In an interview with the public broadcaster Doordarshan News on August 11, 2023, the Union Minister for Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions, Jitendra Singh, said that India is seeking consensus among the G-20 Nations against fugitive economic offenders to ensure their faster extraditions and asset recovery.
Ahead of the crucial anti-corruption meeting in Kolkata on August 12, 2023, the minister also said that economic offences had been a problem faced by many, especially when the offenders flee the country’s jurisdiction.
Remarks of Jitendra Singh
“All countries are on the same page of extradition of fugitive economic offenders and recovery of assets are concerned. But different laws of the member states pose a problem in this regard, said Singh, the Union Minister of State for Personnel.
He said that a consensus is already in the offing for collective and joint action to deal with this type of menace, and the deployment of sensitive technologies is also being explored.
“India is seeking consensus among the G-20 nations against fugitive economic offenders to ensure faster extradition of economic offenders and recovery of assets, both domestically as well as internationally,” the minister said.
It was PM Narendra Modi who had presented a nine-point programme to take action against fugitive economic offenders during his G-20 address in Argentina. He said that Narendra Modi had highlighted the importance of cooperation in the legal process in freezing the process of crime, early return of the offenders and effective repatriation of the proceeds of crime.
He pointed out that India had organised a unique event on exploring the G-20 perspective on synergising gender sensitivity with anti-corruption strategies on the lines of the second G-20 Anti-Corruption Working Group (ACWG) meeting held in Uttarakhand in May 2023.
The event saw the participation of high keynote speakers and the governmental experts of the G-20 countries and international organisations,” he said.
Referring to a series of G-20 meetings in various parts of the country, including Jammu and Kashmir and the Northeast states, among others. Singh said that it also gave India an opportunity to not only showcase its presence in numerous sectors but also demonstrate the varied culture and diversity of India.
The ACWG Meeting
During the first and second ACWG Ministerial meetings held in Gurugram and Rishikesh, respectively, India was able to forge a consensus in the G-20 to advance the international anti-corruption agenda by finalising the three outcome documents on important and sensitive issues.
It is also focusing on the role of audit institutions in tackling corruption. These pragmatic and action-oriented highest-level commitments will contribute towards the prevention, detection, investigation and prosecution of corruption offences, strengthening domestic anti-corruption institutional frameworks, extradition of fugitive economic offenders and the recovery of assets of such offenders from foreign jurisdictions.
The third and final meeting of the G-20 Anti-Corruption Working Group is being held from August 9 to August 11, 2023, in Kolkata. Over 154 delegates from the G-20 members, ten invitee countries and various international organisations are attending the meeting.
“The third ACWG meeting in Kolkata will give direction to the future work of ACWG and further commitments made on law enforcement cooperation, strengthening asset recovery mechanisms and along with enhancing integrity and effectiveness of the anti-corruption strategies,” a statement said.
The deliberations at the level of ministers will impart a further political impetus to combating corruption as the ACWG plays a crucial role in leading international efforts to fight corruption.
It will be followed by the G-20 anti-corruption ministerial meeting on August 12, 2023, which will be chaired by Jitendra Singh. This will be the second-ever ministerial meeting of the G-20 ACWG and the first in-person ACWG ministerial meeting.
Earlier this year, side events were organised to highlight the use of information and communication technologies in reducing corruption in the public administration and delivery of public services and gender-related issues of corruption.