Business & UN

Business warns that UN anti-graft accord contains flaws

  • 11 December 2003

As more than 100 United Nations' member governments signed a groundbreaking convention against corruption today, a spokesman for world business warned that it contained serious deficiencies.

For the International Chamber of Commerce, Fritz Heimann told the conference: “Whether the UN Convention against Corruption will make a practical impact will depend on whether there will be an effective follow-up monitoring process.”

Mr Heimann, who is vice-Chairman of ICC’s Commission on Anti-Corruption, said that even though the signing ceremony was an occasion to celebrate, it was only a beginning. The lack of provisions for monitoring was a matter for concern.

However, ICC applauded the UN and the signatory states for producing a convention that brought to the forefront the notion that corruption is wrong, whatever the transaction, and in every country and in all circumstances.

He pledged that ICC and its national committees in more than 80 countries stand ready to work with the UN to get the convention ratified and to make sure that it accomplishes its objectives.

The agreement is aimed at making it easier to bring corrupt officials to justice and to recover illicit funds. The treaty will only enter into force when it ratified by 30 countries.

US Attorney General John Ashcroft, who signed on behalf of the United States, said corruption is “a tax on the poor.” President Vicente Fox of Mexico said: “Strengthening the fight against corruption is to strengthen our fight against poverty.”