Richard Nephew, the Coordinator on Global Anti-Corruption at the US State Department, emphasized the severe consequences of corruption on economies and international investments during his visit to Cyprus. Appointed to this position by Secretary of State Antony Blinken in July 2022, Nephew's visit highlighted the importance of international cooperation in the fight against corruption.
Nephew commended the efforts being made by Cyprus to combat corruption, acknowledging it as a high priority for the country's leadership. He noted the establishment of new institutions and emphasized the need for every country to work toward fighting corruption and enhancing transparency. Nephew stressed that no country, including the United States, is doing as much as it should to combat corruption.
Corruption, according to Nephew, has far-reaching consequences. It erodes economies, hinders legitimate business activities, undermines public services, and deters international investments. He pointed out that international companies are reluctant to invest in countries perceived as corrupt, making international investments crucial for outward-looking economies.
Nephew also highlighted two key factors to improve anti-corruption efforts: information-sharing among all stakeholders, including the public and private sectors, and identifying vulnerabilities in the system. He emphasized the importance of communication and cooperation among government agencies, communities, and the private sector in implementing sanctions effectively.
Additionally, Nephew encouraged digitization and the use of e-government tools to enhance enforcement efficiency and rule adherence in the fight against corruption. He stressed the need for capacity building and knowledge expansion among enforcement personnel, as international financial systems and transaction techniques are constantly evolving.
Furthermore, Nephew emphasized the role of civil society organizations in providing checks and balances against government and private sector actions. He noted that sanctions' enforcement should be viewed as a risk mitigation strategy rather than punishment, as the cost of risk often exceeds the impact of sanctions.
In conclusion, Nephew's visit to Cyprus underscored the importance of international collaboration and transparency in the fight against corruption and the need for continuous efforts to combat this global issue.
[Information sourced from CNA]