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Transparency International's wall of silence (Read 1004 times)
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Transparency International's wall of silence
Jun 15th, 2008 at 8:12am
by Calvin Tucker
June 12th 2008

What would you call an organisation that when caught making false allegations, refuses to answer legitimate questions or hold an investigation?

Answer: Transparency International!

The facts are straightforward.  Last April, TI published a report about the global oil industry which ranked oil companies according to whether they were of high, medium or low transparency. Venezuela 's state-owned oil company, PDVSA, was given the lowest possible ranking on the basis that it did not produce properly audited accounts and was withholding basic financial information about revenues, taxes and royalties.

The Chavez government says that it spends the proceeds of its oil industry on providing a free health and education system, and on raising the living standards of the working class and poor. The opposition counters that Chavez is mismanaging PDVSA and cooking the books in order to cover up inefficiency and corruption.

Unsurprisingly, TI's report was seized upon by the opposition as evidence in support of their claims. PDVSA was a "company of low transparency", and although TI did not directly suggest that PDVSA was corrupt, they do say that companies that withhold basic information from the public "leave the door open to corruption".

But TI's report was wrong. Not just any old wrong. But completely, utterly, glaringly wrong. All the information that TI claimed PDVSA was refusing to disclose was freely available in their Report and Accounts and published on their website and in the press.
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