Open Letter – UN Secretary-General, Global Anti-corruption systems for SDGs
Mr. António Guterres
405 E 45th Street,
New York, NY, 10017
December 17, 2023
Dear Secretary-General Mr. António Guterres,
Corruption costs nations $2 trillion, and public procurement fraud leads to $1 trillion in damages to communities. An additional $1 trillion is extracted yearly from nations through aggressive tax optimization schemes with the help of professional enablers - Big Four companies and other consulting companies.
According to the latest UN Conference on Trade & Development World Investment Report 2023, countries face an annual funding gap of $4 trillion for the Sustainable Development Goals.
Corruption ($2 trillion per year) and tax dodging ($1 trillion per year) rob the resources to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for 95% of the global population.
Given the fact that:
1. The primary obstacle hindering the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and human rights goals is corruption,
2. Funds raised through taxation by governments are being used to finance anti-corruption initiatives, benefiting:
- Law enforcement agencies are susceptible to political influence and patronage, leading to inefficient leaders prioritizing their personal agendas over the public interest.
- Public institutions that engage in flawed and biased procurement practices, granting contracts for audit, investigation, due diligence, and anti-corruption services to the Big Four audit and consulting companies which are themselves enablers of corruption and facilitate an estimated $1 trillion in annual tax evasion, causing double harm to both the population and honest entrepreneurs,
3. In most countries, there is a lack of genuine political will to combat grand corruption impartially, as the leadership of anti-corruption institutions is often politically appointed,
4. The judicial and prosecutorial systems pose a significant risk of being captured by corrupt interest groups, with prosecutors failing to investigate systemic corruption and prioritizing cases involving the political opposition,
5. Individuals who dare to investigate corruption face intimidation, marginalization, threats, financial losses, reputational damages, defamatory online campaigns (through fake profiles, defamatory Google shopping ads schemes, negative keywords, defamatory autocomplete search suggestions and manipulated search engine results (through negative SEO tactics and spam links indexed by search engines for my name near defamatory words to discredit me), professional exclusion and social exclusion, very damaging to a person's reputation and livelihood.
6. In the most corrupt countries, 80% of state contracts, funded through embezzled money from the population (taxes), fall into the hands of organized criminal groups engaged in money laundering from prior corrupt activities These corrupt shareholders reap annual profits in the millions from state contracts obtained through fraudulent practices, despite their qualifications and results in a fair and competitive market justifying no more than a $40,000/year income. The additional millions in earnings annually are unequivocally linked to state contracts obtained through corruption and unfair competition practices.
7. Beyond the direct financial impact, and I reference here the case of Romania, these corrupt firms perpetuate dysfunctional systems within public institutions. They create incorrect and incomplete anti-corruption systems that are easily exploited by their organized criminal groups. They also develop defective strategy execution and performance management systems for the judicial systems and the Ministry of Internal Affairs, causing extra billions of dollars in damages annually. Moreover, they develop dysfunctional IT systems in the Ministry of Finance, contributing to increased administrative costs for honest businesses and stress for ordinary citizens. Most alarmingly, these organized criminal groups are granted access to sensitive citizen data, which they exploit for cybercrimes, as outlined in the disclaimer below. Such cybercrimes range from blocking the filing of electronic fiscal declarations for targeted citizens, without notification, to harassing honest entrepreneurs through online defamatory campaigns. Urgent action is needed to protect economic integrity, security, and individual safety.
It results that the existing anti-corruption institutions fail to serve the public interest and do not adequately address the root causes of corruption.
In light of the circumstances described above, to effectively combat the $2 trillion in annual corruption that undermines the livelihoods of individuals and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), please include for debate and immediate implementation the following impactful anti-corruption system and human rights initiatives:
Empower public oversight, civil society, and citizens' investigative efforts (including independent investigators and investigative journalists) to address the needs of the 90% of the population, the robbed and impoverished citizens, by:
Reducing the costs of investigations by:
1.1.1. Updating and improving the UN Convention Against Corruption, specifically Article 9 (Public procurement and management of public finances) and Article 10 (Public reporting) so that it will enforce:
1.1.1. a. Mandatory and legally-binding proactive disclosure of structured information by public institutions regarding the actual beneficiaries of state contracts and grants, down to the level of individual shareholders and beneficiaries in whose bank accounts those funds end up, from 2008 – present, to address the risks of money laundering and unfair competition created by new businesses that have been established using the proceeds of crime.
This is essential to identify the individuals who were, for instance, not qualified neither for a $20,000/year job in a public institution, who never invented anything, yet who have made $millions in profits yearly through corruption from EU-funded state contracts obtained through fraudulent public procurement schemes, in the same area of expertise they can’t provide more than 5% value, depriving more qualified law-abiding businesses and professionals of the economic opportunities.
This proactive disclosure should ensure that all individuals profiting from state contracts are transparently identified. And that the corrupt capital resulting from public procurement fraud will be correctly detected.
1.1.1.b. Mandatory creation of a publicly accessible integrated dataset platform (public procurement data - fiscal agency data - commerce office data - bank data - and central bank data), at no extra cost for the civil society, to disclose the actual beneficiaries of state contracts and grants, down to the level of individual shareholders and beneficiaries in whose bank accounts those funds end up.
This integrated platform should provide access to public procurement historical data from 2000 to the present, allowing citizens to conduct name-based searches and generate comprehensive public reports on individuals' revenue from public funds, profiles, certifications, work done, and individual results obtained. This initiative will improve the open contracting data standard.
Motivation: Instead of diverting billions of dollars on surveillance technologies that work for corrupt groups of interest whose corruption and aggressive tax optimization schemes (tax evasion) are being protected by the members of the organized criminal groups who infiltrated the public institutions and authorities, at the expense of public funds, while providing minimal value to the public, citizens have the right to demand that their tax money be prioritized for the establishment of this integrated data platform. This platform would enable citizens to scrutinize public funds based on historical data (from 2000 onwards) and hold authorities accountable.
Cost allocation: The costs associated with integrating datasets and making information public should be borne by the authorities, who are the primary beneficiaries of public funds (through salaries and technology expenditures).
The burden of investigating, acquiring public information, and integrating datasets should not be placed on the already impoverished and taxed citizens.
This initiative will not only reduce the costs of vital investigations but also strengthen the right to information (freedom of information) regarding public expenditure. By enabling citizens to conduct in-depth analyses of public money usage, we can foster transparency, accountability, and a more just and equitable society.
1. 2. Implement a mandatory funding mechanism for public oversight and civil society as a percentage of the value of corruption cases they identified, documented, and brought to justice:
1.2.1. Establish a reward system that distributes a percentage of the value of funds recovered from corruption cases to those who identify and document corruption and tax evasion – 1% for cases handled by private investigators and civilians and 0.8% for cases handled by prosecutors and public sector employees.
This reward system should be implemented independently and transparently, ensuring that the funds are directed towards genuine efforts to combat corruption.
1.2.2. The funding mechanism should be designed to incentivize the detection and prosecution of corruption, ensuring that the private sector and public institutions have a financial stake in rooting out corrupt practices. This mechanism should also provide necessary resources to public watchdogs and investigative journalists, enabling them to carry out their work effectively. The funding mechanism should be aligned with the UN Sustainable Development Goals, promoting transparency, accountability, and the protection of human rights. By tackling corruption, we can foster a more just and equitable world where resources are used for the benefit of all.
Corruption undermines democracy and human rights, diverting resources away from essential services and exacerbating inequality. It is crucial to empower public oversight, civil society, private investigators, and investigative journalists to combat corruption and protect human rights.
In a world grappling with fake news and rising extremism, public oversight is more critical than ever. These efforts are essential for upholding democracy and ensuring that governments are accountable to their citizens.
The financial constraints faced by private investigators and civilians limit their ability to combat corruption and tax evasion effectively. A mandatory funding mechanism would provide essential resources to these individuals, allowing them to conduct thorough investigations and bring corrupt actors to justice.
By targeting the profit motive behind corruption, we can disrupt the operations of transnational white-collar mafias and organized criminal groups. This will not only protect public funds but also enhance the rule of law and promote a more just and equitable society.
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2. End the Exploitation: Hold Corrupt Fake Elites and Crony Capitalists Accountable for Their Economic Crimes
The Big Four audit and consulting companies (Deloitte, Ernst & Young, KPMG, and PwC) have been implicated in several high-profile scandals involving tax evasion, money laundering, and unethical business practices (as reported in Cyprus Confidential, Panama, and Pandora Papers, LuxLeaks, etc.). These companies have a history of enabling organized criminal groups and profiting from illicit activities.
The involvement of the Big Four audit and consulting companies in an estimated yearly $1 trillion of tax dodging for their corporations and clients has raised concerns about their ethical standards and potential harm to communities. Additionally, concerns have been raised about their 50% botched audit rate. The companies' involvement in tax evasion is particularly concerning, as it deprives governments of much-needed revenue that could be used to fund essential services such as education, healthcare, and infrastructure. The companies' poor audit quality has also raised concerns about their ability to provide accurate and reliable financial reporting.
Despite these concerns, the Big Four consulting and audit companies continue to operate with impunity and receive a substantial share of consulting state contracts. This raises questions about whether their selection for these contracts is based solely on merit and whether their past wrongdoings are adequately considered.
The preferential treatment of the Big Four consulting and audit companies unfairly disadvantages more qualified and ethical independent professionals who have not been implicated in any wrongdoing. It also raises the question of whether the United Nations and European Union are complicit in these practices.
Moreover, the awarding of consulting state contracts to these companies with a history of unethical behavior and economic crimes constitutes public procurement fraud.
This preferential treatment for the Big Four consulting and audit companies is not only unfair to more qualified and better independent professionals than the partners in these companies but is also a form of complicity in their crimes. It sends a message that corruption is acceptable and that the rules do not apply to everyone.
The European Union and the United Nations have a responsibility to hold the Big Four companies accountable for their wrongdoings. They should investigate the companies' activities, sanction them for their violations, and implement measures to prevent future misconduct.
The evidence of the companies' wrongdoings is publicly available. I urge the European Union and the United Nations to take immediate action to address this pressing issue.
Why are these companies not sanctioned for their anti-competitive behavior and regulatory capture?
Their wrongdoings are not only detrimental to the economy but also a violation of human rights. I urge the European Union and the United Nations to take immediate action to hold the Big Four consulting companies accountable and protect the rights of independent professionals and developing countries. The evidence of their wrongdoings is attached at the end of this letter.
3. Improve Anti-corruption Convention to address Public Procurement Fraud. The current UN Convention against Corruption fails to address specific issues related to public procurement fraud, leaving room for interpretation and enabling corrupt practices to flourish.
To effectively combat public procurement fraud, the convention should be revised to include mandatory specific provisions in “Article 5. Preventive anti-corruption policies and practices”, “Article 9. Public procurement and management of public finances” and/or “Article 14. Measures to prevent money-laundering” that:
Extend the area of public procurement fraud to include:
a) individuals who utilize a portfolio of projects obtained through corrupt means to secure state contracts for their new or existing firms - engage in fraudulent behavior.
b) the use of capital obtained through corrupt means, such as salaries earned in previous projects that an organization obtained through public procurement frauds, to finance new businesses that are then awarded (the most significant share of) state contracts, should be considered money laundering and fraud.
Capital from Corrupt Sources: The influx of corrupt capital (from the non-prosecuted trillion-dollar public procurement frauds and the $1 trillion aggressive tax optimization schemes) into the global economy is distorting markets, creating unfair competition, robbing the economic opportunities from honest entrepreneurs and diverting resources away from essential public services.
The consequences of this state of affairs are devastating. Poverty is being exacerbated, development is being stalled, and inequality is widening. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which aim to eradicate poverty and promote sustainable development for all, are being systematically undermined.
Prohibit the award of state contracts to firms with a history of corruption: Establish that institutions awarding contracts to individuals who have previously benefited from corrupt practices are complicit in fraudulent activity.
Hold internal control teams, oversight authorities, and law enforcement agencies accountable: Mandate that these entities conduct timely investigations into suspected public procurement fraud (and not allow the money to be integrated into the economy or laundered through new profitable state contracts).
4. Paid Decision-Making in the United Nations and European Union Institutions
The world as we see it today is shaped by the decisions made by political leaders and influenced by the United Nations and other relevant institutions. Many need to remember that we inhabit a planet with limited resources, so many don't care when, individually, they take from public funds and resources more than the public interest goals they achieve.
The United Nations and other relevant institutions must reform their evaluation and selection practices to ensure that paid inputs, decision-making, employment, and contract opportunities are not unfairly allocated to individuals who have already received more than their fair share of public funds and donations, more than the results they achieved, and more than the individuals who have demonstrated exceptional performance in achieving public interest goals, generating top solutions pro bono, without wasting public or private funds, and producing better outcomes than those achieved by individuals who have been paid millions of dollars by the United Nations or the European Union.
Evaluate individuals based on their track record of achieving public interest goals, regardless of whether they were accomplished through paid or unpaid work.
Change the evaluation and selection criteria to focus on merit and qualifications rather than on past employment history. The current system allows a self-perpetuating clique of 'fake elites' to rotate through high-paying positions, perpetuating malpractice, incompetence, and even corruption without bearing the consequences of their actions. This has resulted in a devastating toll on societies, including skyrocketing debt, and widespread poverty (85% of the global population).
Protect the rights of individuals who have not received their fair share from public funds and who have obtained better public interest goals without benefiting from contracts and donations.
This will ensure that everyone has an equal opportunity to succeed.
Failing to address this issue is unfair, discriminatory, and constitutes a violation of the human rights of talented individuals who have not received their fair share of public funds. This rule will help to promote equality, reduce inequality, and ultimately achieve sustainable development goals.
Finally, humanity needs a dedicated Sustainable Development Goal, “SDG 18: Reduction of Corruption and Discrimination,” to be included within the broader framework of the Sustainable Development Goals. This new SDG would offer a more focused and efficient approach compared to the limited indicators currently encompassed within SDG 16.
The global assault on democracy and human rights is being fueled by the rampant corruption and tax dodging of corporations. These illicit activities are empowering, with $ 2 trillion yearly, the transnational white-collar mafias and organized criminal groups, who are undermining the rule of law and perpetuating a climate of impunity.
The influx of corrupt capital into the global economy is distorting markets, creating unfair competition, and diverting resources away from essential public services.
The consequences of this state of affairs are devastating. Poverty is being exacerbated, with 23% of the global population living below the US$3.65 poverty line and almost half, 47%, below the US$6.85 poverty line (the same as in the 1990s, but now debt per capita has increased, enriching organized criminal groups). The rest, up to 95% of the global population, are working one or two jobs in stressful conditions to afford a decent life and save nothing. Inequality is widening, and development is being stalled. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which aim to eradicate poverty and promote sustainable development for all, are being systematically undermined.
To address this crisis, we must take decisive action to curb corruption and tax dodging.
Unaddressed corruption, coupled with the perceived inaction of authorities, generates societal unrest and incites rebellion against the authorities who are perceived as shielding corrupt interest groups and colluding with organized criminal groups. This perception of injustice fuels the rise of radicalism and extremism. The root cause of all evils in the world is unaddressed corruption.
By implementing the proposed solutions, we can empower individuals and create a more just and equitable society.
I urge the United Nations to take a leading role in combating corruption and tax dodging, ensuring that the resources derived from these illicit activities are recovered (with the help of civil society, by implementing initiatives 1, 2, and 3) and used to pay damages to the victims of corruption and fund sustainable development endeavors.
The time for complacency is over. I strongly recommend that you consider the system I described in this document, as it has the potential to be the best solution to combat the annual $2 trillion corruption and achieve sustainable development, offering a more effective and cost-efficient approach than the billions of dollars spent on conferences, personnel, and initiatives that have failed to produce tangible results, and millions of dollars paid to consultants who have yielded negligible outcomes. This solution and system might be the missing piece in the sustainable development framework.
Please include in the debates, communication, development, and execution of these proposed solutions Mr. Jeffrey Sachs, Special Adviser to the United Nations Secretary-General and the President of the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN).
I sincerely hope that you will actively engage in demanding that governments take the actions proposed above to address the yearly $2 trillion systemic corruption and public procurement fraud. Let’s work together to build a world where corruption and inequality are no longer the norm.
Thank you for your time and attention to this critical issue.
Diana Radoane, CFE
Ms. Ghada Waly,
Director-General of UNODC.
By email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Disclaimer: I am contacting you as an independent citizen, not affiliated with any government, political party, or non-governmental organization (NGO), and without benefiting from any public funding, private donations, or technical or advisory support to do this work. I am reaching out to you because I am deeply concerned about the devastating impact of corruption on honest entrepreneurs and society as a whole. This concern is so great that I have dedicated my time in recent years to becoming an anti-corruption expert and dedicating my skills pro-bono to developing a series of anti-corruption measures and legal initiatives that could be a valuable addition to the global anti-corruption fight and sustainable development framework. Please consider the proposed anti-corruption solutions for urgent implementation. Stop protecting the data of the 1% thieves and start protecting the human rights of the 99% robbed global population.
Do you know there are countries where corrupt and organized criminal groups are protected by authorities who use public resources to harass honest and innocent citizens? Do you see the harm these organized criminal groups who infiltrated public authorities cause to people? Do you know that I have tears in my eyes now when I see these injustices, the immense suffering, and how the corrupts laugh, protected by captured authorities while robbing communities? How can you not care? Give the power back to people. There is a solution to fight this diabolic corruption and the injustices that cause so much suffering in the world, including wars, a solution described partially in this e-mail and more exhaustively in the attached document; in this case, it starts with implementing the actions mentioned above that address the root cause of human suffering: corruption.
Please give the power back to the people and implement the suggested anti-corruption solutions. Thank you!