Under the patronage of Lt. General HH Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, Lt. General Saif Abdullah Al Sha’far, Undersecretary at the Ministry of Interior, inaugurated the International Anti-Corruption Day Conference, which is organized by the Anti-Corruption Department at the Abu Dhabi Police, at the St. Regis Hotel on the Corniche in Abu Dhabi, in cooperation with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

In his welcome speech at the opening ceremony, the Undersecretary at the Ministry of Interior conveyed the greetings of Lt. General HH Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, to all participants at the conference as well as his wishes of success. Lt. General Al Sha’far also welcomed the prominent experts, academics, specialists and consultants attending the event. He stressed the importance of the conference in exchanging the best experiences and getting acquainted with the best practices in the fight against this important issue, in order to unify efforts and mutual cooperation to raise awareness about the dangers of corruption, which is a major challenge to all countries around the world.

Lt. General Al Sha’far said: “Organizing this conference in the UAE, in its inaugural edition, reflects the country’s keenness to share this occasion with the international community, in order to fight the corruption offense across the world, and provide efficient solutions and deterrents, to prevent corruption from spreading. This can be achieved via cooperation and concerted efforts to eradicate this objectionable phenomenon.”

Lt. General Al Sha’far underlined the significant efforts exerted by the UAE at all levels, with the aim of preserving the security and stability and establishing peace of mind to its citizens and residents. “This falls in line with the higher leadership’s instructions, and its vision and mission to serve security and world peace, not only in the UAE and the region but in the whole world,” added Lt. General Al Sha’far.
Adding further, Lt. General Al Sha’far said: “The police leadership constantly seeks to enhance actions against corruption, and to establish efficient constructive and preventive work mechanisms and deterrent strategic plans to prevent its occurrence. It also seeks to reinforce the anti-corruption culture as well as qualifying and training human resources according to the best international experiences in this field, in order to upgrade police work to the highest levels of excellence.”

At the end of his speech, Lt. General Al Sha’far expressed his hope that the conference will come up with the proper results and recommendations that serve the interests of all parties, and achieve the coveted goals, in terms of boosting collaboration in the fight against corruption. He also thanked the organizers and participants, and wished everyone the best of luck and success.

For his part, Lt. Colonel Matar Madad Al Muhairi, Head of the Anti-Corruption Department at Abu Dhabi Police, said in his speech at the conference: “Organizing this event embodies the vision of the wise leadership in the UAE to achieve the goal of making the UAE one of the best countries in the world, promoting development and the values of integrity and sustainability. This stems from the vision of H.H Deputy Prime Minister & Minister of Interior, which aims to ensure that Abu Dhabi remains a community that enjoys safety and security, and to provide high-quality police services for the citizens, residents and visitors of the emirate, by reinforcing collaboration and signing international conventions.”

Furthermore, Lt. Colonel Al Muhairi noted that corruption is a complex social, political and economic phenomenon that affects all countries, undermines democratic institutions, slows economic development and contributes to governmental instability. In conclusion, he expressed his hope that the conference will come up with applicable recommendations that contribute to activating the anti-corruption mechanisms internationally and strengthening regional efforts in the fight against corruption.

The conference’s opening ceremony was attended by HE Ali Mohammed Subaih Al Ka'bi, Chairman of the UAE Federal Customs Authority; Mohamed Rashid Al Za’abi, Undersecretary of the Federal Audit Institution; Major General Dr. Ahmed Nasser Al Raisi, Inspector General of the Ministry of Interior; Major General Abdul Aziz Maktoum Al Shareefi, Director General of Protective Security in the Ministry of Interior; and Major General Omair Muhammad Ateeq Al Muhairi, Director General of Police Operations at Abu Dhabi Police. Also present were a number of officials from local departments and institutions; members of the diplomatic corps accredited to the UAE; and a significant number of officers from the Ministry of Interior.

In his address on the International Anti-Corruption Day, delivered on his behalf by Mr. Boris Znamenski, UNODC representative, His Excellency Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations, said: “Global attitudes towards corruption have changed dramatically. The new 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, our plan to end poverty and ensure lives of dignity for all, recognizes the need to fight corruption in all its aspects and calls for significant reductions in illicit financial flows as well as for the recovery of stolen assets.”

Adding further, he said: “Corruption has disastrous impacts on development when funds that should be devoted to schools, health clinics and other vital public services are instead diverted into the hands of criminals or dishonest officials. Corruption exacerbates violence and insecurity. It can lead to dissatisfaction with public institutions, disillusion with government in general, and spirals of anger and unrest.”
“The United Nations Convention against Corruption provides a comprehensive platform for governments, non-governmental organizations, civil society, and individual citizens. Through prevention, criminalization, international cooperation and assets recovery, the Convention advances global progress toward ending corruption,” he continued.

In conclusion, H.E Secretary-General of the United Nations noted: “On International Anti-Corruption Day, I call for united efforts to deliver a clear message around the world that firmly rejects corruption and embraces instead the principles of transparency, accountability and good governance. This will benefit communities and countries, helping to usher in a better future for all.”

During the conference’s opening ceremony, attendees watched a documentary film showcasing the United Arab Emirates’ efforts in the fight against corruption. The documentary shed the light on the UAE’s commitment to eradicate corruption and maintain economic development; its keenness to cooperate with the United Nations by ratifying the United Nations’ Convention against Corruption (UNCAC), and providing unrelenting support to international efforts in this regard. The documentary also showcased the formation of a governmental experts’ team from the UAE, tasked with executing the mechanism for the review of the implementation of the United Nations’ Convention against Corruption (UNCAC).

The conference included two sessions, during which the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) for the GCC Countries provided an overview of the efforts exerted by the United Nations in the fight against corruption, and the reason that prompted the international community to formulate and adopt the United Nations’ Convention against Corruption (UNCAC). The presentation also highlighted the convention’s chronological sequence of events since 2003; its mechanism of implementation, content and goals; and the difference between this convention and other international conventions. The presentation also stressed the need to raise awareness of all communities, due to the undermining impacts of corruption on political, economic and social development.

In his lecture, Chief prosecutor and attorney Ismail Ali Madani gave a historical overview of international cooperation based on international conventions. He also highlighted the UAE procedures and achievements in this field, which help to reinforce its role in the fight against corruption and to boost its prestigious position in international forums.

Captain Hamid Abdullah Al Amimi, Member of the UAE’s Governmental Experts Team tasked with executing the mechanism for the review of implementation of the United Nations’ Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) also spoke at the conference. He highlighted in his lecture the UAE’s role and efforts in implementing the Convention’s chapters in the first session. He also focused on the fourth chapter, which tackles international cooperation and ways to reinforce it.

He said: “The UAE has adopted the best experiences in implementing the Convention and committing to its articles, via the Judicial Cooperation in Criminal Matters Law of 2006. The UAE is one of the few member states that signed the Convention and applied such a law, which is highly acclaimed by the international community.

Mike Kilty, Retired Police Commissioner of the Australian Federal Police, gave an overview about the Australian police experience in the fight against corruption, as well as its commitment to support integrity as a key value during the important development stages that increased four-fold between 2000 and 2009. He also discussed the impacts of modern technology, particularly social media and the use of biometrics to ensure investigation integrity.

For his part, Advisor Hassan Mohamed Al Hammadi, Head of the Financial Unit of the Public Prosecution Office (PPO) at the Abu Dhabi Judicial Department, discussed in his lecture the legislations issued by the UAE to fight corruption as well as the related laws and best practices integrated within local legislations to support the articles of the UNCAC.

Sir Ronnie Flanagan, Strategic, Security, and Policing Advisor at the Office of HH Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, highlighted in his lecture the role he played as Head of the Security Unit and Anti-Corruption at the International Cricket Council. He noted that Cricket was the main target of organized crime syndicates running illegal betting; which is more pronounced than in any other sport around the world.

Following the lectures, a panel discussion session was held and focused on reviewing international laws and procedures, as well as best practices to fight  corruption and the challenges faced by  member states. Advisor Hassan Mohamed Al Hammadi said that based on the Anti-Money Laundering Amendment Act, the money laundering criminalization framework was expanded to align with the articles of the United Nations’ Convention against Corruption (UNCAC).

International Commitments

The Anti-Corruption Department at the Abu Dhabi Police General Headquarters gave an overview of the stages and efforts of the UAE in promoting international commitment and cooperation in the fight against corruption by signing the United Nations’ Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) in August 10, 2005; and by ratifying the convention on February 22, 2006. The United Nations also adopted the mechanism for the review of implementation of the United Nations’ Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) in 2009 as a body or mechanism to assist the State Parties in the effective implementation of the convention.  The Anti-Corruption Department also pointed out to the resolution of H.H Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior to establish the Anti-Corruption Department in 2009. Then, the UAE Governmental Experts’ team tasked with executing the Mechanism for the Review of implementation of the United Nations’ Convention against Corruption in 2012; under the chairmanship of the Audit Department and membership of the competent authorities. The UAE finalized the evaluation of the Convention and presented the report to the UN in 2013.

Important Recommendations

The Conference recommended that all Member States should work on examining and updating regulations, commensurate with the rapid social and economic changes, as well as enforcing the rule of law by enacting and implementing strict laws. The Conference also recommended establishing preventive proactive measures against crime, and constantly developing administrative and legal procedures. It also called for availing of IT tools to foster legal awareness, as well as educating society
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