According to Transparency International’s Report, many NATO Members and their partner countries lack control mechanisms for transparency in the Defence Sector. Although obligations exist to respect the principles of democracy and the rule of law, the Report highlights the gap between institutional supervision and anti-corruption controls.
Katherine Dixon, Programme Director Transparency International Defence and Security, said: “Transparent and accountable defence institutions should be the heart of what NATO stands for as an Alliance. At a time of renewed focus on collective defence, NATO needs to be clear on what it is there to defend - societies characterised by the highest democratic standards. NATO is the world’s largest military and political alliance – through partnerships and military deployments NATO also exerts unparalleled global influence. Whether NATO member states are prepared to hold themselves to the highest standards of integrity and whether they are prepared to tackle corruption in states where they are engaged matters enormously to international security.”
The Government Defence Anti-Corruption Index (GI) assesses the existence, effectiveness, and enforcement of institutional and informal controls to manage the risk of corruption in defence and security institutions. Evidence is drawn from a wide variety of open-access sources and interviews of independent experts across 77 indicators to provide governments with detailed assessments of the integrity of their defence institutions. The research was divided between five principal risk areas: political risk, financial risk, personnel risk, operations risk, and procurement risk.
The research included 33 countries; 21 NATO Alliance Members and 12 partner countries. Only half of NATO countries scored in bands A and B – representing “low” and “very low” risks of corruption. Two countries – Portugal and Turkey – scored in Band D representing “high corruption” vulnerability. Nine NATO members which are among the top 20 arms exporters (France, Germany, the UK, Spain, Italy, the Netherlands, Canada, Norway and Turkey) had no parliamentary oversight of upcoming exports, despite continuing to export to countries with weak human rights records and high corruption risks. The Report is part of a series of studies on the integrity of the world’s defence institutions. Findings across the Middle East, Asia, and the G20 show that global military expenditure is rising dramatically in exactly those places where governance is weakest, posing a threat to international peace and stability.
Croatia received a “C”, representing a “moderate” risk of defence corruption along with another eight NATO Members (Bulgaria, Czech Republic, France, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Lithuania and Spain) as well as four partner countries (Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia and Serbia). In Croatia, little information is available on spending across the security and intelligence sector. Research found that the only data that has been made publicly available is a total budget for each institution. Furthermore, the Military Security Intelligence Agency budget has also been spread across different items in the Ministry of Defence’s budget and cannot be estimated.
The appointment process for senior intelligence officials is unclear. Another important area of vulnerability is Croatia’s engagement in defence offset programmes. There are no regulations requiring transparency and they remain almost entirely secret. Offsets are currently regulated by an 'Instruction' which carries less legal weight than an act and gives power to the Minister of Defence and Minister of Economy to directly negotiate conditions with the contractor.
Davorka Budimir, President of TI Croatia, said: ‘Croatia average score on the Government Defence Anti-Corruption Index with moderate corruption risk shows that there is a need for added accountability of all actors in the defence and national security establishments in order to especially improve the public procurement procedures and operations in which the Croatian armed forces participate.’
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