Imran Khan for monitoring accountants, lawyers to stop financial crimes

ISLAMABAD: The ‘enablers’ of corruption and bribery, such as accountants, lawyers and other intermediaries, must be closely regulated, monitored and held accountable, said Prime Minister Imran Khan said on Thursday.

He was addressing through video link at the Launch of the Interim Report of the High-Level Panel on International Financial Accountability, Transparency and Integrity (FACTI) for Achieving the 2030 Agenda High-Level Launch Event and Panel Discussion.

The prime minster said that each year, billions of dollars illicitly flow out of developing countries.

“My Government came with a robust public mandate to get rid of this menace from our country. We have taken several initiatives domestically. What is needed, what is required is strengthening international cooperation to bring perpetrators of financial crime to justice,” he said.

The prime minister welcomed the Interim Report of the FACTI Panel. The figures of illicit flows mentioned in the Report are staggering. One trillion dollars is taken out each year by these white-collar criminals, he said.

Twenty to forty billion dollars is in the form of bribes received by these corrupt white-collar criminals. Seven trillion dollars in stolen assets is parked in safe tax ‘haven’ destinations.

Five to six hundred billion dollars is lost each year in tax avoidance by multinational companies.

This bleeding of the poorer and developing countries must stop. International community must adopt decisive actions and these are ones I propose:

One, the stolen assets of developing countries, including the proceeds of corruption, bribery, and other crimes, must be returned immediately.

Two, the authorities in “haven” destinations must impose criminal and financial penalties on their financial institutions which receive and utilize such money and assets.

Three, the “enablers” of corruption and bribery, such as accountants, lawyers and other intermediaries, must be closely regulated, monitored and held accountable.

Four, the “beneficial ownership” of foreign companies must be revealed immediately upon inquiry by interested and affected governments.

Five, multinational corporations must not be allowed to resort to “profit-shifting” to low tax jurisdictions for avoiding taxation. A global minimum corporate tax could prevent this practice.

Six, revenues from digital transactions should be taxed where the revenues are generated, not elsewhere.

Seven, Unequal investment treaties should be discarded or revised and a fair system for adjudication of investment disputes set up.

Eight, all official and non-official bodies set up to control and monitor illicit financial flows must include all the interested countries.

Nine, the UN should set up a mechanism to coordinate and supervise the work of the various official and non-official bodies dealing with illicit financial flows to ensure coherence, consistency and equity in their work.

The need of developing countries to protect and preserve their precious resources has become even more vital because of the recession triggered by COVID-19 pandemic.

He said that unless these steps are taken, the difference between the rich and poor will keep growing. The developing countries will get impoverished and what we see of the current migration crisis, this will be dwarfed by what will happen in the future, if this gulf keeps growing.

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