Would You Like to Build This Dam (With a Little Bribe)?

Hingol National Park
Hingol National Park Wikimedia Commons Pakistan’s government is currently considering building the Hingol Dam, a $400 million irrigation dam in the mountains of Balochistan Province. The project is controversial because it would impact a national park and a centuries-old temple which is revered by the region’s Hindu population. A few weeks ago, I got an e-mail from an engineering firm in Pakistan. Out of the blue, the firm offered me the contract to build the Hingol Dam and four similar projects. The offer came as a surprise because working for International Rivers, I am rather skeptical

“Belo Monte foi Proposto por Megalômanos e Trambiqueiros”

Thursday, October 1, 2009
"Acho que engenharia é uma coisa muito séria para ser praticada por pessoas que são mentirosas como este grupo que inventou e está tocando o projeto de Belo Monte há vinte anos. São mentirosos e agora estas mentiras estão começando a vir à tona, felizmente". A afirmação é do professor Oswaldo Sevá, que faz, nesta entrevista que concedeu à IHU On-Line por telefone, uma crítica à construção da hidrelétrica de Belo Monte. Entre as consequências que a obra gerará, Sevá destaca que um lugar belíssimo conhecido como Volta Grande será completamente modificado. Ele indaga: "Por

The Scent of Money and the Stench of Corruption

Lucas the Elder Cranach When there is a chance to push a big loan out the door, some people just can’t say no. Every World Bank President since James Wolfensohn has committed to fight the cancer of corruption. For more than ten years, the Bank has talked the talk, but has not walked the walk. In April, an internal evaluation gave the institution the lowest possible grade for its anti-corruption efforts. As if to prove the point, the World Bank is now considering support for a multi-billion dollar project which squarely violates its procurement guideline and shows all red flags of corrupti

Brazil's Senator from Alcoa Hangs by a Sliver

Sen. José Sarney Receives Aluminum Eagle from President of Alcoa
Sen. José Sarney Receives Aluminum Eagle from President of Alcoa Archive José Sarney rose to power in his home state of Maranhão during Brazil's military dictatorship. He ascended to the presidency of Brazil in 1985 when Tancredo Neves, the president-elect, died on the eve of his taking office. Now, his position as president of the Senate, where he wields power second only to that of Lula, is threatened by revelations of abuse of power in secret financial transactions favoring family members and political cronies, and even leaders of his own party are calling for him to step d

Stealing from the World Bank - an Eyewitness Account

See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil
See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil In a major departure from the past, World Bank President James Wolfensohn in 1996 identified corruption as the “cancer” of development. Wolfensohn promised to take vigorous action to combat bribery, and launched various strategies and action plans. A new book argues that behind the rhetoric of good governance, nothing has changed. In The World Bank and the Gods of Lending, the Bank insider and corruption fighter Steve Berkman explains in stunning detail how government officials milk billions of dollars from Bank loans and credits every year. The

Pizza with the (Public) Works

Money laundering, illegal campaign donations, tax evasion, overbilling on public works contracts, ...and pizza? Read on, and you'll learn the connection. Camargo Corrêa, one of Brazil's construction giants, has been busted for what Federal Police call a complex scheme to funnel millions of dollars from public infrastructure projects to political candidates. Among the projects being investigated for kick-backs is the navigation lock construction at Tucuruí Dam and, according to one report, Camargo Corrêa's involvement in studies for Belo Monte Dam on the Xingu River. Im

Best of Times, Worst of Times for Alstom

Alstom Company Headquarters
Alstom Company Headquarters archive On the same day that Alstom announced its biggest contract ever for dam-building equipment - a US$700 million deal to furnish turbines and other materials for Santo Antonio Dam on the Madeira River in the Brazilian Amazon, Brazil´s federal prosecutors announced they will begin a new investigation into charges that the company handed out millions in bribes to politicians in São Paulo to win a lucrative Metro contract. The turbine deal was no surprise - Alstom has been "locked in" with Brazilian construction company Odebrecht ever since stud

The Vicious Circle of Corruption, Dams and Disaster

Kosi River Breaks Embankment
Kosi River Breaks Embankment Transparency International’s Global Corruption Report 2008, to which your blogger contributed a brief paper, is devoted to corruption in the water sector. It states forcefully that “corruption in the water sector puts the lives and livelihoods of billions of people at risk”. The recent flood disaster on the Kosi River in Nepal and India illustrates in a shocking way how corruption, dams and disaster feed on each other. In nature, water always flows downstream. In society, drinking and irrigation water flow to the rich and powerful, while waste water and

New Report Reveals Widespread Corruption in Water Sector

Photo: Alex Zahnd
Friday, September 5, 2008
Photo: Alex Zahnd "Corruption in the water sector puts the lives and livelihoods of billions of people at risk." So begins the Global Corruption Report 2008 by Transparency International, the first report to document the extent of corruption in the water sector worldwide. With climate change making water scarcity a growing concern in many poor parts of the world, and the cost of corruption in the water industry raising the price for water services 10-30 percent worldwide each year, the need for reform is clear. "Without increased advocacy to stop corruption in water, there wi

Grand Projects – Grand Corruption?

Friday, August 29, 2008
An excerpt from the Global Corruption Report 2008, published by Transparency International In nature, water always flows downstream. In the geography of power relations, clean water tends to flow to the rich and powerful, while waste water tends to flow to the poor. An important reason for this anomaly is corruption, which has contributed to a political economy that favors large, capital-intensive projects over small-scale approaches. In recent years, institutions such as the UNDP and the UN Millennium Project have advocated for a reassessment of large-scale infrastructure in the wate


Subscribe to RSS - Corruption