Corruption more damaging than pandemic â UN
In a statement, UN Secretary-General António Guterres said that in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, corruption is proving to be even more damaging in its impact on the most vulnerable.
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Corruption more damaging than pandemic – UN
Pia Lee-Brago (The Philippine Star) - October 19, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Corruption is not only a crime but immoral and the “ultimate betrayal” of public trust, especially during the pandemic when its impact can be more damaging than the life-threatening disease, the United Nations said over the weekend.

In a statement, UN Secretary-General António Guterres said that in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, corruption is proving to be even more damaging in its impact on the most vulnerable.

“The response to the virus is creating new opportunities to exploit weak oversight and inadequate transparency, diverting funds away from people in their hour of greatest need,” said Guterres.

He said corruption during the pandemic can seriously undermine good governance globally, and send the world even further off-track in its efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The UN also warned of very direct risks to health, noting that collusion among those who control supply chains has led to outrageous price hikes, skewing the market and denying many people life-saving treatment.

The secretary-general called for governments and leaders to be transparent and accountable, and for businesses to act responsibly, highlighting the importance of a vibrant civic space and open access to information.

Whistleblowers who expose wrongdoing must get the legal protection they deserve in calling out corruption and anti-corruption bodies should be supported and empowered, he added.

The UN urged nations to use the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC), a vital tool provided by the UN that was adopted by the General Assembly in 2003 and entered into force in December 2005. It currently has 187 States Parties.

UNCAC, the international anti-corruption treaty, was ratified, accepted, approved and acceded by over a hundred countries, including the Philippines.

It is the only legally binding universal anti-corruption instrument, and its far-reaching approach and the mandatory character of many of its provisions make it a unique tool for developing a comprehensive response to corruption.

Through five key areas – preventive measures; criminalization and law enforcement; international cooperation; asset recovery, and technical assistance and information exchange – the Convention covers many different forms of corruption, such as bribery, trading in influence, abuse of functions, and various acts of corruption in the private sector.

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