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Saudi Arabia Urges Arab Countries to Join Anti-Corruption Network Effectively

Saudi Arabia Urges Arab Countries to Join Anti-Corruption Network Effectively

Wednesday, 23 March, 2022 - 08:30
Attendees at the Arab Forum for Promoting International Cooperation in the Fight against Corruption (Photo: Saleh Bashir)

The Riyadh Initiative (GlobE Network) seeks to achieve the common goals of Arab countries and the interests of developing countries in combating corruption, announced Nasser Abu al-Khail, Assistant Chairman of the Oversight and Anti-Corruption Authority (Nazaha).

Aba al-Khail told Asharq Al-Awsat that the Initiative had entered into force after being approved by G20 leaders and was welcomed by the General Assembly in New York during its meeting on combating corruption last June.

Riyadh hosted the Arab Forum for Promoting International Cooperation in the Fight against Corruption as part of the 4th session of the Conference of the States Parties to the Arab Convention against Corruption.

The Forum urged the Arab countries to effectively participate in the GlobE Network to link anti-corruption law enforcement agencies, stressing the importance of integrating the network and other international anti-corruption networks.

It will help countries evaluate the progress made in anti-corruption efforts and help develop the objective international indexes to measure corruption.

Aba al-Khail recalled that the decision seeks to increase support for the Initiative to achieve its goals after submitting a draft resolution to the member states of the UN Convention against Corruption.

He noted that the Forum represents a significant shift in fighting corruption and the recovery of public funds and assets.

Aba al-Khail added that the Forum discussed several related topics and was concluded with several recommendations and proposals, emphasizing the importance of boosting joint Arab action in combating corruption.

He stressed that the Initiative has entered into force after it was approved during the G20 meeting headed by the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques in November 2020.

The 4th Session of the Conference of States Parties to the Arab Convention against Corruption concluded Tuesday, with the participation of ministers of anti-corruption ministries in 14 Arab League member states and the presence of several international and regional organizations.

In his opening speech, President of Nazaha Mazin al-Kahmous welcomed the attendees and participants in the Forum and announced that Saudi Arabia is working in partnership with the UN and the Arab League during 2021 to develop a new mechanism for implementing the Arab Convention against Corruption.

Kahmous called on anti-corruption agencies to join the network of the Riyadh Global Initiative and work with Saudi Arabia, which focuses on reviewing current corruption measurement tools aiming to build a new methodology that can develop a new international index.

He added that establishing GlobE Network has come at the right time, especially with the development in the patterns of corruption crimes and corrupted people's utilization of weak cooperation and low levels of exchanging information among anti-corruption apparatuses around the world.

During the forum sessions, international and regional anti-corruption experts revealed that the Saudi approach to activate diplomacy and support efforts to recover public funds is essential to increase the efficiency of law enforcement authorities in combating corruption.

They reiterated the importance of GlobE in promoting International and judicial cooperation, capacity building and overcoming obstacles to recover assets, and enhancing integration with other international networks.

Executive Secretary of Egmont Group Jerome Beaumont emphasized that technical and procedural solutions could not work effectively without political will.

He noted that Saudi efforts in these forums and initiatives are necessary to encourage practical diplomatic work, adding that international groups contribute to providing a secure platform for exchanging information. It also allows financial intelligence to exchange information and other units to communicate in record time.

For his part, UN Crime Prevention Officer Badr al-Banna said GlobE Initiative assists anti-corruption law enforcement authorities and other international networks in protecting the integrity and fighting corruption.

Also at the Forum, Deputy Head of the International Corruption Unit within UK's Crime Agency David Liebscher said the Riyadh Initiative solves the issue of countries' slow response, the overlap of agencies, and lack of experts in digital currencies and money laundering.

It also helps experts to support investigations and track stolen assets and public funds, according to Liebscher.

Europol's Specialist Asset Recovery Marcella van Berkel said that recovering stolen public funds and assets is a complex issue and requires specialized judicial and legal experts.

The expert called for fruitful cooperation between countries, noting that the various anti-corruption and asset recovery agencies are dealing with a new pattern of assets, such as digital currencies.

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