MANILA, PHILIPPINES (8 December 2017) — Asian Development Bank (ADB) President Takehiko Nakao has called for increased efforts from ADB staff, member governments, and other development partners to help fight corruption, money laundering, and other illicit activities that derail economic development and the achievement of social equity in the Asia and Pacific region.
Mr. Nakao led the celebration of International Anticorruption Day held at ADB headquarters in Manila today. Nikos Passas, Professor of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Northeastern University in the United States, and Sayed Ikram Afzali, Executive Director of Integrity Watch Afghanistan, delivered keynote addresses.
“Corruption, money laundering, and tax evasion damage economic development as well as fairness among people. There is also a growing consensus that these activities are threats to the basic fabric of society, including safety and security,” said Mr. Nakao. “We have a professional obligation to fight these illicit activities. This fight is necessary to advance economic development in the Asia and Pacific region and to promote social equity.”
Global losses to corruption, money laundering, and tax evasion is estimated at $800 billion to $2 trillion every year—an amount that could instead be used by developing countries to achieve their Sustainable Development Goals commitments. Corruption also breeds organized crime and terrorism and poses a serious threat to safety and security, particularly for states considered fragile and conflict-affected, several of which are in Asia and the Pacific.
To combat these activities, ADB has adhered to zero-tolerance policies to prevent corrupt practices from negatively impacting ADB-supported projects. For instance, ADB introduced new rules in 2015 for both its sovereign and nonsovereign operations to ensure integrity due diligence for project partners and tightened controls for corruption, money laundering, and terrorist financing. In 2016, ADB updated its Anticorruption Policy to include the prevention of cross-border tax evasion.
ADB is also increasing its technical assistance to enhance the capacity of developing member countries to meet international standards for tax transparency, counter tax evasion, and protect themselves against aggressive forms of tax planning. In July this year, ADB established the Domestic Resource Mobilization Trust Fund with the support of the Government of Japan to help countries close tax loopholes in their financial sectors, enhance tax compliance, and develop transparent and effective tax administration.
ADB, based in Manila, is dedicated to reducing poverty in Asia and the Pacific through inclusive economic growth, environmentally sustainable growth, and regional integration. Established in 1966, ADB is celebrating 50 years of development partnership in the region. It is owned by 67 members—48 from the region. In 2016, ADB assistance totaled $31.7 billion, including $14 billion in cofinancing.