G20 ministers welcome Saudi initiative for creation of global network to combat graft


Saudi Gazette report

Anti-corruption ministers from the Group of 20 have welcomed Saudi Arabia's initiative toward the creation of a Global Operational Network of Anti-Corruption Law Enforcement Authorities.

This will complement existing platforms and networks for informal international cooperation, such as the OECD Global Law Enforcement Network (GLEN) and the OECD Working Group on Bribery Law Enforcement Officials (LEOs) and the INTERPOL/StAR Global Focal Point Network, and should foster, in an inclusive manner, the direct contact between anti-corruption law enforcement authorities.

During a virtual ministerial-level meeting on combating corruption on Thursday, the ministers stressed the importance of the existing international framework to combat corruption, particularly the commitments and pledges stipulated in the United Nations Convention against Corruption, the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development and the Financial Action Task Force.

The anti-corruption summit, which is the first of its kind for the group, was chaired by the president of Saudi Arabia’s Oversight and Anti-Corruption Authority (Nazaha) Mazen Bin Ibrahim Al-Kahmous and attended by Saudi Minister of Justice Dr. Walid Al-Samaani, Saudi Attorney General Sheikh Saud bin Abdullah Al-Mejeb, heads of delegations of the group's member states, the participating countries, and the heads of regional and international organizations.

During the meeting, the Saudi attorney general underscored the importance of the voluntary exchange of information among the corruption combating authorities and general prosecutors on a proactive basis.

He called on the G20 member states to adopt an open dialogue to discuss and share experience in this field, without tampering with the sovereignty and domestic regulations.

The ministers affirmed their support in line with the G20 anti-corruption action plan for the years 2019-2021, and the high-level principles from the Kingdom's presidency of the G20 during 2020, represented in developing and implementing national anti-corruption strategies, and employing information and communication technologies (ICT) to promote integrity in the public sector, and in Privatization and Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs).

They indicated the need for international cooperation in the investigations and prosecution of transnational corruption cases, including those cases in which the recovery of the proceeds of crime is required.

The ministers committed to strengthening investigation mechanisms for corruption cases and pledged to prevent criminals from escaping justice regardless of their position or social status.

They vowed to pursue the criminalization of criminal corrupt acts and prosecution of the perpetrators, recovery of stolen assets that were confiscated, and returning them, whenever appropriate, and in a manner that does not conflict with local laws and international obligations.

In the pursuit of moving forward, the ministers emphasized the follow-up of a comprehensive and integrated anti-corruption agenda, taking into account the basic principles of the rule of law and human rights, emphasizing on following a zero-tolerance policy against corruption.