The Panama Papers and Transparency International UK’s research on the billions of potentially corrupt capital invested in London property are the most recent indicators of the scale of the global problem and the need for global cooperation to tackle it.
“Fighting corruption is the first step to reducing inequality, safeguarding human rights, ending poverty and stopping those who act with impunity. It’s not an easy task, but it is not something world leaders can afford to ignore,” said José Ugaz, Chair of Transparency International.
“We want leaders to prevent corruption, punish the corrupt and protect those bold enough to speak out. We hope that world leaders will listen closely to the recommendations of civil society when deciding a way forward. Civil society represents the voice of the people, people who suffer the pain and indignity of corruption on a daily basis.”
“The UK Anti-Corruption Summit is too big an opportunity to waste. An ambitious and specific agreement on ending secrecy in the financial system, finding ways to stop the enablers of corruption and creating a safe environment for whistleblowers must be a priority for world leaders at this week’s meeting,” Ugaz added.
Transparency International today released a report on how the UK Summit can make a difference. Click here to see the full report.
To be a success governments must:
• Reach an agreement for public registries of who owns and controls companies and other legal entities
• Agree to share information across borders for criminal investigations
• Punish and sanction the enablers of corruption, including the lawyers, bankers, and property agents who allow illicit money to be laundered
• Only allow companies whose beneficial owners are known to bid for public contracts
• Ensure the protection of people who speak up against corruption with comprehensive whistleblower protection legislation
More and more people are refusing to allow their governments to be complicit in benefiting from corruption. The majority of people in 58 out of the 60 countries surveyed said their government should not allow corrupt foreign politicians and business people to spend the proceeds of corruption in their country. Only Panama and Colombia were outliers.
Professionals such as lawyers, bankers and accountants who facilitate corruption and enable the corrupt to move stolen money across borders must also be stopped. Individuals and companies should be punished if found complicit in corruption.
Whistleblower protection is also an integral part of stopping corruption. Legislation is needed to protect those who report corruption so they are not fired from their jobs, harassed or worse.
The summit brings together world leaders who can make a difference by agreeing on concrete actions to stop corruption. They must act now.
Transparency International is the global civil society organisation leading the fight against corruption.
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