Shady Transparency: Why Is Transparency International Not Transparent?

Unruly traffic on a road in New Delhi, India. Photo: Rakesh Raman / RMN News Service (Representational image)
Unruly traffic on a road in New Delhi, India. Photo: Rakesh Raman / RMN News Service (Representational image)

The donors should think twice before giving even a single penny to Transparency International and governments can easily ignore its shady research findings and recommendations.

By Rakesh Raman

As a journalist, I have been writing about corruption cases and anti-corruption campaigns for years. I have observed that Transparency International is perhaps the only organization in the world which has created exaggerated hype about its anti-corruption work while its contribution is insignificant. 

Transparency International is releasing some arm-chair research reports based on some hidden perceptions which cannot be verified. It also publishes some news reports taken from external sources and news outlets. As an events management company, Transparency holds  some events which lack purpose. It often issues raw recommendations which are hardly used by the governments because these recommendations are usually very crude and written in an unprofessional manner.

In the reports that I write, I always say that the work of an anti-corruption agency is useless if it cannot release conviction reports of the corrupt people who have been convicted and imprisoned because of the agency’s exclusive efforts. That’s what I aimed to know from the self-styled anti-corruption outfit Transparency International, which failed to tell me about its work that can be measured empirically. 

I had a bad experience dealing with Transparency, which not only concealed information about its work, but it also evaded my queries regarding a media story with a curt response. The case is described below through my email interaction with Transparency staff.

To                                                                                                                                                  March 18, 2021

Ms. Delia Ferreira Rubio
Chair, Transparency International (TI)
Alt-Moabit 96, 10559 Berlin, Germany

Subject: Complaint Against Transparency International (TI) Health Initiative 

Dear Ms. Delia Ferreira Rubio,

I am a journalist, anti-corruption activist, and founder of the humanitarian organization RMN Foundation. I run various anti-corruption campaigns and publish The Integrity Bulletin magazine which covers international corruption cases and related issues. Incidentally, I am also among the signatories to the appeal that Transparency International has submitted to the UN General Assembly Special Session Against Corruption, UNGASS 2021, scheduled for June.

Earlier this month, Disruption Network Lab approached me to do a story with one of its speakers at its conference about “Whistleblowing During The Pandemic” and suggested that I should hold a video interview with Jonathan Cushing, Head of Global Health at Transparency International (TI) Health Initiative. Claudia Trapp from Disruption Network Lab informed about this interview to Jonathan’s staff at

However, Harvey Gavin, Communications Manager at TI Health Initiative showed reluctance for the video interview and asked me to send questions that Jonathan can respond to over the email. I sent a few questions on March 12, 2021 and asked for Jonathan’s response by March 16. However, I am dismayed to inform you that Harvey Gavin neither sent me the answers nor the reason for this glaring lapse. 

I do understand that I had sent a couple of difficult questions to evaluate Transparency International’s real contribution toward tackling the corruption menace, particularly during the ongoing coronavirus crisis. But if Jonathan of Transparency International (TI) cannot handle these questions, he is not supposed to evade the questions altogether and sit quietly after accepting the questions. This type of behaviour from a TI staffer is immoral and unethical. 

Therefore, I urge you to look into this entire goof-up at TI’s end, fix accountability, and take disciplinary action against the TI officials for their dereliction of duty. The details of my email interactions in this case are attached for your perusal and urgent action.

Thank You

Rakesh Raman
Editor, RMN News Service [ Website ] – Founder, RMN Foundation [ Website ]
463, DPS Apts., Plot No. 16, Sector 4, Dwarka, Phase I, New Delhi 110 078, INDIA
Mobile: 9810319059 | Contact by Email

In response to the above email that I sent to Ms. Delia Ferreira Rubio, Chair, Transparency International (TI), I received an evasive response on March 18,2021 from Transparency International, which is given below.

Dear Mr Raman,

We have received your email at the Transparency International Secretariat.

After reviewing the facts of the matter we have concluded that no further action is necessary.

Your sincerely,

Press Office
Transparency International Secretariat
Alt-Moabit 96, 10559 Berlin, Germany

Thus, in an unethical way, Transparency International refused to answer the questions that it had asked me to send.

It shows that Transparency International is not doing any meaningful anti-corruption work. Therefore, the donors should think twice before giving even a single penny to Transparency International and governments can easily ignore its shady research findings and recommendations.

By Rakesh Raman, who is a national award-winning journalist and social activist. He is the founder of a humanitarian organization RMN Foundation which is working in diverse areas to help the disadvantaged and distressed people in the society.

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