Corruption thwarts development in Africa, Libya says at UN debate

29 September 2008

Corruption, bribery, money-laundering and the transfer of illegally-derived funds all obstruct progress towards reaching the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), eight anti-poverty targets with a 2015 deadline, especially in Africa, a senior Libyan official told the General Assembly today.

Giadalla A. Ettalhi, chairman of the North African nation’s delegation, highlighted the “huge damages inflicted on developing countries as a result of smuggling funds across borders and the deprivation of those countries from the return of those funds, deposited in the banks of other countries.”

He noted that the Assembly has called for such funds to be returned to their countries of origin.

Addressing the final day of the body’s annual high-level debate, the official spoke out against secret bank accounts which serve as “corridors” for money-laundering and safe havens for stolen funds.

Mr. Ettalhi called for measures to be taken against safe havens protecting money generated by corrupt means.

“Quite often those funds are used by terrorist groups and organized crime bands to threaten the security and stability of states,” he warned.

Regarding terrorism, the official said that tackling the scourge required adopting a specific definition for it.

“Terrorism is not to be confused with the legitimate right of peoples to struggle and resistance of foreign occupation in order to obtain their freedom and independence, as well as their right to self-determination,” he said.

The chairman also cautioned that linking terrorism with any religion, nationality or culture “will inflame conflicts between civilizations, religions and cultures.”

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