Action Aid, CAFOD, Christian Aid, Global Witness, Oxfam and Transparency International (UK) have written jointly to the Attorney General urging the Government not to seek appeal of the judgment made by the High Court on the decision of the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) to stop the investigation into BAE Systems plc and the Al Yamamah military contract.
We believe that the halting of the investigation has caused untold damage, both to the reputation of the UK and to global efforts to improve governance and combat corruption.
At the OECD, it has reduced the UK’s standing among its peers in the Working Group on Bribery and undermined the collective political commitment on which the success of the OECD Anti-bribery Convention and other excellent OECD initiatives depend. On the world stage, the UK stands accused of hypocrisy for prescribing governance reforms in developing countries in receipt of its development assistance, whilst failing to enforce anti-corruption laws at home.
We believe that any move by the Government to seek an appeal, or to pressurise the SFO to do so, would compound the reputational damage to the UK. It would also undermine implementation of the United Nations Convention against Corruption, where tensions between developed and developing countries have already slowed progress.
Corruption threatens democracies and human rights. It erodes development and destroys lives and livelihoods, especially of the poor. It puts businesses and their employees at risk, and it weakens the integrity of markets. We urge the Government to re-assert its commitment to the anti-corruption agenda, respect the principle of prosecutorial independence, and to allow the SFO to take the decision to re-open this investigation.
Transparency International (TI) has been at the forefront of the anti-corruption movement since it was formed in 1993. TI is a non-profit making, independent, non-governmental organisation, dedicated to increasing government accountability and curbing both international and national corruption. TI (UK) is part of a network of over 90 national chapters carrying out the TI mission around the world. TI works in a non-confrontational way with governments, companies, development agencies, NGOs and international organisations to seek a consensus to combat corruption. For more information please see www.transparency.org and www.transparency.org.uk.
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