We are a group of UK Parliamentarians passionate about tackling domestic and international corruption.

The effects of corruption are profound, impacting the lives of both UK and global citizens.   This is why we believe we must play our part in tackling this issue and in ensuring that the UK is not complicit in corruption.

If you would like to know more about the APPG, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

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APPG meets with SFO Director, David Green QC

On 26 January the APPG hosted a briefing with David Green QC, Director of the Serious Fraud Office.

Under the Chatham House Rule attendees discussed the SFO’s recent track record – notable cases being a prosecution against the Sweett Group and a Deferred Prosecution Agreement with Standard Bank under Section 7 of the Bribery Act – and its organisational development.  Attendees also examined the case for introducing a wider definition of  corporate criminal liability.

A full report of the briefing can be read here.

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New inquiry: Reaching Export 2020 with Integrity

This International Anti-Corruption Day the APPG opens a call for evidence for a new inquiry entitled Reaching Export 2020 with integrity: How can UK businesses be better supported to manage corruption risks in high-growth markets?

When speaking in Singapore this summer the Prime Minister outlined why corruption is bad for business. He cited World Economic Forum estimates that corruption adds 10% to business costs globally and described how individual companies are affected:

Companies that become complicit in paying bribes find that they face higher costs, then embark on contracts that may never be honoured, they operate in a false environment that can change suddenly and dramatically, and they incur reputational damage for being complicit in a corrupt system.” 

Prime Minister David Cameron, 28 July 2015

However, despite this welcome recognition from the political leadership, the APPG has heard anecdotal evidence from experts in its network that UK businesses feel they are not being sufficiently supported to trade in markets where there is a particularly high risk of bribery and corruption.

Through the new inquiry the APPG wants to find out more about the perceived shortcomings in the support provided by government agencies and gather creative and cost-effective ideas for how they could better support businesses to deal with bribery and corruption in high-growth markets.

With the recent announcement of a new Prosperity Fund – a £1.3bn fund which will in part be spent on anti-corruption initiatives in emerging markets – the APPG’s line of questioning is timely.

Evidence gathered by the inquiry will be synthesised and presented to the relevant Government departments in advance of the Prime Minister’s anti-corruption summit in 2016.

More information about the inquiry can be found here

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Members table Urgent Question on Overseas Territories

This morning, Mark Durkan MP, an officer of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Anti-Corruption, tabled an Urgent Question on the Overseas Territories Joint Ministerial Council.

Questioning how satisfied the Government was that “significant progress” has been made in meeting Prime Minister David Cameron’s demands to tackle corruption, Mr Durkan identified the Territories as “the routes of shelter for all…scams and shams”.

Cumulatively the Overseas Territories are the most used jurisdiction for the location of legal entities facilitating cases of grand corruption. The Prime Minister has said on a number of occasions that registers need to be public in order to end the secrecy that enables the flow of illicit finance.

However, the Council concluded yesterday with the announcement that the UK’s Overseas Territories are to introduce central registers of beneficial ownership or ‘similarly effective systems’ instead.

The communique makes it clear that the proposed registers will remain closed to the public and that UK law enforcement authorities, who have not been given immediate access to company information, will remain in the dark until the registers come into force.

It is uncertain when this will be. In response to question from Nigel Mills MP, co-Chair of the APPG on Anti-Corruption, the Government stated that more details would be available in February 2016 and suggested that different territories would have different timetables for bringing in transparency measures.

Given that the Overseas Territories were initially asked by the Foreign Office to have timetables prepared in time for the December meeting, this additional delay is disappointing.

Today’s announcement represents a very small step towards undoing the financial secrecy that has become the hallmark of the Territories. Mr Mills argued that this progress was insufficient, stating that “Overseas Territories should be taking the lead in preventing the flow in corrupt, criminal, and terrorist money”.

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Members discuss how to deliver development finance with integrity

On Wednesday 4 November the APPG, in partnership with CAFOD and ShareAction, hosted a roundtable discussion with experts and decision makers from the finance sector to discuss how industry can contribution to the delivery of governmental low carbon and development goals with integrity and transparency.

Attendees discussed how the UK could call for the International Organization of Securities Commissions to fulfil its mandate to implement an international standard for transparency of sustainability information on stock exchanges would be a positive step forward.

Parliamentarians also heard how the European Non-Financial Reporting Directive, which will soon be transposed into UK law, will need to include robust monitoring requirements so that customers and investors know whether companies implement the standards adequately.

The discussion considered how the open contracting principles, which already apply to UK government procurement, and argued that these principles should be extended to cover climate and development finance. Such a commitment could made in the next month under the UK’s 3rd National Action Plan under the Open Government Partnership.

In discussing the role of deterrents, speakers drew attention to the Serious Fraud Office and the perception that it is inadequately served by its ‘blockbuster’ funding arrangement. Speakers argued that the body needs to be sustainably and independently resourced, so that robust enforcement provides an effective deterrent to high-level bribery and corruption.

A full report of the event can be found here.

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Adjournment debate: Prosecuting economic corporate crime

On Tuesday 3 November Stephen Pound MP moved that ‘ this House has considered the matter of prosecuting corporate economic crime’.

The adjournment debate drew attention to the government’s recent decision to drop Action 36 of the UK Anti-Corruption Plan. As revealed by a parliamentary question from APPG member, Byron Davies MP, the Ministry of Justice will not be introducing a new offence of corporate failure to prevent economic crime or widening corporate criminal liability.

Catherine McKinnell MP, former Chair of the APPG and Shadow Attorney General, spoke in the debate, voicing concern that the “recent announcement has caused much confusion among those who care about this issue, because it seems to be very much at odds with what they have been saying and the messages and signals they have been sending out”.

She also drew attention to the changes the government has made to the Senior Managers Regime, concluding that “Ministers urgently need to look again at their approach to tackling economic crime, because without change, the prospect of ensuring that justice is served to those who have mis-sold financial products, evaded tax, laundered money and defrauded seems as remote as ever, and the risk of the scandals of recent years being repeated has far from disappeared.”

Speaking for the government, the Rt Hon Dominic Raab MP, responded: “Good results are being achieved in cases across the prosecuting authorities. We are giving active consideration to further changes where there is evidence that they are warranted, particularly in relation to tax evasion, but we remain open-minded if a case can be made broadly from a specific evidence base.”

The debate can be read in full here.


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