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Removal of Serious Fraud Office independence a step back in corruption fight

18th May, London – The incorporation of the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) into the National Crime Agency (NCA), as proposed in the Conservative Party’s manifesto would be a backwards step in the fight against corruption, according to Transparency International.

Robert Barrington, Executive Director Transparency International UK said:

“Maintaining the independence of the SFO is crucial to avoid corruption becoming a political football. The complex, cross-border nature of corporate corruption is best tackled by a specialist agency like the SFO. The underlying concern is that this could be a crude attempt at either cost-saving or to neuter the Bribery Act so that the UK can increase its exports at the expense of the stability, security and economic development of our overseas trading partners.”

“The SFO has had increasing success in recent years; previous plans to abolish it have been discredited, and it is both astonishing and of real concern to see this surface again.  If there are good reasons to abolish the SFO, they should be spelt out; if there is a proper plan to replace the SFO, it should be put out for consultation. At present we are faced with the prospect of politicians deciding who to prosecute, the elimination of decades of carefully-built expertise, de-prioritisation of corruption and cutting back resources – as well as splitting the combined teams of expert investigators and prosecutors which is one of the SFO’s unique features and widely praised throughout the world.

“This ill-conceived manifesto one-liner seems to contradict the Prime Minister’s stated intent to take a global role in tackling corruption.  Previous governments have made good progress in fighting corruption. It is therefore worrying that many of the commitments to tackle corruption and corrupt money in the UK, made since 2010, do not feature within this manifesto and it looks like important mechanisms to fight corruption could be rolled back.”



Dominic Kavakeb


020 3096 7695

079 6456 0340


Read 542 times Last modified on Thursday, 18 May 2017 15:10

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