United Nation Convention against Corruption
It is widely felt that the spectre of high-value economic offenders absconding from India to defy the legal process seriously undermines the rule of law in India. It is, therefore, felt necessary to provide an effective, expeditious and constitutionally permissible deterrent to ensure that such actions are curbed. A Budget Announcement was made by the Government in the Budget 2017-18 that the Government was considering to introduce legislative changes or even a new law to confiscate the assets of such absconders till they submit to the jurisdiction of the appropriate legal forum.
A draft law, known as ‘The Fugitive Economic Offenders Bill, 2017’ has been prepared. The Bill adopts the non-conviction-based asset confiscation for corruption-related cases, as recommended by the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC). The UNCAC was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 31 October 2003 by Resolution 58/4. It was opened for signature in Mérida, Yucatán, Mexico, from 9–11 December 2003 and thereafter at UN headquarters in New York City. It was signed by 140 countries.
As of December 2016, there are 181 parties, which includes 177 UN member states, the Cook Islands, the Holy See, the State of Palestine, and the European Union. The UNCAC is the only legally binding universal anti-corruption instrument. The Convention’s far-reaching approach and the mandatory character of many of its provisions make it a unique tool for developing a comprehensive response to a global problem. The vast majority of United Nations Member States are parties to the Convention.
It is one of several legally binding international anti-corruption agreements. UNCAC requires state parties to the treaty to implement several anti-corruption measures that focus on five main areas: prevention, law enforcement, international cooperation, asset recovery, and technical assistance and information exchange.
UNCAC’s goal is to reduce various types of corruption that can occur across country borders, such as trading in influence and abuse of power, as well as corruption in the private sector, such as embezzlement and money laundering. Another goal of the UNCAC is to strengthen international law enforcement and judicial cooperation between countries by providing effective legal mechanisms for international asset recovery.