The British government rejected a strong plea by Labor Lord Peter Hain for the United Kingdom to support the creation of an International Anti-Corruption Tribunal (IACC), an idea Hain said was gaining international traction.
Deputy Foreign Secretary Tariq Ahmed Lahin said in the House of Lords last week that the government had consulted extensively with Britain’s international partners and concluded that “Now is not the time to endorse a new, bespoke institution of this kind.” He insisted that the government was nonetheless “fully committed to ensuring accountability for those responsible for the most egregious acts of corruption” mainly through its International Anti-Corruption Unit.
Ahmed said the government will lay out further plans to combat major cross-border corruption in the UK’s second anti-corruption strategy later this year.
Henn said Ahmed’s response was “extremely disappointing. Money laundering accounts for more than 5% of global GDP, or $2 trillion each year, yet there is no effective mechanism in place to prosecute corrupt people, corrupt businessmen, oligarchs or their professional enablers.”
“Canada, the Netherlands, Ecuador, Moldova, Nigeria, and the European Parliament have recently called for the creation of an international anti-corruption court, as have more than 300 leaders from more than 80 countries, more than 45 former presidents and prime ministers, and 30 Nobel laureates. A group of eminent international jurists is now and other experts drafting a model treaty. Will the government now join them to confront this terrible international scourge?”
Hain has campaigned vigorously against corruption, particularly in South Africa where he convinced the Conservative government last year to do so ban US-based international consulting firm Bain & Co. was suspended from doing business with the British government for three years because of its complicity in State Capture, particularly the Treasury Department, during Zuma’s presidency. In March this year, though, the UK Lifted early ban.
Labor Baroness Janet Whitaker He told the Lords last week that a recent survey showed that 70% of those polled in the G7 and BRICS nations – whose populations make up the majority of the world’s countries – supported the creation of an international anti-corruption tribunal to deal with cases that national governments and their courts either cannot or cannot handle. with her.
Labor Lord Ray Collins said the head of the UN Economic and Social Council recently said corruption costs 5% of global GDP and as a result the world will not achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Ahmed asked if the government had considered working within the UN to raise the profile of corruption and especially if it had taken steps to strengthen the UN Convention against Corruption to help change world opinion.
Ahmed, who holds the position of deputy minister The Middle East, North Africa, South Asia and the United Nations said that the UK’s International Anti-Corruption Unit is a leading global institution that has achieved a lot since its establishment in 2017 in close coordination with UK partners.
He said the unit had received 247 referrals of major corruption from more than 40 countries and, as a result, had published 146 intelligence reports, identified assets worth £1.4bn, supported asset freezes worth £623m, and forfeited and forfeited £74m. In 2022 alone, intelligence collected across these jurisdictions has supported the identification of a further £380m of stolen assets.
Ahmed said that an international institution such as an international anti-corruption tribunal could only be created with the support of a wide range of partners. Britain’s Five Eyes partners (the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, who share intelligence with them) were crucial and the UK worked closely with them.
Liberal Democrat Lord Johnny Oates asked Ahmed what the government was doing to make good on UK Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell’s pledge earlier this year that he would stop the flow of dirty money, stolen particularly from Africa and the African people. “Wouldn’t the establishment of the IACC play a major role in such efforts?” Oates asked.
As Ahmed asked, if global public opinion does not support the creation of the IACC, what is the government doing to change global opinion.
Ahmed said that international corruption is an ever-evolving challenge and that the government continues to work on it. The IACC idea was not “completely off the table”.
He gave examples of the successes of the UK’s international anti-corruption unit in Africa. He said that in March 2021, the first £4.2m of assets stolen by James Ibori, the former governor of Delta State, had been returned to Nigeria.
He said the UK’s Anti-Corruption Unit seized 19 UK properties, as well as cars, including Lamborghinis and Bentleys, that were owned by British-Malawi dual citizen Xunth Sattar who allegedly defrauded the Malawian. Government of billions of kwacha. Ahmed said the unit has seen other successes in Nigeria and Angola.
Ahmed also said the UK works with all international instruments, such as the UN Convention Against Corruption, despite the need to enhance their effectiveness, including by adapting them to reflect challenges such as the use of technology for corruption offences. The UK has been working with key partners in the UN to do this.
The government was also looking into helping and funding support structures in the Commonwealth to fight corruption, with a particular focus on Africa.
Ahmed pointed out that the important thing in the sanctions imposed by the United Kingdom against corruption is the existence of legal oversight. “There is real power for those institutions, organizations and individuals who may feel they have been unduly sanctioned, and that is the power of UK law.” DM