Fighting corruption to be at the forefront of the Commonwealth

Transparency International and Malta Prime Minister make joint statement

Issued by Transparency International Secretariat



At the first day of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM), taking place in Malta, a joint statement of Transparency International and Hon. Joseph Muscat, Prime Minister of Malta, has pledged to put fighting corruption at the centre of the Commonwealth.

The statement outlines the damaging impact of corruption that “can choke off development, rob people of faith in their governments and sow the seeds of instability and conflict.”

The statement sets out 8 steps to begin the process of the Commonwealth leading global anti-corruption efforts, including a formal Commonwealth scheme, meeting the G20 standards of beneficial ownership, as well as much stronger mechanisms for the sharing of information.

Cobus de Swardt, Transparency International Managing Director, said:

“We are delighted that the Commonwealth - which represents nearly a third of the world’s population - is taking the fight against corruption so seriously and treating it as a priority. Corruption has proven to be a major destructive force across the Commonwealth, ruining millions of lives and stunting development and growth.”

“The Commonwealth is in a unique position to lead international anti-corruption efforts. Transparency International is proud to work together with the Commonwealth to support our vision of a world in which corruption is eradicated.”

“This joint statement marks a first step in this relationship and we look forward to moving forwards and building a lasting partnership to combat corruption.”

Text of Joint Statement:

Joint statement: Transparency International and Hon Joseph Muscat, Prime Minister of Malta

“The Commonwealth should play a leading role in the fight against corruption”

 Unchecked, corruption can choke off development, rob people of faith in their governments and sow the seeds of instability and conflict. But against this challenge, the Commonwealth has a tremendous opportunity to lead.

Corruption afflicts the Commonwealth in many ways. The Commonwealth includes both countries where vast amounts of wealth are stolen from the people and major financial centres that can be used to launder corrupt wealth. It is a community of nations with a set of shared values, shared sense of rule of law and a shared history of institutions. Because of all we share, the Commonwealth is a vital international forum to tackle this agenda.

Today, at the start of CHOGM 2015, we set out an aspiration for the Commonwealth to lead the world in tackling corruption and the laundering of the corrupt wealth around the Commonwealth.

Ahead of the proposed Anti-Corruption Summit in 2016, hosted in the United Kingdom, the Commonwealth can build a consensus on tangible steps to address corruption and on a leadership role that the Commonwealth can take.

These steps need thorough debate, but they should include:

1. Considering a formal Commonwealth scheme for cooperation and mutual legal assistance to fight corruption

2. Expanding the Commonwealth Secretariat’s existing technical support to anti-corruption agencies and bringing professionals and practitioners together to help countries exchange ideas and find solutions tailored to their needs

3. Learning from the insights of the Commonwealth Associations of Anti-Corruption Agencies and the Commonwealth Africa Anti-Corruption Centre

4. Strengthening Commonwealth financial centres to lead the world in standards of transparency, integrity and effective anti-money laundering systems

5. Ensuring that all Commonwealth States meet the standards of beneficial ownership transparency that the G20 has agreed

6. Building better frameworks for sharing information on corruption and money laundering risks, so that strengthening one financial centre does not displace the problem to another jurisdiction

7. Raising standards of access to information rights for the public and whistleblower protections, across the Commonwealth

8. Reviewing the legitimacy of immunity for officials that guarantee against criminal proceedings across the Commonwealth and whether it can be reformed to end unnecessary high levels of protection that block justice for the corrupt

This week at the People’s Forum, the Business Forum, the Youth Forum and the Women’s Forum, as well as the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting, we have called for the entire Commonwealth community to support this aspiration. If the Commonwealth can build a joint compact across all of its communities, we can break the strangle hold that corruption has on so many parts of the world.


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