22 November 2011


The Director of the UK Serious Fraud Office commented last week on the speed with which anti corruption measures are developing.  He felt that commitments made at this month’s G20 meeting should have got more coverage although the problems with the Eurozone, understandably, grabbed the headlines. A G20 media release highlights this international momentum in tackling corruption;

  • ratification by India of the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC);
  • decision by Russia to join the OECD Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials
  • entry into force in China of a law criminalizing international corruption
  • adoption by the European Commission of the Anti-Corruption package in June 2011;
  • entry into force in South Korea of a law protecting whistleblowers;
  • creation of a national anti-corruption agency in Saudi Arabia;
  • entry into force of a new law on international corruption in the United Kingdom;
  • enactment of the Dodd-Frank Act in the United States.

Anti corruption movements seem to be “catching on” almost in tandem with the Arab Spring.  Communities worldwide are reacting to abuse of power by Governments and their officials. Any corruption undermines public trust and, as exposed in numerous surveys, the effects are particularly damaging in emerging economies. Public services fall apart, infrastructure collapses and the institutions lose any credibility. That is why the United States Government exerts diplomatic pressure on countries to sign up to UNCAC (and cajoles them to give effect to convention obligations.)