The arms trade is one of the most corrupt prone sectors. The impact of corruption in the arms trade has severe consequences for citizens, governments and nations.
The payment of kickbacks and bribes in defence purchases inflate the cost of weapons and this impedes the ability of governments to defend their countries. When there is high level of secrecy in arms deals, weapons may end up in the hands of criminals and violent dictators ending in the cost of many lives.
Transparency in the purchase of arms will assist governments in checking that arms do not fall into the hands of those involved in criminal activities.
Taxpayers money intended for development needs such as education and healthcare have often been diverted to the purchase of arms with dire consequences for social development at national levels.
Member states of the United Nations are currently negotiating a UN treaty by 2012 to regulate the arms trade. Anti-corruption provisions will be an important part of the treaty. Transparency International Malaysia (TI-M) certainly hopes that Malaysia will not object to the inclusion of anti-corruption provisions in the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT). The 27 member states of the European Union and others such as Australia, Costa Rica and South Africa are supporting the inclusion of anti-corruption provisions in the ATT.
Exporting governments, importing governments and defence companies are already beginning to introduce tools and mechanisms such as Integrity Pacts for greater transparency and accountability in defence procurement. Some of these tools include civilian oversight of defence procurement.
Strong anti-corruption tools and measures are vital in defence procurement as payments of bribes in defence purchases are widespread.
Datuk Paul Low,
President, Transparency International Malaysia