NAB Chief Address UNGA, Speaks of Increasing Barriers In Recovery of Assets, Return to Countries Of Origin

UNITED NATIONS: The Chairman of Pakistan’s National Accountability Bureau (NAB), Justice (R) Javed Iqbal has revealed that corruption alone costs the world at least USD 2.6 trillion per year, that is approximately 5% of the global domestic product.

Addressing the special session of the UN General Assembly against corruption, Justice (R) Javed Iqbal said an estimated USD 1.26 trillion was lost annually by the developing countries due to corruption, bribery, theft and tax evasion, and this was approximately nine times Official Development Assistance funding.

He said in order to reinforce the global fight against corruption, it was vital to strengthen international cooperation and efficiently prevent, detect, investigate and prosecute corruption, as well as to apply effective, proportionate and dissuasive penalties and recover criminal assets.

He said fighting corruption was fundamental precondition for upholding the rule of law, peace and security, achieving sustainable deveopment and respect for human rights and fundamental freedom.

He further said that it was also an integral part of the international commitment to end poverty, curb illicit financial flows and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity.

He said Pakistan is pleased to note the increasing significance of the United Nations Convention against Corruption in addressing the common Challenge at the global level. “We continue to attach high priority to the fight against corruption. We believe that corruption should be prevented in all its forms and a of rejection of corrupt practices should be fostered at all levels.”

Justice (R) Javed Iqbal said that asset recovery is one of the fundamental principles of the UNCAC, it is a matter of high priority for Pakistan. Despite explicit articles Of the UNCAC, there seems to be an increase in the barriers and challenges in the process of asset recovery and return to the countries Of origin.

“There is a growing concern that lack of political will, unnecessary delays, procedural complexities, bureaucratic hurdles and legal barriers in requested states, as well as high cost of asset recovery, continue to impede effective international cooperation in the area of asset recovery,” he said, adding that the management, administration and utilization of the returned assets is the right and responsibility of the requesting state and that the recovered assets should returned without conditionalities and in full respect or the sovereign rights Of the Slates of origin.

In the context of the current global challenges, new commitments are urgently needed which are bold, clear and concrete. Member states need to actively explore innovative ideas and initiatives to strengthen the existing international framework to prevent corruption and to end impunity. 16. special session is an opportunity for all of us to explore and develop these ideas further, particularly on the following priority areas: Immediate return of stolen assets: Penalties on the financial institutions. lawyers and accountants, and other “enablers” of corruption, crime and tax evasion; . Disclosure of the “beneficial ownership” Of companies; A global minimum corporate tax; . Fair digital taxation; Review and revision of unequal investment treaties; and A coherent, transparent and inclusive mechanism for monitoring illicit financial flows set up under the United Nations.

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