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DOHA: Eyeing increased foreign investment and transparency, the oil-rich Gulf countries are taking a closer look at the possibility of setting up a regional anti-corruption watchdog in their fight against corruption and wasteful public expenditure.
A proposal was yesterday discussed in Saudi Arabia’s capital Riyadh to form an independent GCC-wide ministerial-level anti-corruption body that would have as members the heads of anti-corruption agencies of member-states. The proposal came up for debate at the first GCC meeting of the heads of anti-corruption and integrity agencies, QNA reported.
It was also suggested that GCC states which so far do not have independent anti-corruption committees must form such panels.
The Riyadh meet was convened by Saudi Arabia’s National Anti-Corruption Commission to look for ways for such agencies in the region to foster closer cooperation and exchange of information.
H E Abdullah bin Hamad Al Attiyah, Chairman of Qatar’s Administrative Control and Transparency Authority represented Qatar at this historic meet. He said that increasing danger of corruption at local and global levels forced the United Nations to set up the UN Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC) in 2003. ACTA is a multilateral convention negotiated by UN member-countries, and is the first global legally binding international anti-corruption instrument. It aims at preventing corruption, criminalising certain conducts, strengthening international law enforcement and judicial cooperation, providing effective legal mechanisms for asset recovery, technical assistance and information exchange among member-countries.
In response to global efforts in this regard Qatar has adopted several important measures to endorse UNCAC and implement it, Al Attiyah said. Qatar has emerged as a pioneer in the region in the fight against corruption.
He said regional efforts aimed at setting up a united anti-corruption body would strengthen Qatar’s efforts to fight the menace and improve transparency. He welcomed the move to have cooperation at regional and international levels to fight corruption, protect integrity and improve transparency.
The proposal to form a regional anti-corruption panel is the GCC’s reiteration of commitment to global anti-crime efforts. The Riyadh meet was a great success, QNA said. The Peninsula