Good governance must not be a victim of the COVID-19 crisis, says Special Representative on Fighting Corruption Charalambides

Irene CharalambidesIrene CharalambidesCOPENHAGEN, 8 May 2020 – 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 (MP, Cyprus), said today. 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.

“High-value contracts are swiftly and discreetly being assigned and dizzying sums of relief and recovery money will be infused in the economy on a fast-track basis,” said Charalambides. “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.”

Audit and controls are a key part of these processes, she emphasized, which is relevant for all sectors adversely affected by the COVID- 19 crisis, including the health sector.

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

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

“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 with its mind set on health research, and innovation, through better co-ordination, collaboration and resource allocation.”

Charalambides co-authored the resolution “The Role of National Parliaments in Preventing and Combating Corruption in the OSCE Area,” adopted at the OSCE PA Annual Session in Luxembourg last year.

For more on the work of the OSCE PA Special Representative on Fighting Corruption, please click here.

For more on the OSCE PA’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, please click here.



Nat Parry

Head of Communications and Press

Office: +45 33 37 80 55
Mobile: +45 60 10 81 77
Email: [email protected]

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