St. Kitts and Nevis (WINN): “Corruption-the abuse of public office for private gain—is a many-headed monster pervasive in many countries, but only a fraction of cases make headlines; fewer are successfully prosecuted.”
This is according to Alistair Thomson, deputy chief of media relations in the International Monetary Fund's Communications Department.
In a May 18 IMF blog, the deputy chief speaks to the impact of corruption in government on countries’ economies.
“By some estimates, bribery alone amounts to $1 trillion each year, and corruption more broadly to much more…Corruption drains public resources and drags down economic growth in multiple ways. When corruption is systemic, it undermines governments’ ability to mobilize investment…undermines financial institutions and systems, discourages foreign investment and distorts international capital flows. These threats to economic growth and financial stability are precisely why the IMF works with member countries to improve public institutions and legal frameworks.”
According to Deputy Chief Thomson corruption can reach into high levels of government, and the opportunities to commit and conceal corruption and its proceeds are continually evolving in an era of rapid technological innovation.
He said the IMF, however, fights corruption in several key ways, including having IMF fiscal and financial experts help countries improve public financial management, tax collection and transparency in public spending- allowing parliaments and citizens to hold governments accountable.
At a global level, to address concern over companies and trusts being used to hide the real owners of assets and accounts, the IMF has incorporated standards developed by the Financial Action Task Force into its regular anti money-laundering work, making it easier to identify and trace the proceeds of corruption.
The IMF has taken actions against errant member countries for exorbitant extra-budgetary purchases and the awarding of problematic contracts, by delaying disbursement of IMF funds in some cases and suspending lending in others.
Thomson said, “Corruption doesn’t stand still, and nor do we. The IMF is currently reviewing how we treat corruption and other governance issues, following a request last year from our global membership. We are exploring ways to work more closely with other organizations… Working together with our members and other partners, we are determined to press ahead: the burden of corruption on world growth, on countries’ economies and on their citizens, makes this a priority.”