Audit of Taiwan’s anti-corruption efforts under U.N. pact begins

An international panel of five experts on Tuesday commenced a four-day review in Taipei of the implementation by Taiwan's government of a United Nations convention against corruption over the past four years.

The committee's head, Peruvian legal expert José Ugaz, expressed his appreciation of Taiwan's efforts to stamp out corruption to "the highest possible standards" by adopting the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC), at a ceremony held to mark the start of the review.

According to the U.N., the UNCAC introduces "a comprehensive set of standards, measures, and rules that all countries can apply in order to strengthen their legal and regulatory regimes to fight corruption."

Despite not being a member of the U.N., Taiwan made the UNCAC part of its domestic law in 2015, subsequently inviting a panel of independent experts to audit the convention's implementation once every four years.

In 2018, the Taiwanese government issued its first "national report" outlining its implementation of the UNCAC that was reviewed by the expert panel, which also provided a list of recommendations.

Ugaz, who also came to Taiwan for the first review four years ago, said he believed the government had made some progress in its fight against corruption over the past four years but that there was "still space for improvement."

According to Ugaz, who served as the chair of the international nongovernmental organization, Transparency International, from 2014-2017, corruption is a "crime" that constitutes "a serious threat to governance and global security."

Corruption is characterized by the "misuse or abuse" of power by officials, business elites, politicians, or organized crime groups for "large sums of money" and often involves harmful consequences, such as the violation of human rights, he said.

Ugaz said the panel would spend the next few days assessing the second national report issued by Taiwan's government in April, and also hold talks with government officials, legislators, and representatives from civil society groups to better gauge the country's progress on anti-corruption efforts.

The committee is scheduled to release a list of recommendations on Friday known as "concluding observations," according to the Ministry of Justice (MOJ).

Ugaz is joined on the expert panel by Gillian Dell, Julie Haggie, Kim Geo-sung, and Peter Ritchie, all of whom have held senior roles in international organizations promoting anti-corruption, the MOJ said.

Premier Su Tseng-chang (???), meanwhile, thanked the experts for coming to Taipei to conduct the review, which he said would help point to what remains to be done by the government in its efforts to combat corruption and promote transparent governance.

The government aims to continue working with experts and civil society groups on these efforts, as it "hopes to do a better job" and "meets the expectations of the people," Su added.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel