World Bank to step up fight against corruption, fraud
WASHINGTON: Anticorruption officials from 134 countries gathered at the World Bank in a drive to step up the fight against corruption and fraud, especially in the developing world.
The first meeting of the International Corruption Hunters Alliance, a network of more than 200 anti-corruption officials, opened at the development lender's Washington headquarters.
World Bank president Robert Zoellick noted that individual efforts and smaller networks were achieving successes against corruption, but coordinated efforts were needed.
"In a time of fiscal constraint in many donor countries, we need even more to underscore to donors and recipients that every development dollar will be spent as intended, to overcome poverty, boost growth, and opportunity," he said in opening remarks.
"This alliance can help us build the local will to improve transparency, strengthen procurement rules, set higher standards and hunt crimin a ls . Acting together, we can be more effective."
It was the first time the anti-corruption officials have met to discuss
how to advance the investigation and prosecution of corrupt people and entities, including those who defraud World Bank projects.
The three-day meeting is financially supported by the governments of Australia, Norway and Denmark.
"The corrupt steal from the poor, but they are aided by the indifferent. For too long the corruption efforts relied critically too much on the courage of individuals who, too often, had to act alone," Zoellick said.
"However, individual heroism is not a sustainable and effective strategy to eliminate corruption. Therefore we're gathered here in Washington to draw our strength and learn from one another on how to create a strong corruption hunters' network."
He gave as an example a recent decision by France's highest court that cleared the way for global watchdog Transparency International to investigate the assets of three African leaders in France.
At the time, the non-governmental organization hailed the November 9 ruling as "a considerable legal milestone" because it was the first time France recognized the collective action of an anti-corruption association admissible before a criminal court.
Zoellick said the International Corruption Hunters Alliance "can help us learn how to pursue more multi-jurisdictional prosecutions. - PB News