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African nations and OECD countries face the same global context, and so share many similar challenges

DR CARMINE DI NOIA, Director for Financial and Enterprise Affairs, OECD
DR CARMINE DI NOIA, Director for Financial and Enterprise Affairs, OECD

The Regional Centre of Excellence (RCE) of the Financial Services Commission, Mauritius (FSC), in collaboration with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), organised a workshop series on “Integrity, Sustainability and Transparency in the Financial System”, on 22-24 January, at Hilton Mauritius Resort & Spa, Flic en Flac. The opening ceremony was graced by the presence of Dr Renganaden Padayachy, Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development; Harvesh Seegolam, Governor of the Bank of Mauritius and Chairperson of RCE Governing Board; Dr Carmine Di Noia, Director for Financial and Enterprise Affairs, OECD; and Dhanesswurnath Thakoor, Chief Executive of the FSC

We have seen global shocks over the past few years that would scarcely have been imaginable just a decade ago. Governments everywhere are facing a daunting pace of change. Sharing intelligence, knowledge and know-how has never been so important,” said the Director for Financial and Enterprise Affairs of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), Dr Carmine Di Noia, during his opening remarks for the ‘Integrity, Sustainability and Transparency in the Financial System’ Workshop series held on 22 January at Hilton Mauritius.

According to him, critically, OECD countries also have much to learn from African policymakers and innovative approaches being crafted across the continent.

Although we see a broad range of national income levels and stages of economic development across African nations and OECD countries, we all face the same global context, and so share many similar challenges,” he added.


Long-standing partner

The workshop has been organized by the Regional Centre of Excellence (RCE) of the Financial Services Commission, Mauritius (FSC), in collaboration with the OECD. The RCE and the OECD are now entering their sixth year of co-operation.

The workshop agenda focused on tackling corruption and countering illicit finance at a whole-of government level, policies that equip markets with the information and incentives to integrate sustainability considerations into investment, and the role of due diligence and other principles of responsible business conduct in driving sustainability risk management in financial intermediaries.

The OECD has always been at the forefront of the fight against corruption. Such engagement is notably materialized by the work of the Working Group on Bribery, a conference of 46 parties responsible for monitoring the implementation and enforcement of the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention, and the 2021 Anti-Bribery Recommendation. The Anti-Bribery Convention establishes legally binding standards to criminalise bribery of foreign public officials in international business transactions, and provides for a range of related measures that make this effective. It is the first and only international anti-corruption instrument focused on the ‘supply side’ of the bribery transaction.

Fostering international cooperation is illustrated by the OECD’s regional Law Enforcement Networks for investigators and prosecutors working on corruption cases, that we have set up in several regions of the world, most recently in Africa. Indeed, the Independent Commission Against Corruption has been a key partner in setting up the African law enforcement network, with the next meeting to be hosted by Mauritius in April 2024,” explained Dr Carmine Di Noia.

The African law enforcement network serves as an informal peer learning platform, enhances professional contacts and fosters confidential discussion between law enforcement practitioners from African and OECD countries on transnational corruption cases. Mauritius has been a long-standing partner of the OECD in anti-corruption initiatives. Indeed, Mauritius became a Participant to the Working Group on Bribery in February 2023, with a view to accede to the Anti-Bribery Convention.


Mechanisms for inter-agency coordination and information sharing

Mauritius has initiated a series of reforms to comply with the criteria of the OECD Anti Bribery Convention among other international anti-corruption and anti-money laundering instruments. This demonstrates Mauritius’ strong commitment to fostering integrity and promoting anti-corruption standards,” Dr Carmine Di Noia explained.

As regards financial crimes, he affirmed that the detection, investigation and prosecution of foreign bribery and corruption crimes require collaborative efforts. Financial crimes are increasingly growing in sophistication. The nature of financial crimes such as foreign bribery, corruption, money laundering and false accounting also means that the same activity may violate a number of different laws.

Different government agencies may be involved at various stages in preventing, detecting, investigating or prosecuting the offences. At the international level, cooperation among law enforcement agencies is essential to deal with increasingly complex transnational crimes, as highlighted by the 2021 OECD Anti-Bribery Recommendation. At the national level, ensuring that national institutions have in place mechanisms for inter-agency coordination and information sharing is paramount for institutional preparedness and effectively detecting, investigating and prosecuting financial crimes,” he concluded.

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