Commission for Africa (Financial Crimes)

Oral Answers to Questions — Solicitor-General – in the House of Commons at 11:30 am on 24th March 2005.

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Photo of Hugh Bayley Hugh Bayley NATO Parliamentary Assembly UK Delegation 11:30 am, 24th March 2005

What action the Law Officers' Departments are taking to implement the recommendations of the Commission for Africa on combating financial crimes including bribery and corruption.

Photo of Harriet Harman Harriet Harman Solicitor General (Law Officers), Member, Labour Party National Executive Committee

The Law Officers' Departments are working closely with other Government Departments and agencies to implement the important recommendations made by the Commission for Africa on combating bribery and corruption.

Photo of Hugh Bayley Hugh Bayley NATO Parliamentary Assembly UK Delegation

The Commission for Africa calls on developed countries such as ours fully to implement the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development's action statement on bribery, to take all necessary legal and administrative measures to repatriate state funds illicitly acquired from developing countries and to ratify and implement the UN convention against corruption during 2005. At the launch of the report, the Prime Minister signalled that the UK will implement all the commission's recommendations. Will the Solicitor-General examine whether the Serious Fraud Office, the Serious Organised Crime Agency and the Crown Prosecution Service have sufficient resources to do so, and will she write to let me know her conclusions?

Photo of Harriet Harman Harriet Harman Solicitor General (Law Officers), Member, Labour Party National Executive Committee

I shall certainly write to my hon. Friend. Those agencies—the Crown Prosecution Service, the SFO and SOCA, when it comes into existence—will be key in implementing the OECD's recommendations. The SFO and the CPS are considering how to do that.

I congratulate my hon. Friend on his work with Transparency International. There is now a widespread recognition that fighting corruption involves those who offer bribes as well as those who receive them; the Commission for Africa and the OECD have emphasised that. As for ratification of those individual points, the Prime Minister has made it clear that we will ratify all those conventions and, having done so, will put them firmly into action.