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Everyone Pays With Corruption - International Anti-Corruption Day

December 09, 2004
Everyone Pays With Corruption - International Anti-Corruption Day

Business leaders, Bulgarian and foreign investors, UN representatives and non-governmental organisations held a joint press conference to mark the First International Anticorruption Day.


On 9 December 2004, the world marks one year since the signing of the United Nations Convention against Corruption.  The Convention is the first legally-binding global response to combating corruption.  "We are convinced that now more than ever collective efforts are required, especially with the involvement of civil society, to stand up against corruption.  Because with corruption, everyone pays," said at the press conference Neil Buhne, Resident Representative of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to Bulgaria. 


Over 100 countries, including Bulgaria, have already signed the Convention, yet ratification by 30 Member States is necessary for it to enter into force.  Together with measures for prevention, incrimination and international cooperation, the Convention calls for public awareness and sensitivity to corruption. "Nations that fight corruption and improve their rule of law could increase their national income by 400 per cent," indicates a UN Wire circulated in April 2004.


"No cause can justify paying even one cent of bribe," businesses have stated in a joint declaration on combating corruption.  The declaration was initiated by the Bulgarian Business Leaders Forum (BBLF) and will be launched in January, 2005.  The document aims to outline the main steps for achieving public intolerance against corruption, and to define the commitments of the business and Government in this area.  The declaration is supported by the Bulgarian International Business Association (BIBA) and the Bulgarian Bureau for Congress Tourism, and has been submitted to the Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) and the Bulgarian Industrial Association (BIA).  More than 400 Bulgarian and international companies have supported the declaration and have taken part in its elaboration. 


"Every business aims at profit, but our message is that this should be done fairly and transparently. The only way to stand up against corruption is for businesses, Government and society to work together," Maxim Behar, Chair of BBLF, pointed out.


The appeal for united efforts comes from Transparency International, the leading non-governmental organization globally, which is dedicated exclusively to combating corruption.  As Ognian Minchev, Chair of the Management Board of Transparency International Bulgaria, emphasized: "Essential is systematic, daily action for combating corruption and for building a zero tolerance environment."


According to data provided by the World Bank, each year, in both developed and developing countries, over US$ 1 trillion is paid in bribes.  "An issue of such scale as corruption can be dealt with only through the joint efforts of Government and the business; this means that Parliament should pass clear laws, the Government should create all the necessary administrative structures, the judiciary should ensure equal treatment for all, and businesses should adhere to good business practices and corporate governance," said at the press conference Kirko Kirkov, President of the Bulgarian International Business Association.

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