Global Witness and Transparency International (TI), together with 76 other organisations from around the world, have signed a letter to the Group of 20 leading economies calling for swift implementation of the G20’s Anti-Corruption Action Plan, published last November.
Huguette Labelle, chair of TI, said “the time to act is now. On the streets of Cairo and Tunis we have seen crowds calling for an end to corruption. The G20 has said it would lead by example. People are rightly concerned about the alleged wealth of former heads of state in Egypt and Tunisia. G20 countries should be doing everything they can to ensure any illicit financial flows are stopped and investigated.”
Gavin Hayman, director of campaigns at Global Witness stressed “G20 countries need to do much more to ensure that they are not providing safe haven to corrupt politicians or their dirty money. The G20 Anti-Corruption Action Plan is welcome, but as yet it lacks detail and a clear timeframe for implementation. At a time when people around the world are looking for ways to restore trust in governments and the financial system, transparency should be at the heart of the G20’s reform agenda.”
Corruption perpetuates poverty, impedes economic growth and fosters instability. Sustainable development can only be achieved based on the rule of law and a sound, well regulated, accountable, financial system. This is not possible without tackling corruption.
The letter makes a series of recommendations on each area covered by the Action Plan, for example on how to curb banks’ ability to accept corrupt funds, implement the UN Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC), and protect whistleblowers. The key theme is the importance of greater transparency, as well as the need for civil society input into the G20 process.
Two of our recommendations – registries of the beneficial owners/controllers of companies and trusts; and companies reporting their accounts on a country-by-country basis – would provide investors, citizens and government agencies with crucial information to tackle financial crime and tax dodging.
Four G20 countries have yet to ratify UNCAC – Germany, Japan, India and Saudi Arabia.