How to reduce corruption in Trinidad and Tobago lessons from Al Capone

Reducing corruption

Have you ever asked yourself are there Tips on how to reduce corruption in Trinidad and Tobago.  The answer is yes.

Stephon Grey, Specialist in Forensic and Fraud Auditing, at a Procurement Forum held by APEX (Anointed Professionals Exhibiting Excellence) of the Divine Destiny Worship Centre Church in Diego Martin, Trinidad and Tobago, spoke on the topic of Conducting Effective Procurement Investigations.  Tips on how to reduce corruption in Trinidad and Tobago were also given.  So what is corruption?  Perhaps answers can be given by AfraRaymond, JCC President in this video:

Mr. Grey also touched on the need for proper procurement legislation and treating with the issue of political party financing.  Among other things he said that any procurement legislation being considered must treat first with the issue of political party financing.”  source Guardian Newspaper report

He saw the Inland Revenue Division of the Trinidad and Tobago Government as having an important role in reducing corruption in Trinidad and Tobago and supported this fact by lessons learnt from the Al Capone Story.

Al Capone was an American gangster who was involved in racketeering and who for many years evaded the law enforcement agencies in the United States of America.  He was eventually sent to prison for tax offences – evasion for not paying taxes on his ill-gotten wealth.

An article entitled “Why was tax evasion the only thing pinned on Al Capone?” by Howstuff Works ( source Howstuff Works)  shed some light on the situation. Let us look a little at the article on Capone and see if there are any  lessons that we can learn and parallels for the Caribbean and in particular Trinidad and Tobago.  The article noted that:

Capone was careful and secretive [source: IRS]. He managed to create plausible deniability, removing himself enough from the violence and illegality so that no connections could be drawn between him and the crimes he authorized.

Capone was equally careful about keeping his illegal earnings hidden. He endorsed only one check in his lifetime, and he never had a bank account in his own name. Capone dealt exclusively in cash.

He was further protected by the fact that witnesses were unwilling to testify against him even though many know of his direct involvement in crime. But those close to him were loyal to Capone or feared death. And the residents, police and local prosecutors in Chicago felt the same way.

Capone was liberal with both bribes and threats.”

Does the above suggest parallels in Trinidad and Tobago? So how did success come?

The FBI working in conjunction with the Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service dug up dirt on the gangster and finally got him convicted of evasion of paying taxes on the basis of the cheque endorsed, along with testimony from the very few witnesses the feds could persuade to testify.

Is it easy to go after white collar crime?

The Al Capone experience and the following articles suggest that it is not easy to go after white collar crime.

In an article by Sheelah Kolhatkar in BloombergBusiness entitled “Has it become impossible to prosecute white-collar crime? The author discussed whether financial crimes might be too complicated to take to trial.”

Another article in the Wall street Journal by Henry G. Manne entitled “Busting Insider Trading: As Pointless as Prohibition”  has a tagline stating – Just as Americans found ways to keep drinking, Wall Street will always look for an edge.

Tips on how to reduce corruption in Trinidad and Tobago

So how can we use this information to come up with strategies to reduce corruption in Trinidad and Tobago?  The following outlines some things that can be done and that can have a quick response

We should concentrate on tax reform, whistle blowing legislation and strengthening  the systems for protection of witnesses?  Many corrupt officers have gone free because of protracted court cases and the difficulty of proving corruption.  The article entitled learning from abroad, how to land the big fish supports a tax approach.

We should review and improve systems in place in the Inland Revenue department to deal with illegal earnings?

We should put in place a mechanism or strengthen that which already exists, for joint work among the relevant agencies to deal with the issue of illegal earnings?

We should review legislation and determine changes needed so that we can more effectively address the issue of ill-gotten wealth.

If we implement the above tips to reduce corruption in Trinidad and Tobago we will have more money available for needed investment.  See more detailed strategies in the following post.

Related Posts  – Strategies to reduce corruption in Trinidad and Tobago

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