Press Releases

    8 December 2008

    UNODC Calls for Greater Financial Integrity
    on International Day against Corruption

    VIENNA, 8 December (UN Information Service) - On the International Day against Corruption (which falls on 9 December), the Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), Antonio Maria Costa, called for full implementation of the United Nations Convention against Corruption. The Convention, which came into force in December 2005, includes detailed measures to prevent and fight corruption applicable to both the private and public sectors. There are 128 Parties.

    "Governments and banks should make better use of the United Nations Convention against Corruption to restore confidence in the international financial system. The world's anti-corruption treaty should be the basis for strengthening integrity and oversight and curbing economic crime", said the Executive Director of UNODC.

    "Not only is corruption destroying jobs, productivity and markets in the developed world, it is stealing development assistance from the world's poorest people in developing countries, making it harder to achieve the Millennium Development Goals", said Mr. Costa. "If more governments and businesses implemented the Convention we wouldn't be in such a mess", he said.

    Mr. Franz-Hermann Brüner, Director General of the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) underlined the growing operational collaboration between OLAF and the UN. "It is a privilege for OLAF to contribute to UNODC's international campaign against corruption because raising public awareness of this problem - also with the support of the OLAF Anti-Fraud Communicators Network (OAFCN) - is a key to bringing about its prevention", said Mr. Brüner.

    Mr. Martin Kreutner, Chair of the European Partners against Corruption (EPAC) and Director of the Austrian Federal Bureau for Internal Affairs highlighted international cooperation as "a key component in the fight against corruption since corruption hits us all". He stressed the need for partnership, "not only for the investigational side of the phenomenon but also for the preventive and educational spheres."

    In addition to trying to prevent corruption, the UN is helping states recover money that has been stolen. One year ago, the World Bank and UNODC launched the Stolen Asset Recovery Initiative (StAR) to help developing countries recover stolen assets and the developed world - particularly financial centres - to eliminate barriers to returning these assets. "The barriers to asset recovery are coming down: the days of banking secrecy are over", said Mr. Costa.

    To train a new generation of corruption busters, an International anti-Corruption Academy will open in Laxenburg, Austria in 2009.

    * *** *

    For further information, please contact:

    Walter Kemp
    Spokesman and Speechwriter
    United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime
    Mobile: (+43-699) 1459-5629