The Tax Justice Network announced today the appointment of a new board of directors at the organisation’s Annual General Meeting earlier this month. Directors are elected by the organisation’s members, reflecting its cooperative ethos.
Alex Cobham, chief executive, said:
“Our board plays a vital role in setting an ambitious strategy, rooted in direct experience of tax injustice worldwide, and in holding us accountable to the broader movement. The new board brings a powerful range of international expertise in research, advocacy and in campaigning for radical and robust changes to policy and to the global architecture for decision-making, rooted in a feminist, rights-based perspective. We’re hugely excited about the next phase for the Tax Justice Network, in which the new board will support us to build on the organisation’s history and achievements, advancing an increasingly inclusive, global agenda for tax justice and human rights.”
The new board was expanded from eight to eleven members in line with the previous board’s decision to widen the expertise and experience represented on the board, with a particular focus on increasing representation from the global South. The Tax Justice Network’s public invitation for applications to its board was met with an overwhelmingly strong pool of applicants, from which a small number of candidates, following a lengthy interview process, were chosen to stand for election, alongside existing Board members, at the Annual General Meeting.
The Tax Justice Network’s board now comprises of the following board members (in alphabetical order):
Charles Abugre is a trained development economist who has devoted most of his working life to the fight against poverty and inequality. He is currently Executive Director at International Development Economics Associates. Previous roles include Head of Global Advocacy and Policy division of Christian Aid, UK; Africa Regional Director of the United Nations Millennium Campaign, UNDP; Commissioner of the Ghana National Development Planning Commission (NDPC); and CEO of the Savannah Accelerated Development Authority where he is credited for facilitating the development of a transformational master plan for the Northern Savannah Ecological Zone of Ghana and co-founder of several national and regional civil society organisations. His education includes an MA in Development Studies (Economic Policy and Planning) from the Institute of Social Studies, The Hague, The Netherlands and BA Hons (Economics and Geography) from the University of Ghana, Legon.
Alex Cobham is an economist and chief executive of the Tax Justice Network. He has been a researcher, focused on illicit financial flows, effective taxation for development, and inequalities, variously at Oxford University, Christian Aid, Save the Children, and the Center for Global Development, and has consulted widely, including for UNCTAD, the UN Economic Commission for Africa, the UN Economic and Social Commission for West Asia, DFID, and the World Bank. He has published two books: The Uncounted (Polity Press), and Estimating Illicit Financial Flows: A Critical Guide to the Data, Methodologies, and Findings, with Petr Janský (Oxford University Press, open access).
Sioned Jones is Director of Operations and Communications at the Tax Justice Network. She has worked as a senior manager and leader in the not for profit sector for over 20 years including in her last role as the first CEO of The Circle, a women’s rights NGO founded by singer, songwriter and activist Annie Lennox and previous to that as a Deputy Director at Oxfam GB. In addition to her work at the Tax Justice Network she is Chair of the Board of Trustees at Magic for Smiles, a small NGO working to improve the wellbeing of refugee children.
Lyla Latif is a Kenyan based lawyer with litigation experience and has drafted legislation for the Government of Kenya. Based on her 11 years as a legal professional and researcher on fiscal responsible regimes, she has built an international reputation as a consultant producing scholarship and making evidence-based policy recommendations for governments and international organisations focusing on closing revenue leakages and financing human rights. She has established strategic working partnerships with stakeholders who are keen to influence tax justice, responsible state building, financing equitable development and improving lives through shared and inclusive economic prosperity. In this regard, she has worked with, advised, and consulted for the European Commission’s Directorate General for Research and Innovation, WHO, UNCTAD, OHCHR, UN Office of the Special Adviser on Africa, UNAIDS, UNGA Economic and Financial Committee, the Tax Justice Network Africa, East Africa Tax and Governance Network, Africa Forum for Debt and Development, SEATINI, the Kenyan and German Parliaments and several international organisations. Lyla has gained expertise on the fiscal regimes in Africa and the continent’s approach to securing its fiscal space to finance development and to leverage on the digital economy. The impact of her work can be seen from her publications, international speaking engagements, advocacy work and tax trainings of over 3,000 Africans (Members of Parliament, journalists, lawyers, accountants, economists, political scientists, graduate students, civil society activists) since 2018. She holds faculty position at the University of Nairobi, where she co-founded the Committee of Fiscal Studies (CFS). She has also taught at Cardiff University and Warwick Law School. Lyla is an appointed member of the inaugural Tax Law Committee of the East Africa Law Society (2022-2024). She sits on the Advisory Board of the International Lawyers Project (2022-2024), and trains on tax related content globally with Rotterdam’s tax training organisation, Capabuild.
Dr. Markus Meinzer is Director of Financial Secrecy & Governance at the Tax Justice Network. He authored the book “Tax Haven Germany” (“Steueroase Deutschland”), published in 2015 at C.H. Beck, and was TJN’s principal investigator on the COFFERS EU research project under Horizon 2020 (Combating Fiscal Fraud and Empowering Regulators) and engages in the same function in the TRACE Horizon 2020 research project (Tracking illicit money flows). He has published widely on international tax policy and financial secrecy regulation and has served on various EU Commission Expert Groups. He obtained his PhD in economics at Utrecht University in 2019 (“Countering cross-border tax evasion and avoidance. An assessment of OECD policy design from 2008 to 2018”). Prior to this, he studied development economics as a component of his political science degree at the Free University of Berlin, and was an exchange student at the University of Sussex (UK).
Yamini Mishra is currently serving as the Regional Director for Amnesty International’s South Asia Regional Office. Previously, she was the Interim Regional Director for Amnesty International’s South Asia Regional Office and East, Southeast Asia and Pacific Regional Office. She has also served as the Programme Director of the Global Issues Programme which included the Gender, Sexuality and Identity Unit, the Economic and Social Justice Unit, the Refugees and Migrant Rights Unit, and the Business, Security and Human Rights Unit. She has served on the Advisory Group of the UN Secretary General’s High-Level Panel on Financing for Gender Equality and is on the board of Centre of Democracy and Social Action and on the Governing Board of Centre for Agrarian Reform and Economic Studies.
Nara Monkam is soon to join the University of Pretoria as a Professor of Economics and was previously the Director of Research at the African Tax Administration Forum (ATAF). She has more than 10 years of experience in tax administration reforms in Africa. She has demonstrated leadership and managerial skills in leading both operational and analytical teams, through major multidisciplinary research, technical assistance and capacity building programmes at ATAF and the African Tax Institute. She has more than 16 years of experience in research and policy analysis in Africa. She has published scholarly and policy-oriented research on public economics, tax reform, revenue administration, fiscal decentralisation, and local government taxation. Her work has involved long-term collaboration and advisory services with international research institutions and countries such as Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania, and Vietnam. She has worked as a consultant for bilateral and multilateral development organizations, including the EU, GIZ, T20 and the World Bank. Her experience also covers teaching, thesis supervision and training in public finance, tax administration reforms, fiscal decentralisation reforms, and property taxation. Nara Monkam holds a PhD in economics from Andrew Young School of Policy Studies at Georgia State University in Atlanta, Georgia (USA).
Liz Nelson is Director of Tax Justice and Human Rights. Before joining the Tax Justice Network, Liz worked as Development Manager at the Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship in the University of Oxford’s Said Business School. Previously she managed and developed housing services for vulnerable and ‘at risk’ adults and families for twenty years. Liz studied Human Rights and Development Management from the Open University’s Global Programme in Development Management and Women’s Human Rights at the London School of Economics (LSE). Liz is a Senior Atlantic Fellow for Social and Economic Equity, a programme of the global Atlantic Fellowship.
Irene Ovonji-Odida is a lawyer and women’s rights activist. She was a Member of the High Level Panel on Illicit Financial Flows from Africa (Mbeki High Level Panel) and UN FACTI Panel. She is a member of the Independent Commission for Reform of International Corporate Tax (ICRICT), South Center Tax Initiative and the Pan African Lawyers Union task force on Illicit Financial Flows. She previously served in the East African Legislative Assembly, and was International Board Chair for ActionAid International and Chief Executive Officer of the Uganda Association of Women Lawyers.
Emilia Reyes is Programme Director of Policies and Budgets for Equality and Sustainable Development, at Equidad de Género: Ciudadanía, Trabajo y Familia (Gender Equity: Citizenship, Work and Family). She is Co-Convenor of the Women’s Working Group on Financing for Development, as well as a co-lead of the Economic Justice and Rights Action Coalition in the UN Women’s Beijing+25 process. She’s a Contributing Author in the segment “Gender, Climate Justice and Transformative Pathways” of the IPCC report: Climate Change 2022: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability. For five years she was an Organizing Partner of the Women’s Major Group for the 2030 Agenda; for two years she was Co-chair of the High Level Political Forum’s Major Groups and Stakeholders Coordination Mechanism.
Norbert Walter-Borjans is a German economist and politician of the Social Democratic Party (SPD) who served as co-leader of the SPD (alongside Saskia Esken) from 2019 to 2021. He served as State Minister of Finance of North Rhine-Westphalia from 2010 until 2017. From 1991 until 1998, Walter-Borjans worked as spokesperson of the state government of North Rhine-Westphalia. In the capacity as State Minister of Finance of North Rhine-Westphalia, he was one of the state’s representatives in the Bundesrat, where he was chairman of the Finance Committee. During his time in office, the state government – as main shareholder – agreed to divide up the asset of ailing commercial bank WestLB. Together with the Savings Bank Associations as second share holder he was responsible for the successful winding-down process of this major public bank. On his initiative, the state government on several occasions bought Swiss account data from whistle-blowers to pursue German and international tax dodgers. In the negotiations to form a Grand Coalition of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU together with the Bavarian CSU) and the SPD following the 2013 federal elections, he was part of the SPD delegation in the working group on financial policies and the national budget. As Co-leader of the Social Democratic Party he was part of the steering committee during the negotiations with Greens and Liberals to form the current German government headed by chancellor Olaf Scholz.