Opening conference of the International Integrity Seminar is held online by SAI Hungary
February 11, 2021 marked the official opening conference of the 8th International Integrity Seminar which was held online for the first time in its history due to the pandemic restrictions.
The Seminar is organized by the State Audit Office of Hungary under the auspices of the INTOSAI’s Global Expert Team (IGET) to implement of INTOSAI/UNODC MoU.
The opening conference will be followed by an e-course and a number of workshops that will take place between 15 and 26 February 2021 under the theme “Use of artificial intelligence in the prevention of corruption and the reliability of measuring corruption”. It is expected that nearly 90 representatives from 40 SAIs will participate in the Seminar.
Mr. László Domokos, the President of the State Audit Office of Hungary (SAO), opened the conference. In his welcoming video presentation, he underlined the role of SAIs in the promoting of integrity and the prevention of corruption, the level of which has increased due to the pandemic. The President also emphasized the importance of the definition of ethical principles for public sector organizations, the development of integrated risk management and the use of digitization tools.
Mr. Aleksei Kudrin, as the INTOSAI Chair and the Chairman of the Accounts Chamber of the Russian Federation, in his written address to the participants supported the Hungarian integrity initiative and underlined the importance of anti-corruption cooperation, which can get additional momentum by the help of the INTOSAI Digital University (U-INTOSAI).
I am glad to welcome all the participants of the 8th International Integrity Seminar organized by the State Audit Office of Hungary on the topic “Potential of artificial intelligence in preventing corruption and the reliability of measuring corruption”.
As the INTOSAI Chair I praise the SAO’s initiative of organizing this multilateral meeting which I am confident will greatly contribute to the series of events held under the auspices of the Global Expert Team to Implement the Memorandum of Understanding between INTOSAI and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.
Today the scale of the problem of corruption is evident. The World Bank estimates that every year over US$ 1 trillion is paid in bribes around the world. The World Economic Forum puts the amount of stolen money at US$ 2.6 trillion per year.
Governments around the world are taking fast action to mitigate the health and economic consequences of the COVID-19 crisis. During the pandemic government contracts are often awarded in absence of adequate oversight of the procurement process, thus increasing the potential for corruption.
As states begin to move towards post-crisis recovery, we can see the need to ensure that they are held accountable for actions taken during the pandemic. The role of Supreme Audit Institutions is becoming increasingly important.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank my colleagues from SAO and personally President Mr. Domokos for the tremendous work they have done in this regard over the years.
The Accounts Chamber of the Russian Federation intends to continue to comprehensively promote the principle of openness as well as to study and share best practices. Last year we prepared the second report on the openness of public authorities in Russia. The concept of an open SAI and our proactive communication strategy have proved to be in demand among citizens. It also serves as an example for other government bodies.
The fight against corruption also requires the development of standards and systems to prevent and manage potential conflicts of interest. Electronic registries covering businesses, public procurement and financial disclosures, significantly strengthen the capacity of states in this area.
To keep up with the rapidly evolving technological environment the auditors of the future require a number of skills and an experimental-oriented mindset. In this context the importance of agile capacity building solutions has dramatically increased. We hope that the creation of the INTOSAI Digital University
(U-INTOSAI), as an educational platform open for all INTOSAI members, would greatly contribute to capacity building in the fight against corruption through a variety of online courses and webinars.
I would like to wish the participants interesting discussions as well as to develop effective approaches to the challenges we face in the fight against corruption.
Chairman of the Accounts Chamber of the Russian Federation
Mr. Harib Saeed Al Amimi, the President of the Supreme Audit Institution of the United Arab Emirates and President of the Conference of the States Parties to the United Nation Convention Against Corruption (CoSP UNCAC) in his video report underlined the increasing role of the technological development and new opportunities that it creates for the public sector auditors.
Mr. Pablo Celi de la Torre, Comptroller General Comptroller Generals Office of the Republic of Ecuador, in his video presentation noted the importance of the Moscow Declaration provisions, outlining aspects of digitalization and the use of big data. Comptroller General also went on SAI Ecuador international cooperation activities within OLACEFS in the field of preventing, detecting and combating corruption, as well as the collaboration projects with IDI and GIZ.
The President of the Italian Court of Auditors Mr. Guido Carlino and Head of the Office of International Affairs Mr. Mauro Orefice spoke on the transparency and integrity issues, highlighting judiciary functions of the Italian SAI in the fight against corruption.
Mr. Balázs Csaba Rigó, President of the Hungarian Competition Authority, concluded the series of presentations with sharing his institution’s experience on antitrust activities and the use of IT tools for data analysis.
The opening conference was followed by the Solidus Award, which was founded by the President of the State Audit Office, László Domokos, in 2016 and which is traditionally given to the persons who have contributed to the development of the public control. 2021 Solid Award was received by Mr. Ivan Klesic, President of the Croatian Court of Audit, Prof. Dr. György Kocziszky, Professor at the University of Miskolc, Member of the Monetary Council of the Hungarian National Bank, and Ákos Sápi, President of the Ecoventio Roundtable Public Benefit Association.