Open Knowledge Foundation Network (OKFN) promotes openness and open data. So OKFN are launching a new global campaign, Stop Secret Contracts. Secret contracting leads to fraud, corruption, and unaccountability. It means the loss of millions of dollars of public money every year. When governments are open, then these governments can be more transparent, accountable. One of the issues that limits citizens ability to have transparent, open and accountable government is secret contracts. A new campaign has just started by OKFN to stop secret contracts. OKFN has announced it with a press release By definition, public contracts means these should be public by default and classified only when strictly necessary. Citizens should be able to see that public money is properly spent, and not pocketed by politicians and businessmen.
If you are not sure how much it is important to have “open” contracts, please have a look at these figures:
- Europe loses an estimated €120 billion to corruption every year
- It is estimated that $20 billion dollars is lost to fraud and corruption in the defence sector every year.
- Africa ‘s around a quarter of its GDP is lost to corruption: around $148 billion .
Rufus Pollock, Founder of the Open Knowledge Foundation said:
“Every year, millions of dollars of public money are lost to fraud, corruption, and payments to contractors that don’t deliver. Openness of key contracting information is essential to allow us to hold governments to account, and ensure that public money is used for public good.”
Gavin Hayman, Executive Director of Global Witness, said:
“One set of secret deals signed by the DRC government with obscure companies may have cost that state twice its annual education and health budget. Secrecy in how contracts are handed out and what they say robs citizens of the ability to know who got the contract, how they won and whether it was a good deal for their country”
Rueben Lifuka, board member of Transparency International, said:
“Secret contracts are never about public interest and only serve as conduits to satisfy the selfish interests of a few. Giving relevant information about public contracts to government entities, parliaments and civil society contributes to a more stable investment environment, and allows good governance and the rule of law to prevail.”
If you support the aims of the campaign please sign the petition at StopSecretContracts.org.
Help us make some noise about the campaign by tweeting on #SecretContracts or blogging about the issues.
If you’d like to be more involved with the campaign, get in touch with firstname.lastname@example.org