UK blacklists 22 individuals linked to corruption globally

Wednesday, April 28th, 2021 00:00 |
Ajay Gupta (left) - pictured here with his brother Atul and Jacob Zuma’s son Duduzane Zuma. Photo/COURTESY

Noah Cheploen @cheploennoah

The UK government has taken the fight against corruption globally a notch higher by issuing sanctions against 22 prominent figures involved in the vice in a number of countries, including South Africa and South Sudan.

In a move that is likely to send shivers down the spine of the local players, UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab announced fresh stringent measures dubbed ‘new Global Anti-Corruption regime’, which includes travel bans and freezing of assets.

He said UK will not allow corrupt individuals to use UK as a safe haven for dirty money adding that the new measures imposed will stop individuals involved in serious corruption from entering or channeling proceeds of graft through their country.

Noteworthy, Raab said that these were the first wave of sanctions hinting that there could be more lined up noting that the move has been taken in conjunction with United States—its ally in the war against corruption.

The UK has, for the first time, imposed asset freezes and travel bans against 22 individuals under the new Global Anti-Corruption sanctions regime, which gives the UK unprecedented power to stop corrupt actors profiting from the UK economy and exploiting her citizens.

“Corruption has a corrosive effect as it slows development, drains the wealth of poorer nations and keeps their people trapped in poverty. It poisons the well of democracy,” Raab said. 

“The individuals we have sanctioned today have been involved in some of the most notorious corruption cases around the world,” the official said.

“Global Britain is standing up for democracy, good governance and the rule of law.

We are saying to those involved in serious corruption: We will not tolerate you or your dirty money in our country,” he added.

He said in a statement that UK is concerned with high level cases of corruption particularly in poor countries noting that it hurts individuals and undermines global trade, development and the rule of law.

“More than 2 per cent of global GDP is lost to corruption every year, and corruption increases the cost of doing business for individual companies by as much as 10 per cent,” he stated.

Instability and conflict

Corruption also threatens national security by exacerbating conflict and facilitating serious and organised crime, creating space for terrorist and criminal groups such as Daesh and Boko Haram to operate, he said.

Raab said the new regime will allow the UK to combat serious corruption, in particular bribery and misappropriation of funds.

It will promote effective governance, robust democratic institutions and the rule of law – demonstrating our powers as a force for good around the world.

The measures are deliberately targeted, so the UK can impose sanctions on corrupt individuals and their enablers, rather than entire nations, the statement said.

Some of the prominent figures in the UK’s list of shame includes the Gupta family (Atul, Rajesh and their associate Salim Essa), who were adversely mentioned in serious corruption that brought down South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma’s administration a few years ago.

Others are Sudanese businessman Ashraf Seed Ahmed Hussein Ali, widely known as Al Cardinal, for his involvement in the misappropriation of significant amounts of state assets in one of the poorest countries in the world.

“This diversion of resources in collusion with South Sudanese elites has contributed to ongoing instability and conflict,” the statement said.

Also in the list of shame is Sergei Magnitsky,  who is accused of diversion of $230 million Russian state property in “one of the largest tax frauds in recent Russian history.”

Several individuals involved in serious corruption in Latin America, including facilitating bribes to support a major drug trafficking organisation and misappropriation that has led to citizens being deprived of vital resources for development.

The Global Anti-Corruption sanctions regime builds on the success of the Global Human Rights sanctions regime established in July 2020, which has resulted in the UK imposing sanctions on 78 individuals and entities involved in serious human rights violations, including from Myanmar, Belarus, China and Russia.

The UK will continue to use a range of means to tackle serious corruption around the world, including funding the International Corruption Unit in the National Crime Agency.

The International Corruption Unit and its predecessors have restrained, confiscated or returned over £1.1 billion of stolen assets, stolen from developing countries since 2006.

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