Tuesday, June 5, 2012

UAE set to have its first anti-corruption law to end financial malpractices and corruption

The UAE is set to have its first anti-corruption law as the second largest Arab economy is pushing ahead with plans to become more transparent and end financial malpractices and other offences related to corruption.

The state Audit Bureau will enact the Gulf country’s first anti-corruption law as per instruction by President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan to fulfill the country’s commitment to UN charter on corruption.

“The Bureau will draw up an anti-corruption law and we urge all competent departments to join hands to ensure this law will see light and is implemented successfully,” the Bureau’s chairman, Hareb bin Saeed Al Amimi, said.

“This law will greatly support the UAE’s efforts to fight corruption and related offences, protect public funds and better utilize national resources for comprehensive development,” he told the semi-official daily Alittihad.

The Bureau is currently the UAE’s sole anti-corruption authority. Created by late President Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, it has played a major role in safeguarding public funds and curbing financial malpractices.The Bureau has recorded many cases involving misappropriation of federal finds since it was set up in the 1990s and has succeeded in recovering large sums of money wasted by some departments although it had not reported any arrests.But in a recent statement, the Bureau said it had detected more illegal financial operations at federal offices and informed the attorney general about such offences and those involved so they can be prosecuted.

“Over the past year, we have uncovered some financial abuses related to corruption and misappropriation of funds at federal level….several employees are involved in such operations and they are have been referred to the public prosecutor,” Amimi said in press remarks in 2011.

“We are pursuing our monitoring assignment at the instructions and with the support of the supreme authorities…we will exert strenuous efforts to preserve the public funds in line with the intensified measures undertaken by the UAE to combat all forms of corruption and other financial offences.”

In another statement earlier, the Bureau said it had unveiled major fiscal offences at federal government establishments involving nearly Dh300 million in fiscal year 2007-2008  but said all the funds had been recovered. It said many civil servants were involved in what it described as illegal financial practices.Officials said recently cases involving abuse of public funds have sharply declined thanks to intensified auditing and anti-corruption measures.

As a result, the UAE has been classified by several global rating and research organization as having one of the lowest corruption rates in the developing world. Other Gulf oil produces have taken measures to set up the war against corruption following the 2008 global fiscal distress.Saudi Arabia, the largest Arab economy and the world’s oil powerhouse, announced last year the establishment of an anti-corruption body on orders by King Abdullah following reports of widespread financial offences.

Other Gulf countries said they were taking steps to widen anti-corruption measures and boost transparency at public departments.“The instructions by the President to issue the anti-corruption law illustrate the leadership’s keenness to combat financial malpractices, which are alien to our society and to curb any practices that violate Islamic law,” Amimi said.ends