New head of Transparency International elected

14th November 2005, Comments 0 comments

14 November 2005, BERLIN - Canadian Huguette Labelle, the ex-president of the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) and current Chancellor of the University of Ottawa, is the new head of Transparency International (TI), the Berlin-based research and advocacy body devoted to fighting global corruption.

14 November 2005

BERLIN - Canadian Huguette Labelle, the ex-president of the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) and current Chancellor of the University of Ottawa, is the new head of Transparency International (TI), the Berlin-based research and advocacy body devoted to fighting global corruption.

She was voted its new chair at the annual meeting of Transparency International's 94 chapters and contact groups in the German capital late Sunday. She succeeds Peter Eigen, 67, its founder, who had been chairman ever since the organisation was created in 1993. He did not seek re-election.

The Rockland, Ontario-born Labelle gained 44 votes - two more than her rival candidate for the post, Rosa Ines Ospina from Columbia.

At a news conference in Berlin Monday, Eigen said he was absolutely delighted Huguette Labelle had been chosen to succeed him, and pledged her his total support.

"I am leaving the Chair of Transparency International in extremely capable hands, said Peter Eigen, who now becomes the organisation's advisory council chairman.

A powerful figure in Canada, Huguette Labelle worked with CIDA for almost seven years, during which she was active in over 100 countries. It was when working with the Development Agency that she first met Eigen, and began actively helping the organisation battle world-wide corruption.

During her work with CIDA, she says she witnessed first-hand the "ravages of corruption on human development" and how it deprived poor people of the resources required to pull themselves out of poverty.

"I also saw how corruption distorted trade and contributed to the failure of states, with associated high mortality, destabilisation, conflict and insecurity," Labelle said.

"This is when corruption struck me as being a matter of life and death. It was for these reasons that CIDA became one of the first donors to support TI, she said.

The Canadian claimed she said she hoped to increase TI's number of chapters, and push expansion of ethical standards in the business world, while seeking more allies in the fight against corruption.

Labelle pledged to resign from five organisations in which she presently holds posts in order to provide "extra space" for TI.

Besides being chancellor of Ottawa University, she serves on a number of boards, is vice-president of the Council of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, and is also a member of the Advisory Council of the Export Development Corporation, the World Bank Institute.

Akere T. Muna, a lawyer and chairman of the Accreditation Committee of the Pan African Lawyers' Union and ex-president of the Cameroon Bar Association, was elected TI's Vice-Chairman.

Elected to the TI board of directors were: Sion Assidon (Morocco), Nancy Boswell and Frank Vogl (USA), Jermyn Brooks (Britain), Boris Divjak (Bosnia-Herzegovina), Valeria Merino Dirani (Ecuador), Laura Puertas (Peru), Chong San Lee (Malaysia), Geo-Sung Kim (South Korea) and Gerard Zovighian (Lebanon).

Eigen set up TI in Berlin in 1993 after a 25-year career in economic development, mainly as a manager of programmes in Africa and Latin America for the World Bank.

But ultimately, it was his employers' unwillingness at the time to get involved in tackling world-wide corruption that led to his leaving the organisation and setting up TI.

An early focus of TI, was on large-scale corruption in developing countries, but soon its activities broadened to combat government- level malfeasance, wrong-doing and bribery world-wide.

Corruption, maintained Eigen, had become a major world problem, standing alongside those of overpopulation, environmental degradation, AIDS and poverty. "It calls for a massive systematic attack at the local, regional and global levels," he asserted.

DPA

Subject: German news

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