On the occasion of the International Anticorruption Day, the U.S. Embassy in Romania, the UK Embassy in Romania, the American Chamber of Commerce, the British Romanian Chamber of Commerce and the National School of Political and Administrative Studies (SNSPA) organized on Wednesday an event on anti-bribery legislation, organized at the National School of Political and Administrative Studies.
U.S. Ambassador to Romania Hans Klemm (photo L), UK Ambassador Paul Brummell (photo R), SNSPA rector Remus Pricopie and American Chamber of Commerce Chair Daniela Nemoianu will give remarks at the event. Also, FBI special agent Devon Mahoney and Neil McGregor, British attorney of McGregor & Partners and also Vice-Chairman Elect of the British-Romanian Chamber of Commerce have delivered presentations on U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and respectively on the UK Bribery Act, including recent prosecutions in the UK in respect of foreign corruption
U.S. Ambassador Klemm: Romania gaining international recognition as role model in fight of corruption
Romania starts gaining international recognition, and particularly in this part of Europe, as a role model in the fight of corruption, U.S. Ambassador in Bucharest Hans G. Klemm said on Wednesday.
In an event devoted to anti-bribery legislation, the U.S. diplomat referred to Romania’s efforts to make sure that the judiciary has the necessary independence and resources to be able to properly judge those brought to court for corruption.
“The U.S. Embassy and my predecessors in the position of Ambassador to Romania have strongly supported for many years now the country’s fight against corruption. These efforts, especially as far as prosecution is concerned, have been remarkably successful, and I deliberately use this term, because credit should be given to the sometimes courageous decisions taken by Romanian leaders to create strong institutions capable of investigating, indicting, prosecuting and then putting to trial the Romanians who embezzled public money for private benefits”, said Klemm.
He commended the National Anti-corruption Directorate and the Romanian courts for their achievements in recent years, terming them as a success, as well as Prime Minister Dacian Ciolos’s very clear announcement of the government’s intention to resolutely fight corruption.
The Ambassador gave assurances that the United States will continue to be a strong voice in support of Romania’s anti-corruption efforts.
“We will continue to support all that needs to be done on the entire spectrum of the anti-corruption fight. It is very important that judicial independence and the necessary resources are in place to fight corruption, but more can be done to immunize the society”, Klemm said.
In this context, the diplomat reminded that Parliament adopted the bill on the establishment of an agency tasked with coordinating the confiscation of illegal proceeds.
“Romania already had the laws in place allowing judicial authorities and prosecutors to confiscate the assets stolen from the public resources handled by private actors. Yet the management of those assets was not highly efficient. The agency will make this possible, so that those convicted of corruption cannot enjoy the results of their crimes once they are released from prison, and cannot access bank accounts or properties stolen from the Romanian people”, said Hans Klemm.
UK’s Brummell, on combating corruption: If attitudes and mentalities do not change, governments’ efforts will be in vain
UK Ambassador to Romania Paul Brummell supports the contribution of the entire society to uprooting corruption, stating that, although governments have an essential role in this respect, if attitudes and mentalities do not change, all efforts will be in vain.
“Following the terrible tragedy that took place in Bucharest on October 30, Brummell stated, thousands of Romanians took to the streets with the message ‘corruption kills’. They were not protesting against one single act of corruption, but against a culture of impunity which, in the words of president Iohannis, functioned on the principle “leave it, it is good enough”. But it doesn’t work like that, the diplomat stated. According to Brummell, we all must contribute to eliminating corruption from our societies, adding that governments play an essential role, but, if attitudes and mentalities do not change, everything will be in vain,” the UK Ambassador told the event on the topic of anti-bribery legislation hosted by the National School of Political and Administrative Studies (SNSPA).
The UK diplomat believes that those protesting under the slogan “Corruption kills” are right and states that it is necessary, in order to save the spirit of the nation, that every citizen should take on a role in the fight against corruption.
I believe a country like Romania and Romanians are ready for this challenge, the ambassador stated, adding that he wanted to be proved right.
The ambassador reminded that Romania was ranked 69th in 2014 in Transparency International’s corruption index, scoring the least among European Union members, with the same score it obtained in 2007, when it joined the EU.
Brummell stated that the fact must be placed in a broader context, with corruption being a global issue no country is immune to, including the UK and the United States.
“Romania, together with its international partners, initiated efforts to combat corruption, the ambassador pointed out. The country joined the EU with a promise to fight for a cleaner and less corrupt society. This is reflected in the cooperation and verification mechanisms through which it commits to reform the judicial system, to combat corruption at all levels and to set up an integrity agency, the diplomat stated. He added that Romania has made major strides in all of these aspects. According to him, the latest monitoring report published in January 2015 confirms the fact that confidence in the reform process is increasing and must be maintained. At the same time, Romania has a lot to work on to carry out the reforms initiated in the past few years”.
The British diplomat noted that lately the issue of corruption has touched a sensitive chord in Romania in the context of the Colectiv tragedy.
“I am not here to tell Romanians how to do this or to urge Romania to make bigger efforts, Paul Brummell added. The wish for a cleaner and less corrupt society is more evident, the ambassador stated. As could be seen in the past weeks, the issue of corruption touches an emotional chord, he said, adding that, according to him, the United Kingdom is and can continue to be a friend and trustworthy partner for Romania for the progress necessary in the direction desired by the majority of its citizens. The fight against corruption starts with admitting there is a problem and the wish to do something about it”, Brummell added.