Tracing and tracking of those wanted for corruption is a priority area for India and global networks of anti-corruption law enforcement authorities can do a lot more to ensure tracking, repatriation and denial of safe havens for these fugitives, a senior CBI official said on Thursday. Overall, the tracing and tracking of fugitives who are wanted for corruption is a priority area for us. We do feel GlobE’ and other networks can do a lot more in facilitating the tracing, tracking and repatriation of the fugitives and denial of safe haven for these fugitives wanted for corruption, Central Bureau of Investigation Deputy Inspector General (Coordination) Vijayendra Bidari said.
Bidari was speaking at the side event International Cooperation on Corruption Prevention Matters organised by Russia at the Special Session of the UN General Assembly against Corruption (UNGASS) 2021. The new GlobE Network’ was launched on the margins of UNGASS as a decisive new tool in the global anti-corruption arsenal.
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said the global community must reinvigorate political commitment and strengthen international cooperation to fight corruption and the creation of the GlobE Network against corruption is a step in the right direction. UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) Director-General/Executive Director Ghada Waly, in his remarks at opening of UNGASS said that UNODC will serve as the Secretariat to the GlobE Network, which will link up anti-corruption law enforcement authorities to pursue more agile cross-border cooperation and proactive information sharing to bring the corrupt to justice.
Bidari said most anti-corruption investigations and prevention of corruption is no longer a localised phenomenon and “it requires very close cooperation among the anti-corruption agencies and agencies involved in asset recovery. He stressed that the focus mainly has to be in terms of information sharing because the tentacles of corruption have spread across the globe and information is available in silos across various countries.
He termed the GlobE Network as a positive step and very focused network that can take cooperation, especially at a practical level and law enforcement agency level, forward. Bidari emphasised that while some countries are able to cooperate in a speedy manner in the area of mutual legal assistance, he added that not all countries are on equal footing and it must be realised that investigations cannot move forward if mutual legal assistance is not forthcoming.
These are the gaps and loopholes which the corrupt persons do exploit where the understanding between countries is not sufficient and the level of assistance which is required is not forthcoming, he said. Bidari underscored that in India we remain firmly committed to the fight against corruption and we are committed to zero tolerance against corruption.
We believe in an all-of-society and all-of-government approach in the fight against corruption, he said, adding that several measures, especially direct benefit transfers, vigilance measures, have been implemented at a massive scale within the country. These are having a very major impact on plugging all the systemic loopholes which can be exploited for corruption and this is showing a very positive impact.
The event saw participation from practitioners and experts from Brazil, China, India, Russia, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, the Council of Europe’s Group of States against Corruption (GRECO) and the International Anti-Corruption Academy (IACA). Bidari said nations are relying on existing networks such as the Interpol which are already very well established over the decades and being used by law enforcement agencies for practical cooperation.
We do feel there’s a lot of more potential to explore to better utilise these facilities, he said. Asset recovery and non-conviction based asset recovery are also priority areas where law enforcement and agency cooperation has to be enhanced, he said.
Bidari pointed out there is a lot of difficulty in understanding the legal procedure, templates and actual requirements of agencies in different countries and these are some of the impediments which need to be overcome by better cooperation among the practitioners. He emphasised that it is very important that going ahead, international cooperation should be strengthened not only at the diplomatic level but at the practical level relating to agencies and practitioners.
We need to involve them even more so that more practical and implementation-oriented measures are taken in the coming days. he said.
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