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U.N. Convention against Corruption Ratified by India

India ratified the United Nations Convention against Corruption on May 12, 2011. The convention, which is the first legally binding international instrument used to fight corruption, sets out ways for countries to prevent and criminalize corruption, and it requires countries to return assets obtained through corruption to the state from which they came. According to convention, member-countries are bound to render mutual legal assistance towards prosecution of offenders as well in tracing, freezing, and confiscating the proceeds of corruption.
The ratification by India comes as the country reels from several corruption scandals that have led to everything from sacked ministers to hunger strikes. In its resolution 55/61 of 4 December 2000, the General Assembly recognized that an effective international legal instrument against corruption, independent of the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (resolution 55/25) was desirable and decided to establish an ad hoc committee for the negotiation of such an instrument in Vienna at the headquarters of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.
The text of the United Nations Convention against Corruption was negotiated during seventh sessions of the Ad Hoc Committee for the Negotiation of the Convention against Corruption, held between 21 January 2002 and 1 October 2003.
The Convention approved by the Ad Hoc Committee was adopted by the General Assembly by resolution 58/4 of 31 October 2003. The General Assembly, in its resolution 57/169 of 18 December 2002, accepted the offer of the Government of Mexico to host a high-level political signing conference in Merida for the purpose of signing the United Nations Convention against Corruption.
In accordance with article 68 (1) of resolution 58/4, the United Nations Convention against Corruption entered into force on 14 December 2005. A Conference of the States Parties is established to review implementation and facilitate activities required by the Convention.
In accordance with article 68 (1) which reads as follows: 
"1.This Convention shall enter into force on the ninetieth day after the date of deposit of the thirtieth instrument of ratification, acceptance, approval or accession. For the purpose of this paragraph, any instrument deposited by a regional economic integration organization shall not be counted as additional to those deposited by member States of such organization. 
2. For each State or regional economic integration organization ratifying, accepting, approving or acceding to this Convention after the deposit of the thirtieth instrument of such action, this Convention shall enter into force on the thirtieth day after the date of deposit by such State or organization of the relevant instrument or on the date this Convention enters into force pursuant to paragraph 1 of this article, whichever is later."
Highlights of Convention
Prevention
Corruption can be prosecuted after the fact, but first and foremost, it requires prevention. An entire chapter of the Convention is dedicated to prevention, with measures directed at both the public and private sectors. These include model preventive policies, such as the establishment of anticorruption bodies and enhanced transparency in the financing of election campaigns and political parties. States must Endeavour to ensure that their public services are subject to safeguards that promote efficiency, transparency and recruitment based on merit. Once recruited, public servants should be subject to codes of conduct, requirements for financial and other disclosures, and appropriate disciplinary measures. Transparency and accountability in matters of public finance must also be promoted, and specific requirements are established for the prevention of corruption, in the particularly critical areas of the public sector, such as the judiciary and public procurement. Those who use public services must expect a high standard of conduct from their public servants. Preventing public corruption also requires an effort from all members of society at large. For these reasons, the Convention calls on countries to promote actively the involvement of non-governmental and community-based organizations, as well as other elements of civil society, and to raise public awareness of corruption and what can be done about it. Article 5 of the Convention enjoins each State Party to establish and promote effective practices aimed at the prevention of corruption.
Criminalization
The Convention requires countries to establish criminal and other offences to cover a wide range of acts of corruption, if these are not already crimes under domestic law. In some cases, States are legally obliged to establish offences; in other cases, in order to take into account differences in domestic law, they are required to consider doing so. The Convention goes beyond previous instruments of this kind, criminalizing not only basic forms of corruption such as bribery and the embezzlement of public funds, but also trading in influence and the concealment and laundering of the proceeds of corruption. Offences committed in support of corruption, including money-laundering and obstructing justice, are also dealt with. Convention offences also deal with the problematic areas of private-sector corruption.
International Cooperation
Countries agreed to cooperate with one another in every aspect of the fight against corruption, including prevention, investigation, and the prosecution of offenders. Countries are bound by the Convention to render specific forms of mutual legal assistance in gathering and transferring evidence for use in court, to extradite offenders. Countries are also required to undertake measures which will support the tracing, freezing, seizure and confiscation of the proceeds of corruption.
Asset Recovery
In a major breakthrough, countries agreed on asset-recovery, which is stated explicitly as a fundamental principle of the Convention. This is a particularly important issue for many developing countries where high-level corruption has plundered the national wealth, and where resources are badly needed for reconstruction and the rehabilitation of societies under new governments. Reaching agreement on this chapter has involved intensive negotiations, as the needs of countries seeking the illicit assets had to be reconciled with the legal and procedural safeguards of the countries whose assistance is sought.
Several provisions specify how cooperation and assistance will be rendered. In particular, in the case of embezzlement of public funds, the confiscated property would be returned to the state requesting it; in the case of proceeds of any other offence covered by the Convention, the property would be returned providing the proof of ownership or recognition of the damage caused to a requesting state; in all other cases, priority consideration would be given to the return of confiscated property to the requesting state, to the return of such property to the prior legitimate owners or to compensation of the victims.
Effective asset-recovery provisions will support the efforts of countries to redress the worst effects of corruption while sending at the same time, a message to corrupt officials that there will be no place to hide their illicit assets. Accordingly, article 51 provides for the return of assets to countries of origin as a fundamental principle of this Convention. Article 43 obliges state parties to extend the widest possible cooperation to each other in the investigation and prosecution of offences defined in the Convention. With regard to asset recovery in particular, the article provides inter alia that "In matters of international cooperation, whenever dual criminality is considered a requirement, it shall be deemed fulfilled irrespective of whether the laws of the requested State Party place the offence within the same category of offence or denominate the offence by the same terminology as the requesting State Party, if the conduct underlying the offence for which assistance is sought is a criminal offence under the laws of both States Parties".
Some of the Scams in India
1) 2G Spectrum Scam
We have had a number of scams in India; but none bigger than the scam involving the process of allocating unified access service licenses. At the heart of this Rs.1.76-lakh crore worth of scam is the former Telecom minister A Raja – who according to the CAG, has evaded norms at every level as he carried out the dubious 2G license awards in 2008 at a throw-away price which were pegged at 2001 prices.
2) Commonwealth Games Scam
Another feather in the cap of Indian scandal list is Commonwealth Games. Even before the long awaited sporting bonanza could see the day of light, the grand event was soaked in the allegations of corruption. It is estimated that out of Rs. 70000 crore spent on the Games, only half the said amount was spent on Indian sportspersons.
The Central Vigilance Commission, involved in probing the alleged corruption in various Commonwealth Games-related projects, has found discrepancies in tenders – like payment to non-existent parties, will-full delays in execution of contracts, over-inflated price and bungling in purchase of equipment through tendering – and misappropriation of funds.
3) Housing Scam
Congress party politicians, bureaucrats and military officials have been accused of taking over a plush Mumbai apartment block intended for war widows. After the story broke in local media the government sacked the powerful chief minister of western Maharashtra state, who is a member of the Congress party.
Following a CBI probe, the environment ministry ordered the demolition of the 31-storey building in January, citing the violation of environmental and land-use rules. The Arabian Sea-facing block with 103 apartments is built in an upscale Mumbai district. Apartments were sold for as little as $130,000 each, while local media estimated their value at $1.8 million each.
4) IPL Scam
The recent scam in IPL and embezzlement with respect to bidding for various franchisees. The scandal already claimed the portfolios of two big-wigs in the form of Shashi Tharoor and former IPL chief Lalit Modi.
5) ISRO and Devas Deal
The deal which caught Antrix in controversy is the Devas deal. Devas is a Bangalore based Multimedia company. The Devas multimedia was set up by one US based company namely Forge Advisors. Most of the members of this Devas multimedia are ex – ISRO officials. The Devas Multimedia had signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Antrix in 2003 . According to this deal, Devas will get 90 % of the S band transponders of two Indian satellites on lease for its digital audio broadcast services. The two new Indian satellites whose S transponders are getting to Devas on deal were GSAT 6 and GSAT 6A.
Devas Multimedia and Antrix signed the contract in 2005 January. But Antrix didn't informed either space commission or union cabinet that the lion portion of the capacity of these satellites will be leased to Devas Multimedia. Usually the S band transponders are used for strategic purposes and here it was leased to a private firm.
6) Loan Bribery Scam
Top officials of Indian banks, lenders and financial firms have been accused of taking bribes to grant corporate loans. The bribes were allegedly paid by private finance firm Money Matters Financial Services (MONE.BO), which acted as a "mediator and facilitator" for the loan beneficiaries.
7) Telgi Scam
Abdul Karim Telgi had mastered the art of forgery in printing duplicate stamp papers and sold them to banks and other institutions. The tentacles of the fake stamp and stamp paper case had penetrated 12 states and was estimated at a whooping Rs. 20000 crore plus. The Telgi clearly had a lot of support from government departments that were responsible for the production and sale of high security stamps.
8) Satyam Scam
The scam at Satyam Computer Services is something that will shatter the peace and tranquillity of Indian investors and shareholder community beyond repair. Satyam is the biggest fraud in the corporate history to the tune of Rs. 14000 crore. The company’s disgraced former chairman Ramalinga Raju kept everyone in the dark for a decade by fudging the books of accounts for several years and inflating revenues and profit figures of Satyam.
9) Bofors Scam
The Bofors scandal is known as the hallmark of Indian corruption. The Bofors scam was a major corruption scandal in India in the 1980s; when the then PM Rajiv Gandhi and several others including a powerful NRI family named the Hindujas, were accused of receiving kickbacks from Bofors AB for winning a bid to supply India’s 155 mm field howitzer.
The Swedish State Radio had broadcast a startling report about an undercover operation carried out by Bofors, Sweden’s biggest arms manufacturer, whereby $16 million were allegedly paid to members of PM Rajiv Gandhi’s Congress. Most of all, the Bofors scam had a strong emotional appeal because it was a scam related to the defense services and India’s security interests.
10) The Fodder Scam
If you haven’t heard of Bihar’s fodder scam of 1996, you might still be able to recognize it by the name of “Chara Ghotala ,” as it is popularly known in the vernacular language. In this corruption scandal worth Rs.900 crore, an unholy nexus was traced involved in fabrication of “vast herds of fictitious livestock” for which fodder, medicine and animal husbandry equipment was supposedly procured.
11) The Hawala Scandal
The Hawala case to the tune of $18 million bribery scandal, which came in the open in 1996, involved payments allegedly received by country’s leading politicians through hawala brokers. Thus, for the first time in Indian politics, it gave a feeling of open loot all around the public, involving all the major political players being accused of having accepted bribes and also alleged connections about payments being channelled to Hizbul Mujahideen militants in Kashmir.
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