Christian, Muslim and Jewish faith leaders sent a letter to the Prime Minister this week highlighting their “moral outrage” about illicit business practices in developing countries ahead of London’s anti-corruption summit on Thursday.
The letter, signed by fourteen leaders from countries including Zambia, Brazil and Colombia, as well as the Chief Executive of Liberal Judaism and the Chairman of the Muslim Charities Forum, asks David Cameron to give more of a voice to faith leaders and to stimulate ambitious action against the root causes of corruption.
The letter draws attention to the “huge financial outflows from the developing world” that result from corrupt practices. “It deprives developing countries of the funds they need to provide decent health, education and other public services for their citizens,” the letter states. Research has found that from 2004-2013, developing and emerging economies lost US$7.8 trillion in illicit financial flows from crime, corruption, tax evasion, and other illegal activity.
The letter asks the Prime Minister to make registers of beneficial ownership – a database of the owners of companies – publicly available so that developing countries can benefit from disclosure, which they say will “demonstrate that the UK is serious about tackling corruption around the world for the benefit of the world’s poorest people”.
Last month the Guardian explosed a huge cache of documents revealing how the rich and powerful use tax havens to hide their wealth.
Tomorrow David Cameron will host a landmark international anti-corruption summit in London to agree practical steps to expose corruption; punish perpetrators; and drive out the culture of corruption where it exists.