Thursday, September 13, 2012

Phl assures Asian neighbors on fight vs graft

The Philippines, through the Office of the Ombudsman, assured Southeast Asian nations and other countries of its commitment to work with foreign counterparts in fighting graft and corruption in government.

Deputy Special Prosecutor Jesus Micael, representing Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales, joined a three-day international workshop on international cooperation and mutual legal assistance in Yogyakarta, Indonesia.

The workshop provides insights on the practices and policies of varying jurisdictions regarding international cooperation as well as a venue by which enforcement authorities may strengthen linkages for effective and speedy investigation of criminal offenses, especially graft and corruption, and the recovery of illicit wealth, according to Micael.

He said that as a rule, the Philippines does not decline requests for mutual legal assistance, “be they treaty or non-treaty based, on the ground of absence of dual criminality.”

Micael, who works for the Office of the Special Prosecutor, the prosecutorial arm of the Office of the Ombudsman, said one example of a successful team up resulted in the remittance to the United Kingdom of $730,000 in laundered funds in relation to a fraud case in 2003.

“This case involved two legal persons, particularly corporations, which were established to launder funds that were fraudulently obtained from a London-based company,” he explained.

Micael bragged of how the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) was able to remit in 2004 $110,000 to the United States representing funds laundered in the Philippines in relation to a murder and insurance fraud case.

In order to further strengthen international cooperation in fighting crime, he said the Philippines hopes to forge more treaties on mutual legal assistance as well as extradition.-The Philippine Star (September 13, 2012 12:00AM)

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