Cameron, world leaders pledge to fight corruption in all its forms

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British Prime Minister, David Cameron, and other world leaders, on Thursday in London at the anti-corruption summit, pledged to “substantially’’ reduce corruption and bribery in all its forms.

Cameron with officials from 40 nations, including 11 heads of state, said that the leaders had come together in the biggest demonstration of political will to fight corruption.

“I believe that corruption is the cancer at the heart of so many problems we face in the world,’’ he said, and highlighted the problems to include poverty, terrorism and money laundering.

The prime minister promised that Britain would take the lead by launching an international anti-corruption centre.

He said that the centre would share adequate information on company ownership and forcing foreign property buyers to reveal the original source of their funds.

Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari, on his part, said that the international community had looked the other way for too long.

He said that the global community did that by failing to recover assets stolen from developing nations and deposited with Western financial institutions.

Christine Lagarde, Head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), highlighted the very strong link between corruption and lower growth.

According to her, for adequate growth there must be fight against corruption.

Lagarde said that she wished transparency and integrity to be a systematic part of IMF country surveillance.

In his submission, U.S. Secretary of State, Mr John Kerry, said that the summit could be the beginning of something different.

Kerry expressed shock at the degree to which corruption had become pandemic in the world, saying that the vice had destroyed nations.

“We have to say no safe harbour anywhere, and get the global community to come together,’’ he said.

Mr Cobus de’Swardt, Head of Anti-Corruption Group, Transparency International, in his contribution, decried Cameron’s corruption comment on Nigeria and Afghanistan, saying though both nations were highly corrupt, their leaders had sent strong signals of change.

“We should not forget that by providing a safe haven for corrupt assets, the UK and its Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies are a big part of the world’s corruption problem,’’ he said.

Meanwhile, the Oxfam, the global anti-poverty group said that the summit had delivered an “underwhelming response to the challenge set by Panama Papers.”

The group said in a joint declaration that corruption was at the heart of so many and the greatest of the world’s problems.

“We must overcome it if our efforts to end poverty, promote prosperity and defeat terrorism and extremism are to succeed.

“We commit to expose corruption wherever it is found, to pursue and punish those who perpetrate, facilitate or who are complicit in it, and support the communities which have suffered from it,” they said.

A report says a dozen protesters from anti-poverty group gathered close to the summit, shouting slogans and holding a large placard reading “It’s a scandal, 170 billion dollars stolen annually, so stop tax havens’’.

It said that large nations including Iran, Egypt and Pakistan, did not attend the summit, while China, Brazil, Indonesia and Saudi Arabia did not put their names to any of more than a dozen initiatives announced at the summit.

According to the report, Russia only signed up to an initiative promoting transparency on taxes by large multinational firms. (dpa/NAN)

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