In October 2016, the International Development Committee put forward 13 recommendations for the improvement of the UK Government efforts to tackle overseas corruption. Last month the UK Government published its response.
The Government agreed with seven recommendations:
- assess the extent of money laundered through the UK and continue to lobbying the UK’s Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies to apply the same level of transparency and accountability;
- develop a cross-government Anti-Corruption Strategy;
- continue prioritisation of anti-corruption efforts during Brexit negotiations and afterwards;
- apply research into the effectiveness of different anti-corruption methods;
- include foreign parliaments in DFID’s anti-corruption country strategies;
- work with foreign governments to increase protection for whistleblowers; and
- DFID to monitor progress of anti-corruption programmes.
The Government partially agreed with the following four recommendations:
- reappoint the anti-corruption “Champion”;
- further work on the inclusion of developing countries in discussions and decisions on international tax matters;
- develop DFID rolling strategies with a 10 year horizon; and
- DFID’s publication of anti-corruption country strategies.
The Government disagreed with the following proposals:
- lobby the UK’s Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies to create public beneficial ownership registers; and
- publish country by country reporting of profits and payments to governments by multinationals.
The two areas where the Government declined to follow the Committee’s recommendations appear to reflect a concern that although the UK should be seen as a leader in the fight against anti-corruption, it should not go too far ahead. The Government emphasises that the UK’s Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies already go further than other jurisdictions as they allow law enforcement to access the information. In respect of the publication of profits and payments to governments by multinationals, the Government expressly states that this should be a multilateral effort.