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Call to help Pacific deal with corruption and money laundering

Tuesday 3 May 2022 | Written by RNZ | Published in Pacific Islands, Regional


Call to help Pacific deal with corruption and money laundering

A law professor who has focuses on rooting out corruption says countries like New Zealand need to do more to help the Pacific cope with corruption and money laundering.

Transparency International New Zealand has just released a new report, Corruption and Money Laundering in the Pacific: Interwined Challenges and Interlinked Responses.

Professor John Hopkins
Professor John Hopkins Photo: supplied

One of its researchers is Professor John Hopkins, who said many Pacific Island countries struggle to deal with corrupt practices, often because of a lack of capacity.

He said the onus is on the larger countries to help.

"We have to be careful. There's been a tendency in the past for the Western states, the developed states to somewhat apply what they want to the Pacific states.

The Pacific states have to be the ones to deal with this, so they can be given support but it has to come from them- I don't think it is a matter of just training them in the ways of New Zealand or Australia or elsewhere, there has got to be domestic buy-in from the states so that these rules will apply in a domestic context," he said

The report calls for :

  • Better due diligence by Financial Institutions includes better access to information about who owns companies operating within their financial system. Better due diligence measures tend to deter corruption proceeds from being laundered.
  • Strengthening of legal frameworks around the confiscation of criminal proceeds, thus reducing the incentive for engaging in corrupt activities.
  • More adequate staffing, resourcing, and training of Financial Intelligence Units in Pacific countries
  • Greater collaboration and commitment between key players in the financial system of each country.
  • Better cross-border cooperation including regional initiatives and the use of regional inter-agency networks such as the Asset Recovery Interagency Network.

The report is available on Transparency International New Zealand's website.