Ombudsman Discusses Convention Against Corruption

The Ombudsman of Samoa yesterday met with a joint UNDP (United Nations Development Programme) – UNODC (United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime) team to discuss the benefits for Samoa in acceding to and implementing the UN Convention against Corruption.

UNDP-UNODC Officials are in Apia to hold discussions with both Government and non-Government stakeholders on anti-corruption reform, as well as holding a one-day workshop in partnership with Samoan Parliament on the UN Convention against Corruption.

Samoa is currently one of only four (Niue, Samoa, Tonga and Tuvalu) Pacific Island countries yet to have acceded to the Convention. Of the remaining 10 countries, Papua New Guinea was the first in 2007, with Fiji in 2008, Palau in 2009, Vanuatu, Cook Islands and Republic of Marshall Islands in 2011, Solomon Islands, Federated States of Micronesia and Nauru in 2012 and more recently, Kiribati in September last year. Discussions with the Ombudsman emphasised that acceding to the Convention does not impose heavy obligations on the State, but rather helps to guide it in improving the prevention and criminalization of corruption. The visit to Samoa is part of a broader UN Pacific regional anti-corruption initiative which focuses on supporting all Pacific Island countries to implementation sustainable and effective anti-corruption reform.

The impact of corruption on sustainable human development internationally is well documented. In one study, the cost of corruption is estimated to equal more than 5% of global GDP (US$2.6 trillion) annually. The Ombudsman commented:

“Corruption is an affliction Samoa can ill-afford and we must be diligent in our efforts to prevent any forms of this disease before it is given the chance to manifest. I welcome the team to Samoa and support their talks with our Government to discuss whether ratifying the Convention is beneficial for our country.”

The purpose of the Convention against Corruption, as set out in Article 1 is:

(a) To promote and strengthen measures to prevent and combat corruption more efficiently and effectively;
(b) To promote, facilitate and support international cooperation and technical assistance in the prevention of and fight against corruption…; and,
(c) To promote integrity, accountability and proper management of public affairs and public property.

During the meeting, the Ombudsman stressed the importance of public discussions and debate on the possible ratification of this Convention.

“There are many important decisions to make on our current path of development and the more informed and engaged with the process the public are, the wiser our choices will be.”

Convention Against Corruption Fact Sheet