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$1trn paid in bribes, $2.6trn stolen annually – UN

The UN says one trillion dollars are paid in bribes annually, while another 2.6 trillion are stolen, all due to corruption.

The UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, while counting the costs of corruption, said values and economic development were under assault, as trillions of dollars were lost.

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He said every year, trillions of dollars – equivalent to more than five per cent of global Gross Domestic Product – are paid in bribes or stolen through corruption.

Guterres deemed corruption “an assault on the values of the United Nations,” highlighting the pervasive crime.

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He said corruption “robs societies of schools, hospitals and other vital services, drives away foreign investment and strips nations of their natural resources”.

The United Nations is fighting the global scourge, which affects both rich and poor countries, through initiatives like the global campaign launched jointly by the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

The campaign recognised corruption as one of the biggest impediments to achieving the SDGs, or 2030 Sustainable Development Goals agreed by all nations of the world in 2015, to advance the whole of humankind.

UN said government officials, civil society, the private sector, and anti-corruption advocates could reference the 2018 anti-corruption campaign’s ‘Call to Action Matrix’, which offers recommendations for strategies to stand against corruption.

Additionally, the United Nations Convention against Corruption, adopted in 2003, exists as the only legally-binding, universal anti-corruption instrument.

The Convention’s far-reaching approach covers the full spectrum of corruption, and 186 Member States are parties to the Convention.

Guterres called the Convention a “primary tool” for advancing the fight, and highlighted the positive outcomes made possible through its implementation.

“Through the Convention’s peer review mechanism, we can work together to build a foundation of trust and accountability,” the UN chief said.

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