Another corruption-fighting journalist has been killed in Brazil.
Paulo Rodrigues, 51, a Brazilian journalist, was shot dead along the country’s rough border with Paraguay, the Associated Press reports. Rodrigues is the second Brazilian journalist killed in less than a week. On Monday, Rodrigues was driving in the town of Ponta Pora in Mato Grosso do Sul state when he was approached by two men on a motorcycle. Twelve shots were fired, five of them hitting Rodrigues, who died in a local hospital on Monday.
He had been editor-in-chief of Jornal da Praca newspaper and Mercosulnews.com website. On the previous Thursday, Mario Lopes, an online journalist, was shot and killed in Rio de Janeiro state. Lopes had reported on corruption on his website Vassouras na Net. This was the second attempt on Lopes’ life — last year he had survived after being hit by five shots in his office. He had continued to write until his death.
Brazil is becoming an increasingly dangerous place for journalists. In 2011, six journalists were killed. Reporters Without Borders said last month that violence against journalists has caused the country to fall to 99th place in its ranking of freedom of the press around the globe. It was a drop of 41 places.
Even those who had been criticized by Rodrigues mourned his death. One of them was the mayor of Ponta Pora, Flavio Kayatt, who had threatened to sue Rodrigues in 2009 over what Kayatt had called misleading articles.
“He was extremely competent and idealistic,” said Kayatt, who was quoted in the Campo Grande News. “Of course, he had ideologies that didn’t meet ours. But we had a good relationship.”
Is it better to give than receive? When it comes to hidden assets, AP Singh, head of India’s Central Bureau of Investigation, says that both parties — the giver and the receiver — should take equal responsibility, and criticism.
In his speech to the first-ever Interpol Global Program on Anti-Corruption and Asset Recovery, in New Delhi, Singh acknowledged that somewhere between $500 billion and $1.5 trillion in illegal money has been spirited out of the country and into offshore accounts. For that, India has received a low score of 96 (out of 192) countries on Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index 2011. Meanwhile, countries where the illegal funds are parked receive much higher scores — Switzerland is ranked at nine and New Zealand at number one.
To Singh, this is not fair. He questions whether tax havens like Switzerland, Dubai and the Cayman Islands bear any responsibility for this illicit transaction.
This from Singh’s speech:
“Fifty-three per cent of the countries said to be least corrupt by the Transparency International Index are offshore tax havens, where most of the corrupt money goes. The tax havens include New Zealand, which is ranked as the least corrupt country, Singapore ranked number five and Switzerland ranked number [nine].
There is a lack of political will in the leading tax haven states to part with information required to trace such assets, as they are all too aware of the extent to which their own economies have become geared to this flow of illegal capital from the poorer countries.
Perhaps too many people on both sides of the equation — those who give and those who get — have a vested interest in keeping the system going.
Sweep to Switzerland more corrupt than India?
Joe Arpaio, the Arizona sheriff who likes to call himself the toughest sheriff in America, turned evasive and forgetful once on the witness stand.
His testimony came during an appeals hearing over the firing of one of Arpaio’s employees on charges he had lied in a case involving political corruption. On the stand, Arpaio continued to deny that he knew anything about corruption and mismanagement in his office. That was, he said, because he delegated many responsibilities and was unaware of what was going on in the Maricopa County sheriff’s office.
Arpaio seemed to suffer repeated memory lapses. He answered many questions saying he “couldn’t remember” much about a group called the Sheriff’s Command Association. The group is under investigation, allegedly for acting as an unregistered political action committee that had made political contributions to the Arizona Republican Party and aired ads attacking a Democratic rival for Arpaio’s post. The money had been raised from local businessmen to counter attacks against the controversial sheriff’s deputies.
In testimony in other corruption-related trials involving Arpaio, the sheriff had also said he had little awareness of what was going on in his office and had delegated many responsibilities.