore finance and tax heaven, contained in the 11,5 million files from the archives of the Panama Mossack-Fonseca offices. The « Panama papers » allowed to reaveal that thousands of anonymous persons but also heads of states, professional sportsmen or celebrities had used complex financial schemes to dissimulate their assets.