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BRICS anti-graft meet – Need processes to trace, extradite fugitive economic offenders faster: India

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New Delhi: India on Wednesday stressed on bringing in processes to trace and extradite fugitive economic offenders faster and their properties situated abroad brought within the reach of the law of the land from where they escaped.
Addressing BRICS countries anti-corruption ministerial meet, Union minister Jitendra Singh underlined the need to strengthen international cooperation against money laundering through enhanced exchange of knowledge between the national agencies of member nations.
BRICS is a bloc of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.
He also called for striving to prevent the transfer of proceeds of corruption overseas, and effectively implement the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) anti-money laundering and counter terrorism financing standards.
There is no second thought that the impact of economic offences, such as, money laundering, banking fraud, tax evasion, etc. on the economy of a country and the global economy is substantial, said Singh, the Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office.
Dwelling on the theme of BRICS cooperation to combat corruption, he highlighted few areas of future action like bringing in processes, where fugitive economic offenders can be traced and extradited faster, and their properties situated abroad brought within the reach of the law of the land from which such offenders escape, according to an official statement.
Singh underlined the need to develop common understanding on the return of people and assets sought for such offences besides endeavour to strengthen international cooperation against money laundering through enhanced exchange of knowledge between the national agencies concerned.
He said India under Prime Minister Narendra Modi is determined to continue its crusade against corruption and unaccounted money.
In pursuance of this, Singh said a range of initiatives have been taken by the Modi government over the last eight years.
He referred to India’s Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988, which the Modi government amended after 30 years in 2018 to introduce a number of new provisions, including criminalising the act of giving bribe also in addition to taking bribe, and at the same time putting in place an effective deterrence for such actions by individuals as well as corporate entities.
Singh informed ministers of the BRICS countries and distinguished delegates the various anti-corruption efforts taken by India in the recent past like effective implementation of e-governance through extensive use of information and communication technology tools, which has reduced the scope of corruption substantially at all levels.
The minister also pointed out that systemic improvements and reforms to provide transparent, citizen-friendly services and disbursement of welfare benefits directly to the citizens under various schemes of the government in a transparent manner through the Direct Benefit Transfer initiative checked the menace of corruption in a significant manner.
Singh thanked the Chinese Presidency for this initiative and expressed satisfaction over the successful finalisation of the BRICS Denial of Safe Haven’ initiative and shared experiences at the BRICS workshop on anti-corruption and economic development, said the statement issued by the Union Personnel Ministry.
They also focused on enhancing the use of criminal and non-criminal tools to combat corruption, including through cooperation on asset recovery, it said.
The Indian minister recalled that in 2015, BRICS reaffirmed the joint commitment to fight against corruption by putting in place mechanisms which deny a safe haven to people sought for corruption and for stashing black money, the statement said.
He said the members created this BRICS anti-corruption working group to have informal and open discussions on the issues related to combating and preventing corruption.
Singh, who is also the Minister of State for Personnel, said the ministers and delegates are confident that the deliberations at this BRICS anti-corruption ministerial declaration will help in working out effective strategies to deal firmly with corruption, in all its forms and manifestations, including its links with terrorist financing.
It is evident that BRICS is an important group which brings together the major economies from the world. We comprise 41 per cent of the world population, have 24 per cent of the world GDP and share over 16 per cent of the world trade. We BRICS countries are the main engines of global economic growth, the statement added.


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