- February 26, 2020
- Posted by: admin
- Categories: RAI News, SEE News
On 10-11 February 2020, the OSCE Mission to Skopje and the Albanian OSCE Chairmanship 2020, in coordination with OSCE field operations from South East Europe, organised a regional conference discussing measures, policies and best practices in the fight against corruption, titled “Preventive measures and enforcing the law: building resilience to corruption in South East Europe”. Over 70 participants, including representatives of the law enforcement agencies and anti-corruption institutions in the region, focused on the challenges in tackling corruption, both in the public and private sector, and challenges in inter-institutional and international co-operation.
International Treaty on Exchange of Data for the Verification of Asset Declarations was one of the main topics of the Conference alongside exchange of best practices in dealing with conflict of interest, asset declaration, money laundering investigations and confiscation of criminal assets.
In an increasingly globalised world, international co-operation to investigate corruption is an important element to detect wrongdoing, prevent corruption and bring potential perpetrators to justice. Mechanisms to share information among authorities, including in the South East European region, are needed to fully uncover corrupt practices, both from the public and private sector. In this respect, the Regional Anti-Corruption Initiative (RAI) presented the initiative for an International Treaty on Exchange of Data for the Verification of Asset Declarations to be signed in March 2020 in Vienna.
This tool, built according to international and regional standards and best practice, should facilitate the exchange of information to prevent and detect public abuse, and findings to be used in civil and administrative proceedings. While some participants mentioned the fact that mechanisms exist to exchange data on bank account holders when there is sufficient suspicion of potential misconduct/wrongdoing/money laundering, such processes need to be sped up, in full respect of data privacy laws and regulations. It was noted during the discussion that corruption does not know borders, for which adequate training for law enforcement officials (police, financial investigation units, prosecutors, anti-corruption agencies, etc.) on how to identify illegal financial flows and share relevant information with counterparts from the region and beyond.
As a result of the discussion, the following conclusions concerning the International Treaty on Exchange of Data for the Verification of Asset Declarations were issued:
– International or sub-regional treaties and/or agreements among signatories can and should benefit anti-corruption authorities to share information on assets, property declarations and money laundering practices, facilitating investigations and cross-checks.
– Authorities from the region are encouraged to join the new Treaty on Data Exchange by the Regional Anti-Corruption Initiative to be signed end of March 2020 in Vienna.
– Support from regional/international organisations is still useful and needed to build capacity on inter- and intra-institutional investigation techniques, standard operating procedures, forensics, information-sharing, integrity policies, and other types of training for local authorities.
Signing Ceremony of the International Treaty on Exchange of Data for the Verification of Asset Declarations will take place in Vienna on March 24, 2020.