Fighting corruption 'must be high on the Commonwealth agenda'

By agency reporter
April 18, 2018

With the UK Government talking up the future role of the Commonwealth in post-Brexit trade deals, Transparency International is calling on Commonwealth countries to incorporate key transparency, accountability and anti-corruption mechanisms into all future trade deals.

In Transparency International’s 2017 Corruption Perceptions Index, the 27 Commonwealth countries had an average score of just 48 out of 100. Meanwhile Commonwealth countries also report a higher rate of bribe paying than the global average, according to the 2013 Global Corruption Barometer, with 34 per cent of respondents from Commonwealth countries reporting that they had paid a bribe in the previous year.

Transparency International is calling on states in the Commonwealth to close the door to corrupt money by ending secrecy in the financial system, as well ensuring proper diligence is carried out on individuals using visa programmes into Commonwealth countries.

Maggie Murphy, Senior Global Advocacy Manager, Transparency International said, “Corruption continues to be a major concern across the Commonwealth, either through high levels of bribery and embezzlement within those countries, or the use of financial secrecy in other states that helps to facilitate corruption. With the Commonwealth expected to be a major player in future post-Brexit trade deals, it’s all the more important that tackling corruption is a priority.”

“Corruption threatens to hold back Commonwealth countries, both large and small if not properly prioritised and resourced. The Commonwealth has committed to fighting corruption in words but concrete action is now needed. There is a window of opportunity for the Commonwealth to prove itself as one of the key global institutions in the fight against corruption.”

“With the UK taking over as Commonwealth Chair-in-Office until 2020 it should now be helping to formulate and resource action, to take a leadership role in this regard. If the Commonwealth is truly committed to identifying actions to make a 'more secure', 'fairer', 'more sustainable' and 'more prosperous' future, it needs to put tackling corruption at the top of the 2018 Commonwealth Summit agenda.”

* Download Corruption and the Commonwealth here

* Corruption Perceptions Index 2017 here

* Transparency International UK http://www.transparency.org.uk/

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