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12° Nicosia,
30 November, 2020
 
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Need for transparency on COVID-19 public spending

OSCE PA Special Representative on Fighting Corruption Irene Charalambides, warned against those seeking to profit from the crisis

Newsroom / CNA

The Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe Parliamentary Assmebly’s (OSCE PA) Special Representative on Fighting Corruption Irene Charalambides, has called for the highest levels of transparency and good governance on COVID-19 related public expenditures.

“Significant efforts must be made to ensure that coronavirus-related emergency public spending measures adhere to the highest levels of transparency and principles of good governance, the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly’s Special Representative on Fighting Corruption, Irene Charalambides, said today,” an OSCE PA press release says.

“She noted that with governments taking a series of important decisions and allocating enormous sums of money to prop up the economy, legally prescribed procurement procedures must be followed,” it adds.

“It is crucial to remain vigilant and invest significant efforts to ensure that this money is used appropriately, and that unscrupulous actors do not take advantage of the crisis to enrich themselves at the expense of the public,” she pointed out.

As parliamentarians, she continued, “we must call for the inclusion of clear anti-corruption safeguards for all public expenditures both now and in the aftermath of COVID-19.”

“As we work to support our societies with respect to their health and economic survival, it is of paramount importance that we implement a robust system of checks and balances to ensure that money is spent wisely and to avoid abuse by the few,” she noted.

“In the procurement of medical equipment and supplies or direct state aid to businesses, waste, fraud and abuse must be prevented, she stressed,” the press release reads.

“Now more than ever, the people demand effective public governance and their tolerance for corruption is at an all-time low. If governments do not ensure the highest level of transparency and fairness in these processes, it would inflict a devastating blow to the people’s trust in state institutions,” she said.

The Special Representative also noted that the crisis is providing a fertile ground for criminal organizations to buy out legitimate businesses on the verge of bankruptcy, and governments should be particularly vigilant in protecting the economy from criminal infiltrations for money laundering purposes, the press release adds.

“Let COVID-19 be, apart the most horrific experience of modern times, an opportunity for us to collectively rethink a more responsible world,” she said. A world, she added, “with its mind set on health research, and innovation, through better co-ordination, collaboration and resource allocation.”

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