Transparency Announces Winners of 2020 Anti-Corruption Award

Shortlisted candidates for the 2020 Anti-Corruption Award. Photo: Transparency International
Shortlisted candidates for the 2020 Anti-Corruption Award. Photo: Transparency International

Transparency International has announced that whistleblower Botakoz Kopbayeva (Kazakhstan), and journalist Zaki Daryabi / Etilaat Roz Newspaper (Afghanistan) have been selected as winners of the 2020 Anti-Corruption Award.

The awards announced Wednesday (December 2) were presented at a ceremony held virtually at the 19th International Anti-Corruption Conference (IACC).

Botakoz Kopbayeva became the Vice-Rector for Financial and Economic Affairs at the Kazakh National Conservatory in 2017. Her efforts to expose corruption led to a campaign of intimidation.

Her home was broken into and she was violently assaulted. Despite serious injuries, she returned to work to continue her investigation. Her actions exposed financial corruption and the theft of substantial funds intended for student scholarships. These revelations have led to resignations and criminal convictions.

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In its citation, the Awards Committee stated, “Ms. Kopbayeva was selected as the recipient of the Anti-Corruption Award 2020 for her bravery and courage as a whistleblower, particularly within a hostile environment, in which she has been open to persecution and a victim of violence. Her determination to fight the abuse of power for private gain serves as an inspiration to all those working against corruption worldwide.”

Ms. Kopbayeva said, “This award is an opportunity to draw the attention of the highest authorities of Kazakhstan to corruption; and it is an opportunity to create an incentive for people who are afraid to report corruption. I am convinced that the fight against this evil must be two-sided, and only through joint efforts of the government and society can it be overcome.”

Zaki Daryabi, and newspaper Etilaat Roz, have a prominent role in challenging government corruption in Afghanistan, this is despite the extremely critical situation for independent journalists and free speech in the country.

Operating on a financial shoestring, Etilaat Roz provides hope and sends a clear message of courage, dedication, and determination in the struggle to investigate, expose, and challenge corruption in Afghanistan.

In its citation, the Awards Committee stated, “Zaki Daryabi and Etilaat Roz Newspaper have been selected as the recipients of the Anti-Corruption Award 2020 for their tireless efforts in exposing major corruption scandals in Afghanistan, despite the multiple challenges, threats and limitations they have had to overcome. They serve as an admirable example to journalists and young activists across the globe through their perseverance and sustainable approach to holding power to account.”

Zaki Daryabi said, “In our deeply interconnected world, corruption is not a local or regional issue. Corruption is a global menace and fighting it anywhere it appears is our collective responsibility.”

The Anti-Corruption Award  honours organizations and individuals, including journalists, prosecutors, government officials, and civil society leaders who expose and fight corruption.

A committee of seven people from the board of Transparency International and the wider anti-corruption movement serves as the jury. Nominations for this year’s award were submitted by the public and Transparency International chapters.

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Rakesh Raman