Calls for greater law enforcement at anti corruption meeting | Connect Asia

Calls for greater law enforcement at anti corruption meeting

Calls for greater law enforcement at anti corruption meeting

Updated 18 January 2012, 17:10 AEDT

An international anti corruption conference has ended in Bangkok, with a call for greater law enforcement and a redoubling of efforts against a problem that's estimated to cost as much as 40 million US dollars a year.

G20 leaders of the world's top economies meeting in Seoul last week, endorsed their own anti-corruption action plan. That plan was met with encouragement at the Conference, but some called on the leaders to push for greater accountability in world financial markets where they say illicit financial flows have entrenched corruption worldwide.

Presenter: Alma Mistry

Speakers:Ashok Khosla, International Union for the Conservation of Nature; Raymond Baker, Director of Global Financial Integrity; Conference emcee Emma Suwannarat

MISTRY: Transparency International estimates that 20 to 40 billion US dollars is paid in bribes each year to politicians and government officials in developing countries. Much of that comes from companies trying to win contracts.

While some countries now have anti bribery laws, mounting successful cases is difficult and requires strong enforcement, public pressure as well as political will, which is often lacking.

Delegates in Bangkok repeatedly heard that successful anti corruption practices only come about through a combination of efforts. Ashok Khosla is from the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.

ASHOK KHOSLA: Corruption is like a cancer there is no silver bullet there's no such thing as one thing that's going to solve it. I was trying to say we need all the steps in this value chain, from having the right metrics, from collecting data, from analyzing it, from putting pressure on countries through things like indices but ultimately it's going to be the citizen who faces the inequities of corruption, the bad decisions of corruption, who is going to have to take charge.

MISTRY: The Multilateral Development Banks were also represented at the conference.

With billions of dollars given out annually through development loans, they are at great risk of corruption. The President of the Asian Development Bank, Haruhiko Kuroda, talked up a Cross Debarment program, in which companies found to have engaged in corruption are banned from future contracts with the five main development banks.

KURODA: The deparment carries both financial and reputation risks and will be a major deterrent to wrongdoing in projects financed by the multilateral development banks.

MISTRY: He also tackled the theme that inevitably runs parallel to corruption- poverty. He called on Asian governments to do more to share their economies wealth with the poor.

KURODA: Asia must embrace the principal of inclusive growth bringing more people into the circle of opportunity that growth and development provides. Governance is key to this issue.

MISTRY: Another theme at the conference was improving efforts to stop illegal financial flows, whether it's money gained from bribery or embezzlement.

Raymond Baker is the Director of Global Financial Integrity, a Washington based think tank.

RAYMOND BAKER: Our estimate which came out two years ago put such flows at a trillion dollars a year, coming from the developing countries into primarily western economies, we will publish within the coming weeks an updated estimate which is even larger, putting the number at about one point two trillion as of 2008.

MISTRY: Mr Baker says the illegal money is facilitated by a system of tax havens, secrecy jurisdictions, where companies can be set up without disclosure about ownership- money laundering and other shadowy practices.

He says it's up to developed nations to crack down on such methods and he acknowledged that limited progress was made at the G20 meeting.

The 14th International Anti-Corruption Conference came to a close with a declaration by attending nations to increase their efforts to fight corruption and to fully honor existing anti-corruption agreements.

The pledge was read by the conference emcee Emma Suwannarat

SUWANNARAT: We noted that the United Nations Convention Against Corruption was groundbreaking as the first global instrument to address corruption. Regrettably, many countries are yet to ratify the convention, or are lagging behind in implementation.

MISTRY: The declaration also made recommendations to increase trust in climate change negotiations and to mobilise ordinary people, particularly younger generations, to demand action on corruption.The next Conference will be held in Brazil in two years time.

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