ICAC international seminar ends on a high note
Despite many difficulties and hurdles, graft fighters and law enforcers from different jurisdictions were taking positive action towards their common goal of ensuing that there were no safe havens for the corrupt to hide and enjoy their ill-gotten gains, said Mr Simon Peh Yun-lu, Commissioner of the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC), at the closing ceremony of the ICAC International Seminar on Financial Investigation today (May 10).
In his closing remarks at the seminar, themed “Cutting the Financial Vein of the Corrupt”, Mr Peh told an international audience that detecting illicit financial fund flow and confiscating proceeds of crime would not only provide an effective deterrent against the corrupt, but would deprive the perpetrators of benefits from their illegal activities.
Highlighting knowledge and insights shared by speakers at the seminar, the Commissioner noted that there was a significant gap between the estimates of proceeds of crime and actual recoveries.
“To remedy this situation, asset recovery is now placed very high on the global political agenda and concerted efforts in this regard are being undertaken by various jurisdictions,” Mr Peh said.
The Commissioner said that in view of the boundary-less nature of modern crimes, international co-operation was vital.
“With Article 51 of the United Nations Convention against Corruption providing for the return of assets, parties to the convention shall afford one another the widest measure of cooperation and assistance,” he said.
The ICAC Commissioner also noted that due to different legal, financial and taxation systems in diverse countries and regions, financial investigation in corruption cases faced a number of challenges.
“No matter how different our systems are, financial investigation is vital when it comes to investigation of corrupt conduct and in tracing assets for restraint and confiscation,” he stressed.
The two-day seminar, the first of its kind organised by the ICAC, featured a total of five keynote speakers and 11 presenters or facilitators from anti-corruption, law enforcement and regulatory bodies, justice departments, international organisations and legal professions from around the globe.
They shared their expertise in the specialised topics of financial investigation and asset recovery, examined past successes and highlighted the challenges ahead in their respective jurisdictions, stressing the need for building a comprehensive international co-operation system.
The seminar attracted about 240 participants from 41 jurisdictions and 100 organisations, including the Mainland and Macao, Australia, Canada, Germany, India, Malaysia, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Singapore, Thailand, the United Kingdom, the United States, the European Investment Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.
Commissioner Simon Peh Yun-lu delivers his closing remarks at the ICAC International Seminar on Financial Investigation.