Friday, July 14, 2017

The World Targets Official Corruption

Last Wednesday July 5th, a new global anti-corruption agency was launched in the United Kingdom and will be based at the UK's National Crime Agency (NCA). The multinational agency was formed specifically "to tackle grand corruption, a criminal category that can include bribery of public officials, embezzlement, abuse of power and money laundering of proceeds from crime".

The International Anti-Corruption Coordination Centre (IACCC), as it's being called, brings together police agencies from Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Singapore, the United States, the United Kingdom and Interpol, the International Police Agency. According to a statement released by the agency, "Grand corruption can include acts of corruption by politically exposed persons that may involve vast quantities of assets and that threaten political stability and sustainable development. Acts that might fall into this category include bribery of public officials, embezzlement, abuse of function or the laundering of the proceeds of crime. It increases poverty and inequality, undermines good business and threatens the integrity of financial markets". Officials spoke out harshly against the scourge of corruption worldwide.

Donald Toon, NCA Director of Economic Crime, said: “There is no doubt that the world’s major economies are abused by corrupt leaders. We have a responsibility to guard against that abuse, limit the damage it causes to countries already battling poverty, and pursue the individuals who put self-interest above the welfare of citizens. This is the first law enforcement partnership specifically coordinating the global response to grand corruption. We know from our experience the value that dedicated centres for collaboration bring to successful international law enforcement action and we will use all our combined expertise to tackle the most complex and devastating cases of corruption.

Australian Federal Police (AFP) Deputy Commissioner Operations Neil Gaughan, said: "Bribery and corruption distorts competitive conditions resulting in an inefficient allocation of resources and economic disparity. International corruption requires a global response; it is a threat to democracy, destabilizing, corrosive of good governance and an impediment to economic development. As a member of the IACCC, the AFP is committed to combating these threats though enhanced law enforcement cooperation."

Assistant Commissioner Paula Dionne of the RCMP's Federal Policing Special Services said: “Corruption benefits the few at the expense of the many, it has devastating effects on individuals and society.  The IACCC creates an environment whereby investigators can collaborate and offer assistance to countries that do not have the expertise or resources required to investigate these multi-jurisdictional criminal activities.  As a member of the Governance Board, the RCMP supports the IACCC initiative in the fight against grand corruption."

Tim Morris, INTERPOL’s Executive Director of Police Services, said: “Corruption creates a fertile ground for organized criminal activities and terrorism. It undermines political, social and economic stability, ultimately threatening the safety and security of society as a whole. With financial crime trails often revealing connections around the world, a united effort is essential if we are to combat this global scourge with criminals stealing billions from the public purse.

With the advent of this new agency, public officials worldwide, including our own leaders here in Dominica and the Caribbean at large, are on notice that the world's police agencies are targeting them with renewed vigor. Mr. Skerrit and his criminal gang are on notice; the monies you have been stealing from our purse are being traced and you will be made to account for your thievery. Mr. Morris from Interpol said as much: "With financial crime trails often revealing connections around the world, a united effort is essential if we are to combat this global scourge with criminals stealing billions from the public purse.

Did he have Roosevelt Skerrit in mind? We'll find out.

To read the full press release issued by the UK's National Crime Agency, click here: PRESS RELEASE

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