DUBAI // A federal law to combat corruption has been drafted and could be ratified in the first half of the year.
The law is aimed at curbing cases of misconduct involving the loss of public money. The institution's president, Dr Harib Al Amimi, president of the federal anti-corruption watchdog the State Audit Institution, said many such cases were uncovered in 2012. "All fraud cases should be referred to the federal prosecutor," he said.
Dr Al Amimi did not say how much money was involved in the cases uncovered last year. In February 2012 he announced that more than Dh1 billion had been recovered during the previous calendar year. The new law was drafted in accordance with the United Nations Convention Against Corruption, he said.
"It will go for discussion in the Cabinet as well as the Federal National Council before being submitted to the Federal Supreme Council for ratification."
Dr Al Amimi said: "Due to the complexity of the articles that this law contains it took a long time for the concerned parties to come to a conclusion."
However, it was completed within the required time frame and is expected to be published during the first half of this year.
"For the time being the SAI has been asked to enforce the law in coordination with concerned authorities that are involved in law enforcement at the federal as well as the local level," he said.
This was in line with the requirements of the UN convention, which says: "Each State Party shall, in accordance with the fundamental principles of its legal system, ensure the existence of a body or bodies, as appropriate, that prevent corruption."
However, Dr Al Amimi said: "The UAE takes into consideration the best practice in this regard and might consider setting up a more advanced body to carry out the task."
He gave more details about the make-up of both an international team that recently reviewed the UAE's compliance with the convention, and the group of UAE experts that assisted it.
"In accordance with UNCAC requirements the SAI last week received an international expert team visiting the UAE to examine and review the implementation of the UNCAC," he said.
The internation team included representatives of states that are party to the convention, from two reviewer countries, Portugal and the Maldives.
The national team was led by the SAI and consisted of representatives of authorities involved in law enforcement and the fight against corruption, such as the Ministries of Justice, Foreign Affairs and the Interior, the Central Bank, the Attorneys General of Abu Dhabi and Dubai and Dubai Police.
The teams reviewed the implementation of the convention's chapters on criminalisation and law enforcement, and on international cooperation.
"The international expert team admired the legislative, executive and judicial measures adopted by the UAE to fight corruption," Dr Al Amimi said.
"It highlighted that the UAE is instigating effective and successful practices in this field, such as anti money-laundering laws and regulations."