By Cecilia Ologunagba
UN Secretary-General António Guterres has described the recently inaugurated Global Operational Network of Anti-Corruption Law Enforcement Authorities (GlobeE Network) as an important mechanism for building trust and promoting justice.
Guterres told the General Assembly’s first-ever Special Session against corruption via a video message, that before the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, countries all over the world had been “roiled by huge anti-government demonstrations”.
GlobeE Network launched on Thursday will empower all countries to find practical solutions and better tools to track, investigate and prosecute the scourge.
The Network will enable law enforcement authorities to navigate legal processes through informal cooperation across borders, helping to build trust and bring those guilty of corruption to justice
“Corruption was one of the protestors’ main grievances; we can be sure those protestors are watching closely now, as trillions of dollars are invested in recovery.
“We must reinvigorate political commitment and strengthen international cooperation to fight corruption.
“Corruption is often systematic and organised, a crime that crosses borders and betrays people and democracies.
“It steals trillions of dollars from people all over the world, usually from those most in need, as it siphons off resources for sustainable development,’’ the UN chief said.
According to him, when powerful people get away with corruption, citizens lose trust in their governing institutions and democracies become weakened by cynicism and hopelessness.
“Turning the tide against corruption is essential if we are to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), promote peace, and protect human rights.”
The top UN official stressed the need to reinvigorate political commitment to fight corruption, strengthen international cooperation to recover stolen assets and prevent criminals from finding safe havens overseas for themselves and their funds.
During the inauguration, anti-corruption experts discussed the role of the GlobE Network in ensuring that all countries and their independent anti-corruption authorities had the contacts and tools they need to track, investigate and prosecute cross-border corruption quickly and effectively.
The secretary-general said the organisation would continue to provide technical assistance and called on all governments to make full use of the network and to further encourage efforts toward eradicating corruption.
“Ending impunity for corruption, and returning stolen assets to their owners, are important steps towards a new social contract based on trust, integrity and justice,” he said. (NAN)