Transparency International welcomed Saudi Arabia taking the necessary steps at the national level last week to ratify the United Nations Conventions against Corruption (UNCAC) as a first move toward greater transparency and accountability in the kingdom.
Since its creation one decade ago, 165 countries have joined UNCAC in a genuine effort to stop secret dealings, bribery and the abuse of power on an international level. Saudi Arabia has been a signatory since 2004.
“Saudi Arabia’s steps toward ratification of UNCAC mark an important move in the direction of a global commitment to anticorruption, transparency and accountability. Saudi civil society actors, regional governments and international partners stand ready to support the Saudi government in implementing effective measures to stop the global scourge of corruption at its doorstep,” said Huguette Labelle, the Chair of Transparency International.
The struggle against corruption requires the ability to present information in a climate of constructive criticism, including the protection of whistleblowers against corruption, freedom of expression and free access to information, as well as a free and vibrant civil society.
In May 2011, Saudi Arabia established a National Anticorruption Commission to combat administrative and financial corruption. Among the first duties of this well-funded commission should be transparent proceedings and inclusion of diverse segments of society into the efforts to combat corruption.
The Saudi government has embarked on a remarkable investment programme worth billions of Riyals, in science, industry, employment and other sectors. By establishing anti-corruption measures the government can save money and ensure the viability of such projects. The government should thus increase transparency in public budgets and procurement.
This year marks the tenth anniversary of UNCAC, the landmark global effort to eradicate corruption. Germany and Japan are the only remaining G20 countries that have not ratified the convention.
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