The IACC conference this month attracted some of the heaviest hitters working to stop corruption around the world: politicians, NGOs, investigative journalists and community groups.
It was a fitting time to be discussing financial scandals in Malaysia: the country’s prime minister, Najib Razak, faces allegations surrounding the appearance of millions of dollars into his personal bank account.
The allegations have triggered massive protests in the capital. The government, in turn, has deemed the protests illegal, along with wearing the colour yellow – the signature colour of the Bersih coalition of anti-corruption NGOs.
Top-level conferences are often whitewashed with political rhetoric – yes we all agree corruption is bad and we all agree we need to do something about it…
But conferences like the IACC are interesting in other ways too. They force public officials to go on record about their commitments (unfortunately Najib Razak quietly stepped down from his keynote speech at the conference…but others were there) and provide a platform for civil society to share technologies that help monitor these commitments.
The technology hub at the IACC hosted demonstrations of a suite of tools to do financial investigations, visualize budgets, and keep track of everything from government contracts to university corruption.
It was great to demonstrate TIMBY in this environment. We walked away from the conference with around 20 ideas for collaborations.