In its 2018 annual report, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) presents the key results of its work in combatting drug crime, terrorism, transnational organise crime and corruption around the world.

Corruption is a truly global problem and enables other forms of crime such as trafficking in persons, firearms and drugs.

We look at the recent successes of the UNODC in combating global corruption, with a specific focus on the Asia-Pacific.

United Nations Convention against Corruption

The UNODC is the guardian of the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC), the only legally binding universal anti-corruption instrument. The UNCAC has served as a basis for anti-corruption reforms and covers preventive measures, criminalisation and law enforcement, international cooperation, asset recovery, technical assistance and information exchange.

2018 achievements: An overview

The report outlines the UNODC’s achievements in combating corruption throughout 2018:

  • 600 stakeholders trained on the Implementation Review Mechanism of UNCAC, whereby each State party is reviewed by two peers who typically visit the country under review.
  • 1,600 stakeholders trained in preventing, detecting, investigating and prosecuting corruption cases.
  • 140 States assisted in legislative drafting, prosecuting financial crimes, setting up anti-corruption agencies, analysing and strengthening asset declaration systems, and developing ethics trainings to police officers.

The UNODC also gave support to the development of laws and policies around the world, the strengthening of institutions, and the implementation of the UNCAC through workshops and conferences.

Combating corruption across Asia and the Pacific

The UNODC supports at-risk countries to develop effective anti-corruption measures and strengthen legal and regulatory frameworks. The report provides insight into the key achievements across Asia and the Pacific throughout 2018.

Malaysia

UNODC helped the Malaysian government to develop a national anti-corruption plan to deal with administrative failure, conflict of interest, weak internal control, and a lack of transparency. This included supporting an initiative to recover stolen assets due to former government corruption and other significant corruption cases.

Malaysia has also joined neighbours such as Indonesia and Thailand in enacting legislation that provides for sanctions against businesses for corruption.

The amended Malaysian Anti-Corruption Act came into operation in October 2018, criminalising bribery of foreign public officials and legally enabling the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission to purse Malaysian businesses for corruption offences abroad.

Myanmar

UNODC ran workshops on anti-corruption capacity building for Myanmar’s Anti-Corruption Commission, finance investigation officials, prosecution and judiciary, and civil society organisations.

The work of Myanmar’s Anti-Corruption Commission during the period shows that there is growing community trust in the organisation, with over 10,000 complaints received. This resulted in 50 cases being investigated, 12 cases prosecuted, and 15 cases referred to the relevant state department under civil service regulations.

Uzbekistan

UNODC helped Uzbekistan hold a week-long media marathon with significant publicity on the occasion of the International Anti-Corruption Day.

Afghanistan

The new Afghan Penal Code entered into force in 2018. UNODC supported revision of the code, which now allows for corruption and financial crime to be addressed in line with UNCAC standards.