Wednesday, 13 March 2024

In the two decades since the UN Convention against Corruption (‘UNCAC’) came into force, nations worldwide have presented a united front against the pervasive menace of corruption.

But harsh realities remain.

The recently released Corruption Perceptions Index (‘CPI’) report by Transparency International delivers a sobering blow, revealing little progress in combatting public sector corruption over the past decade. Alarmingly, this year a staggering 23 nations plummeted to their lowest scores on record.
It’s testament to our ongoing struggle, with an average score of 43 for twelve consecutive years and more than two-thirds of nations falling below the 50 mark. It illustrates the entrenched challenges of corruption vividly.

Australia has dropped one place, to 14. To regain lost ground, anti-corruption reform must take precedence in the Government agenda by:
  • Enhancing transparency in political donations and lobbying.
  • Safeguarding whistleblowers who expose corruption.
  • Combatting money laundering through stringent regulations.
  • Championing democracy through aid programs.
Denmark, Finland, and New Zealand lead the index, lauded for their effective justice systems. But even the top-performing nations grapple with an impunity dilemma, frequently entangled in cross-border corruption schemes.

The CPI report’s recommendations are clear:
  • Strengthen the autonomy of the justice system.
  • Advocate for transparent judicial practices.
  • Introduce robust integrity and monitoring mechanisms.
  • Foster collaboration within the judicial framework.
  • Enhance access to justice for all.
  • Expand avenues for accountability, particularly in cases of grand corruption.
For Australian organisations and governments, financial crime and risk management frameworks are pivotal in safeguarding organisational integrity and fortifying Australia's defences against corruption. Managing risk and compliance are the tools for transparency and accountability.