[JURIST] The Philippine Justice Department [official website] on Monday filed graft charges against nearly 40 current and former government officials and a prominent businesswoman for allegedly misappropriating millions of dollars in governments funds intended for the poor. Chief prosecutors assert that, between 2007 and 2009, three current senators and dozens of former lawmakers conspired [AP report] with businesswoman Janet Lim Napoles to set up false charity organizations that attracted government funds. A government audit uncovered the illegal activity in 2009. According to media reports, the defendants are charged with "plunder," bribery, corruption and misuse of public office.
Government corruption continues to be a global problem. Earlier in September Spanish lawmakers passed amendments to Spain's freedom of information law that aim to combat political corruption [JURIST report]. The amendments, which increase accountability for the use of public funds, include political parties, the royal family, lobbies, unions and employers' associations. Also in September a lawmaker within Myanmar's parliament announced [JURIST report] that the legislative body intends to draft a bill that forms groups to monitor corruption in court proceedings. During the same timeframe the Chinese Ministry of Supervision began investigating [JURIST repor] Jiang Jiemin, director of the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission. The investigation stems from Jiemin's alleged involvement in an undisclosed "serious discipline violation." Human Rights Watch reported [JURIST report] in August that widespread police corruption in Liberia is denying Liberians equal and impartial justice and impeding the country's postwar development.