Govt mulls MoUs with some countries to check corruption

NEW DELHI, June 26:
Concerned over involvement of foreign nationals in bribery cases here, the Centre is considering signing Memorandum of Understandings (MoUs) with certain countries to check corruption.
Officials said the MoUs would seek mutual cooperation in investigations related to graft cases and sharing of information related to acts of corruption by citizens of respective nations.
The proposal is being considered by the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions, which acts as a nodal agency of the government to deal in anti-corruption matters.
“The Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) is discussing a proposal of signing MoUs with foreign nations to check corruption. It will hold a meeting with officials of Ministry of Law and Ministry of External Affairs to give a final shape to it,” an official said.
He said the proposal, which is at the “nascent stage” at present, will also be discussed with members of industry associations and chambers of commerce.
The move assume significance as the Central Vigilance Commission has noticed instances of foreign officials getting involved in bribery here while signing contracts or participating in other procurement works.
Following this, the probity watchdog has issued guidelines restricting participation of “Indian agents” (nodal officer of a foreign entity) in getting procurement related works here and advised all departments to formulate tender conditions in such a way that it does not lead to collusion and cartelisation among bidders.
The need for strengthening public service delivery system and seamless sharing of intelligence among investigating agencies to check graft was discussed by about 28 nations, including India, during a conference of the Asian Development Bank and Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) here last year.
It was agreed that non-criminal law enforcement agencies, such as tax departments, could help in providing leads in corruption cases.
It has suggested certain changes in the Bill, which seeks to criminalise any act of corruption by foreign public officials.
The draft Indian Penal Code (Amendments) Bill, 2011, circulated to states and Union Territories by the Centre for their comments, would cover graft by an individual, firm, society, trust, association of individuals, and company, whether incorporated or not, which undertakes any economic or financial or commercial activity. (PTI)


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