Keeping corruption at bay

Rizal Faisal

With the spread of COVID-19 impacting thousands of lives around the world, it also affects governments and agencies in carrying out their work. Especially in the fight against corruption, most agencies need to embrace digitalisation and incorporate it into the anti-corruption law procedures, to help curb corruption while still adhering to the standard operating procedures (SOPs).

This was shared by Brunei Darussalam’s Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) at the 17th Principals Meeting of ASEAN Parties Against Corruption (ASEAN-PAC) on November 30.

The virtual meeting, held at the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) Headquarters, was officiated by Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office Dato Seri Setia Haji Awang Abdul Mokti bin Haji Mohd Daud and chaired by Director of the ACB Datin Paduka Hajah Suhana binti Haji Sudin.

The meeting was attended by representatives from the Cambodia’s Anti-Corruption Unit; Indonesia’s Corruption Eradication Commission; Lao PDR’s State Inspection Authority; Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission; Myanmar’s Anti-Corruption Commission; Philippine’s Office of the Ombudsman; Singapore’s Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau; Thailand’s Office of the National Anti-Corruption Commission; and Government Inspectorate of Vietnam.

The meeting began with the official handing over of the ASEAN-PAC Chairmanship from the Government Inspectorate of Vietnam to the ACB, performed through video recording.

Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office Dato Seri Setia Haji Awang Abdul Mokti bin Haji Mohd Daud during the 17th Principals Meeting of ASEAN-PAC. PHOTOS: ANTI-CORRUPTION BUREAU
Director of the ACB Datin Paduka Hajah Suhana binti Haji Sudin during the meeting

Officiating the meeting, Dato Seri Setia Haji Awang Abdul Mokti congratulated the Chairman of the Government Inspectorate of Vietnam on the successful of chairing of the 16th Principals Meeting of ASEAN-PAC, held virtually on December 9, 2020.

The minister also touched on this year’s theme, ‘ASEAN-PAC – Enhancing the Anti-Corruption Strategies in the Global Pandemic of COVID-19 for Regional Peace, Security and Prosperity’ where he acknowledged the efforts made by the ASEAN-PAC in showing commitment towards building a better governance and in the fight against corruption in spite of the pandemic.

The minister called for the need to enhance collaboration and strengthen cooperation among anti-corruption agencies of ASEAN-PAC to prevent and combat corruption and remain supportive towards the initiatives and commitment made by the ASEAN-PAC members.

The meeting was followed by a speech from Datin Paduka Hajah Suhana, who expressed her gratitude for the 17 years of establishment of the ASEAN-PAC group.

“The group has expanded its membership to include all ASEAN anti-corruption agencies. This group has made some remarkable achievements since the signing of the first memorandum of understanding (MOU) on Cooperation for Preventing and Combatting Corruption in 2004,” she said.

Datin Paduka Hajah Suhana also emphasised the need to discuss the impact of COVID-19 on anti-corruption efforts by assessing the experiences of each country in developing and implementing anti-corruption strategies.

The ACB director hoped that ASEAN-PAC would remain resilient by coordinating efforts in the fight against corruption.

“The end of year 2019 saw the emergence of a new threat globally – the COVID-19 pandemic. The impact of the health crisis continues to linger in many parts of the world.

However, the fight against corruption remains steadfast and will continue to strive to achieve our common goal in combatting corruption. In this regard, the ASEAN-PAC member countries need to collaborate and strengthen the global fight against corruption even during these challenging times,” she said.

During the meeting, each member presented a paper on initiatives and strategies including discussions on challenges and sharing practices implemented in the eradication of corruption.

Brunei Darussalam’s ACB presented a paper titled Enhancing Anti-Corruption Strategies in the Global Pandemic of COVID-19 in the Combatting Corruption for Regional Peace, Security and Prospertity.

The paper, presented by Acting Assistant Director Hajah Rahimah binti Haji Hassan, Head of Investigation 2, touched on matters related to the procedural mechanism of conducting investigation of corruption cases during the pandemic in accordance with guidelines set by the Ministry of Health (MoH).

It also covers educating the public to support the eradication of corruption, introduction of new SOPs, making COVID-19 Relief Fund transparent and collaborating with other agencies in tightening border controls to crack down smuggling syndicates.

The 18th Principals Meeting of the ASEAN-PAC will be hosted by the Cambodia’s Anti-Corruption Unit in 2022.