Corruption: a crime against society

G20: Leading on anti-corruption? The view from civil society

The following is an excerpt from the collected papers of the Rencontres Economiques d’Aix-en-Provence 2011. Read the full article here.

Corruption is often thought of as an economic or “white collar crime”.

That ignores the greater implications of corruption, the abuse of power at the expense of the many, which perpetuates social injustice and the exploitation of the vulnerable: denial of healthcare, education, economic opportunity and justice, as well as preventing the holding to account of leaders for the theft of resources.

Such is the human cost of corruption –the denial of access to public services, to economic opportunity, to a voice and to justice– that it cannot be seen as anything but a criminal act of whom the victim is society at large: in short, a crime against society.

A crime recognised by international law

Governments have a duty under international law to tackle this crime, but many are in default. The UN Convention against Corruption is a model for national anti-corruption legislation, defines criminal corrupt acts such as bribery and allows countries to exchange information and provide mutual assistance to bring such criminal acts to justice. OECD countries, meanwhile, are committed to enforcing criminal sanctions for the bribery of foreign officials.

Who is responsible for tackling corruption?
Only 7 of 38 countries signed up to the OECD anti-bribery convention and are actively investigating and prosecuting companies for bribing foreign officials. This situation has shown no signs of improvement for two years.

At the height of the financial crisis in 2009, the G20 promised to tackle bank secrecy and tax havens, but little is done to control whether tax havens actually provide information and legal assistance to tax authorities.

Governments are required to pursue enhanced due diligence on “Politically Exposed Persons” regardless of whether they hold an office or have fallen in disgrace. In June, the UK Financial Services Authority issued a report warning that less than half of UK banks do this.

Tens of billions of Libyan assets have been frozen throughout western economies. Switzerland alone says that it has frozen US$ 1 billion of assets from North African countries.

Transparency International France
has spent years in French courts trying to get Congolese, Equatorial Guinean, Tunisian leaders’ assets frozen and investigated.

If “rogue states” “depart from the rules applied by other states”, how should we name states that fail to sign up, enforce or live by international anti-corruption laws?

Transparency can be a powerful tool against those who are putting profit before integrity. Governments who fail to take these steps, steps which they have already agreed to, are complicit in creating impunity not only for the corrupt rulers who steal their country’s resources, but the financial experts, lawyers, agents who aid and abet them.

Corruption is a crime against society, it is time governments started to treat it that way. Read more.

Share and enjoy: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • TwitThis
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • MisterWong
  • Google Bookmarks
  • Technorati
  • LinkedIn
  • NewsVine
  • YahooBuzz
  • Print
  • email
Cobus de Swardt

About Cobus de Swardt

Cobus de Swardt is the Managing Director of Transparency International. From May 2004 to May 2007 Cobus de Swardt was Director for Global Programmes at Transparency International (TI). Cobus de Swardt is a South African sociologist whose work experience spans the fields of globalisation, development policy, international relations and multinational business management. During the 1980s and early 1990s he was active in the anti-Apartheid struggle in South Africa chairing the ANC in Cape Town.

, , , , , , , , , , ,

8 Responses to Corruption: a crime against society

  1. Delia Matilde FERREIRA RUBIO 25 July 2011 at 4:52 pm #

    Excellent!
    As TI discussed in Bangkok last November, if corruption is a crime against society, the consequence is that those found guilty should compensate social damage produced by corrupt acts.
    This is a novel legal concept that we should keep on working to develop.

  2. Kris Dev 10 September 2011 at 8:07 pm #

    UNCAC should have a clause to try member states corruption cases above say 1 million Dollar or Euro. Any citizen from any member country should be able to file a petition with proof and the accused parties (state, corporate, international financing agency, etc.) should respond within say 60 days and the case heard and disposed of within say 180 days. UNCAC should have the power to order prosecution and recovery of corrupt money laundered and stashed anywhere in the world.

  3. govind mathur 13 July 2012 at 7:12 am #

    i want to inform that just watch this link (http://nbt.in/CY96ob)
    and do sum possible queries.

    thnx

  4. govind mathur 13 July 2012 at 7:15 am #

    http://nbt.in/CY96ob watch this link nd do sumthing……..

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. My bookmarks | About Social Data - 14 September 2011

    [...] Corruption: a crime against society : space for transparency [...]

  2. Links Jul 19 | Credit Card Payment Site - Citicards, Discover Cards, American Express Cards - 27 October 2011

    [...] up the time period for lobbying.”’ Press Release: Corruption: a crime against society Transparency International Jul 18 – ‘At the height of the financial crisis in 2009, the G20 promised to tackle [...]

  3. Cobus de Swardt: Practicing What You Preach: A Lesson for Walmart’s Bosses « CrimeAlertBlog.Com - 26 April 2012

    [...] aspect of human resources, there have to be incentives for carrying out the code of conduct, and sanctions for ignoring it. And when challenged to act, it’s the actions that senior management take [...]

  4. Practicing What You Preach: A Lesson for Walmart’s Bosses | Economy In Crisis - 26 April 2012

    [...] aspect of human resources, there have to be incentives for carrying out the code of conduct, and sanctions for ignoring it. And when challenged to act, it’s the actions that senior management take [...]

Leave a Reply