British Expatriates (Punjab)

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 4:45 pm on 27th March 2012.

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Photo of Dominic Raab Dominic Raab Conservative, Esher and Walton 4:45 pm, 27th March 2012

The Minister is treating this in a serious and methodical way. I understand his point about resources. We know that there was a dumbing down of bilateral relations under the previous Government and that this Government are trying to address that. May I just challenge his strict approach and focus on sovereignty and the idea that the investigation and the approach of the justice system must be left solely to the domestic authorities in India? Under the Vienna convention on consular relations and as a matter of India’s own human rights obligations on torture or fair trials guarantees and given the endemic corruption that he has rather lightly alluded to, we have every right and it is every bit the British Government’s business to raise these issues and to press the Indian authorities to behave properly.


Jean James
Posted on 29 Mar 2012 3:54 pm (Report this annotation)

"Administrative corruption was rife among public servants under British rule. During the early stages of British Rule in India, Corruption was quite rampant among the officers of the East India Company and of the British Government. During the period of war money was spent for procuring essential supplies. It created unprecedented opportunities for dishonest officers and unscrupulous contractors to acquire wealth by illegal means. The wartime scarcities coupled with controls and licensing system provided ample opportunities for bribery and corruption."

"Without trust, democracy and order will go."

The problem of corruption in India is rooted in India's colonial past. The "British Raj" period of British Colonial rule began in 1858 when, through an Act of the British Parliament, the ownership of the successful British East India Trading Company was transferred to the Crown under Queen Victoria.

Apart from the continuing concerns about corruption in domestic politics – from cash-for-honours to MP's expenses – the UK has a woeful record in enforcing the 1997 OECD anti-bribery convention, which outlaws the bribery of foreign public officials. This was epitomised by the dropping of the investigation into BAE Systems' Saudi Arabian defence contracts.

In the past, it may have been easy for British citizens to pretend corruption is a problem that only exists overseas. However, Akers's revelations now leave no room for denying the UK has its own corruption problem.