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UK must do more to fight corruption warns NGO group

Much more must be done by the Government to tackle the role that UK banks and companies play in fuelling and facilitating corruption overseas according to a new report launched by the Bond Anti-Corruption Group


1 December 2011 – Melissa Lawson, Chair of the Bond Anti-Corruption Group and Tearfund policy adviser said: “The failure to act here in the UK when it comes to enforcing bribery laws and tackling dirty money has devastating effects on developing countries, undermining good governance and exacerbating poverty. This report shows why the UK must not remain ambivalent when it comes to addressing the real issues in the fight against corruption.”

The report notes improvements in the UK’s compliance with some of its commitments under the UN Convention against Corruption but identifies a series of weaknesses:

  • The Ministry of Justice guidance on the new UK Bribery Act is unclear, creating potential loopholes and confusion for resources-resources-business.
  • The Serious Fraud Office has too few resources to ensure the bribery legislation is a real deterrent to stop companies paying huge bribes to foreign governments in return for lucrative contracts.
  • According to the Financial Services Authority, 75% of British banks that were surveyed don’t know the source of the funds of their high-risk customers, leaving the UK wide open to corrupt funds.
  • The UK fails to exert pressure on secrecy jurisdictions in Crown Dependencies and Overseas Territories to publish company registries.

“The laws are there to tackle corruption but there is complacency in the face of growing corruption threats,” says Eric Gutierrez, Senior Governance Adviser at Christian Aid and one of the report’s authors. “The Government’s International Anti-Corruption Champion must instigate an anti-corruption strategy and ensure that there are sufficient resources to tackle this issue.”

The Bond Anti-Corruption Group welcomed the Bribery Act of 2010 but now calls on the Government to:

  • Ensure sufficient resources for enforcing the Bribery Act
  • Enforce its own anti-money laundering laws to ensure UK banks do not accept corrupt money and facilitate corruption
  • Extend the UN Convention against Corruption and UK Bribery Act to all Crown Dependencies and Overseas Territories.
  • Produce a transparent cross-government anti-corruption strategy under the responsibility of UK Anti-Corruption Champion, Rt Hon Ken Clarke MP.

Welcoming the report Catherine McKinnell MP Chair of the newly formed All-Party Parliamentary Group on Anti-Corruption said: “International Anti-Corruption Day provides the UK Government with the perfect opportunity to commit to tackling the obstacles identified if Britain is to play its part in addressing international corruption. We need a coherent, properly-resourced approach to dealing with this issue, which causes suffering to millions of people in the developing world, and threatens to undermine the important investment the UK makes in international development.”

 

Notes to Editors

BOND is the UK membership body for over 360 international development organisations. The Bond Anti-Corruption Group is part of the Bond Governance Group representing 64 UK-based NGOs who, through their work, witness the devastating effects of corruption on developing countries every day. The central members of the Bond Anti-Corruption Group are: CAFOD Christian Aid, The Cornerhouse Corruption Watch, Global Witness, Tearfund Transparency International UK and TIRI.

For this report the Bond Anti-Corruption Group coordinated research with Public Concern at Work.

www.bond.org.uk

 

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Read 3948 times Last modified on Wednesday, 11 November 2015 10:07

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