“Corruption is criminal, immoral and the ultimate betrayal of public trust. It is even more damaging in times of crisis – as the world is experiencing now with the COVID-19 pandemic. The response to the virus is creating new opportunities to exploit weak oversight and inadequate transparency, diverting funds away from people in their hour of greatest need." says United Nations Secretary-General, António Guterres, Statement on corruption in the context of COVID-19
Today, 9 December 2020 is International Anti-Corruption Day. This year the theme is 'Recover with Integrity'.
International Anti-Corruption Day was adopted by the UN to raise awareness of corruption and of the role of the United Nations Convention against Corruption in combating and preventing it. It promotes the work of the UN, governments, the private sector, non-governmental organisations, the media and citizens around the world who join forces to fight corruption.
States all over the world, including New Zealand, have taken significant measures to address the COVID-19 health emergency and to avoid a global economic collapse. They hastily mobilised billions in funds to procure medical equipment and provide an economic safety net for citizens and businesses in distress. However, the urgent responses required led some States to compromise on compliance, oversight and accountability for achievement of rapid impact, thus creating significant opportunities for corruption.
'Recover with Integrity' highlights that only by putting effective corruption mitigation measures in place will a satisfactory recovery be possible, while it also emphasises that inclusive COVID-19 recovery can only be achieved with integrity.
For New Zealanders, International Anti-Corruption Day is a good day to reflect on how fortunate we are to live in a country with relatively low levels of corruption and where COVID-19 is in check.
At the same time, the risks to New Zealand from emergency economic relief and money laundering are high. This is a good day to remind your local MP to support increased transparency in the beneficial ownership of companies and trusts, in public procurement, and in political financing, and to support stronger whistleblowing legislation and organisational culture.
To 'Recover with Integrity' we need to stand #UnitedAgainstCorruption