The event saw the participation of the heads of anti-corruption authorities of 14 countries that have ratified the Arab Anti-Corruption Convention* so far and representatives of international and regional organisations, including the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime and the International Anti-Corruption Academy. The Conference was organised by the Oversight and Anti-Corruption Authority of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (Nazaha).
Mr. Mazin bin Ibrahim Al-Kahmous, the President of Nazaha stressed that the main goal of the Conference was to step up the efforts of the Arab countries in eradicating corruption through the exchange of expertise and experience in corruption prevention, including criminalisation of bribery of foreign public officials, and enhanced regional cooperation in the investigation of cases of transnational corruption and prosecution for these crimes also with regard to the confiscation of proceeds of crime.
The Conference examined and adopted such initiatives as:
- the implementation review mechanism of the Convention,
- a new mechanism for promoting enhanced joint action of the Arab countries,
- the organisation of the drafting process of an additional protocol to the Arab Convention that would include the provisions on cooperation in the recovery of proceeds of corruption crime illegally moved abroad,
- the resolution calling on all States parties to the Arab Convention to join the Global Operational Network of Anti-Corruption Law Enforcement Authorities (GlobE Network) whose launch was officially announced in the special session of the UN General Assembly against corruption last year.
Furthermore, an Arab Forum on enhancing international cooperation in the fight against corruption was held on the sidelines of the Conference. The event concluded with the adoption of the following recommendations:
- support the functioning of the implementation review mechanism of the Arab Convention also with a view to overcoming the difficulties that the States parties can encounter in international cooperation and the recovery of proceeds of crime,
- encourage active participation of Arab countries in the GlobE Network by promoting interaction between law enforcement bodies both within the Network and with other international associations of anti-corruption authorities,
- promote the development of instruments to measure corruption, support countries in assessing the effectiveness of their anti-corruption measures, and provide assistance in the development of international indices base on corruption measurement.
The Conference also decided that its next, fifth session will be hosted by the State of Palestine.
* The Arab Anti-Corruption Convention was adopted in 2010 and initially signed by 21 member States of the Arab League (except for Djibouti): Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Iraq, Yemen, Qatar, the Comoros, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, the UAE, Oman, the State of Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Somalia, Sudan and Tunis. As of now, there is no single portal on the implementation of the Convention; the text of the treaty is available, for instance, here.
The Arab Convention is based on the provisions of two UN conventions, against transnational organised crime and against corruption, also in terms of the definition of corpora delicti of corruption crimes, criminal liability of legal persons and international cooperation. In particular, the Arab Convention contains a list of acts that States parties must criminalise in their domestic legislation:
- bribery of a public official;
- bribery in public sector companies, joint-stock companies, associations and institutions of a public interest nature;
- bribery in the private sector;
- bribery of foreign public officials and officials of public international organizations in connection with international trade within a State party;
- trading in influence;
- abuse of public office;
- illicit enrichment;
- laundering of proceeds of crime;
- concealing of proceeds of crime;
- obstructing the course of justice;
- misappropriation of public property and its unlawful acquisition;
- misappropriation of the property of joint-stock companies, public-interest private associations and in the private sector;
- participation or attempt in the above-listed offences.