Nearly 100 countries sign UN treaty to combat corruption

The UN Convention against Corruption is “a convention with teeth,” the chief of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), Antonio Maria Costa, told a news conference in Mérida, Mexico, yesterday at the end of a for a three-day signing conference attended by representatives of more than 120 governments.The treaty, which binds ratifying countries to criminalize corrupt practices, develop institutions to prevent corrupt practices and prosecute offenders, will enter into force with ratification by 30 countries, when a Conference of the States parties will be established to monitor compliance.Mr. Costa has expressed confidence in the treaty’s ratification. “I know of no country which has stated its unwillingness to sign and ratify the UN Convention against Corruption,” he said in an earlier statement to the press.By a very rough but conservative estimate, income derived from illicit transactions is 5 per cent of the volume of total global output, World Bank Director for Global Governance Daniel Kaufmann said at a press briefing during the conference, noting that bribes and graft make up at least half of that amount. Given a gross world product of $33 trillion, a low figure for the dollar amount paid out each year in corrupt transactions would be nearly $1 trillion. read more