INTERNATIONAL

U.N. adopts anti-corruption treaty

United Nations Nov. 1. In a major boost to international efforts to fight corruption, the U.N. General Assembly has adopted a landmark anti-corruption treaty which makes it mandatory for countries ratifying it to return stolen assets, outlaw bribery and requires politicians to declare campaign finance.

The treaty, which was adopted by the 191-member Assembly by consensus, asks the parties to the treaty to cooperate in investigation into corruption charges and prosecution of the culprits. It also details measures to prevent corruption in both private and public sectors.

The treaty will open for signature at a high level political conference in Merid, Mexico, and come into force and become part of international law 90 days after 30th country deposits it instruments of ratification.

Welcoming the adoption of convention, the U.N. Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, said the provision that enjoins Governments to return stolen assets to the countries that owned them, if fully enforced, would remove one of the biggest obstacles to development.

``Corrupt officials will, in the future, find fewer ways to hide their illicit gains. This is a particularly important issue for many developing countries, where corrupt officials have plundered the national wealth, and where new governments badly need resources to reconstruct and rehabilitate their societies,'' he said.

The convention would give a major boost to efforts to fight corruption and provision requiring that stolen and illegally acquired assets taken out of the country be returned is a major breakthrough that would deter potential perpetrators, said Ambassador Muhyieddeen Tough, chairperson of the ad hoc committee that negotiated it.

The convention complements another landmark instrument, the United Nations Convention against Trans-national Organised Crime which entered into force a month ago.

The Assembly also decided that, to raise awareness of corruption and of the new Convention's role in combating and preventing it, December 9 should be designated International Anti-Corruption Day.

The 71-article Convention was negotiated over a period of about three years.

PTI

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