Crackdown on corruption

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The Justice and International Mission (JIM) unit recently produced a submission for the Inquiry into Crimes Legislation Amendment (Unexplained Wealth and Other Measures) Bill 2014.

Contained in the submission is a wealth of research outlining the imperative for legislative jurisdictions to work more cooperatively in order to combat the sophisticated tactics involved with moving illicit funds and assets.

The submission addresses specific concerns around legislation gaps that appear to allow individuals from PNG, who have been charged with corruption offences in PNG, to transfer assets freely into Australia.

More broadly, the submission aims to combat existing practices, employed globally, that exploit legislative loopholes – particularly in relation to developing countries.

“The World Bank and UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) believe that $20 to $40 billion a year is lost from developing countries due to corruption (and this excludes money lost by tax evasion by multinational companies),” JIM unit director Dr Mark Zirnsak said.

Several notable examples in the submission highlighted individuals, politically connected in developing countries, who have transferred large sums of money and assets into western countries including Australia.

“In 2011 the anti-Kleptocracy unit took action against Teodorin Nguema Obiang, the son of the dictator of Equatorial Guinea,” Dr Zirnsak said.

“The anti-corruption legal action aimed to seize a $30 million Malibu mansion, a $38 million Gulfstream Jet and over $3 million of Michael Jackson memorabilia.”

In March 2014 the anti-Kleptocracy unit also seized more than $550 million of alleged proceeds of corruption related to the late Nigerian dictator Sani Abacha and his associates.

“The Uniting Church in Australia is committed to working for an end to poverty globally and corruption and financially motivated crimes are often barriers to poverty reduction,” Dr Zirnsak said.

For more information contact the Jim unit on or 03 9251 5271

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