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Wednesday
Oct222014

South Africa graft fighter wins TI Integrity Award

Transparency International said Friday that Thuli Madonsela of South Africa was selected as the winner of the anti-corruption group’s Integrity Award for 2014.

The Integrity Award was created in 2000 "to recognize the courage and determination of the many individuals and organizations fighting corruption around the world," TI said.

Madonsela is South Africa’s Public Protector. She and her office have investigated corruption from the lowest to the highest levels of South Africa’s government, TI said.

"Despite being subject to intense political scrutiny and pressure she has made her judgments without fear or favor, earning  the admiration of South Africans as well as the international community," TI said.

JC Weliamuna, chair of Transparency International’s Integrity Awards Committee, said,

Thuli Madonsela’s work embodies Transparency International’s deeply-held belief that the corrupt should not be allowed to get away with their misdeeds. Her unwavering courage and commitment to upholding the rule of law is truly inspirational.

She's the first South African to receive an Integrity Award.

Madonsela’s office dealt with over 35,000 complaints in 2012 and 2013.

She said last week, "I would like to see South Africans recognizing that corruption hurts -- it eats away at the soul of the nation. I’d like us to get to a stage of realising that we all have a role to play in combating corruption: every time people act they should ask themselves: 'Am I adding to the problem of corruption or am I helping solve it?'"

In March 2014, Madonsela recommended that South Africa President Jacob Zuma apologize and pay back a reasonable portion of $23 million of taxpayer money spent for home improvements to his personal residence at Nkandla.

Berlin-based Transparency International said it received an unprecedented 127 nominations for the Integrity Awards in 2014 from the public and TI chapters around the world.

The jury for the awards is a committee of 11 individuals from various countries who have been active in the anti-corruption movement for many years, TI said.

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Richard L. Cassin is the publisher and editor of the FCPA Blog. He can be contacted here.