AKIPRESS.COM - The Chairman of the Kazakh Anti-corruption Agency Alik Shpekbayev signed an agreement opening the way for the country to join the Group of States against Corruption (GRECO) in Strasbourg on Oct. 15, The Astana Times reported.
“I welcome the signing by Kazakhstan of the GRECO agreement. This is a very important event that makes Kazakhstan one step closer to becoming a full member of the GRECO. This is one of the most developed anti-corruption organisations in the world. We focus on the integrity of the public sector, and our members agree on a common assessment process and collective pressure to improve their ability to fight corruption. Sharing experiences will improve anti-corruption potential at both levels. This is mutually beneficial for Kazakhstan and the Council of Europe,” GRECO Executive Secretary Gianluca Esposito told 24.kz.
The Group of States against Corruption, the Council of Europe’s anti-corruption monitoring body with its headquarters in Strasbourg, was established in 1999 as an enlarged Partial Agreement by 17 Council of Europe member states. GRECO is also open to non-European states, and out of the 49 current members 48 are European states and the 49th is the United States.
“We expect a speedy ratification of the agreement by Kazakhstan, which is entering this prestigious initiative as the 50th participant,” added Esposito.
Signing the agreement signals Kazakhstan’s commitment to fight corruption, Shpekbayev told Forbes.kz. After the signing and ratification of the initial agreement, signing of additional agreements will follow. The Oct. 15 agreement provides for the immunities and privileges of GRECO officials as they make visits to Kazakhstan, an important first step for the eventual accession to the group.
“We have the opportunity to participate in a number of expanded agreements that allow us to work together with Council member states on issues of particular interest. Cooperation with GRECO demonstrates the commitment of our country, as a full member of the UN Convention against Corruption, to the fundamental principles of the Council of Europe and our country’s intention to improve anti-corruption measures. Joining GRECO paves the way for us to adopt the best European anti-corruption practices,” said Shpekbayev.
A next step anticipated after the signing of the current agreement is Kazakhstan accepting the Criminal Law Convention on Corruption.
“I am proud of the achievements of Kazakhstan and the willingness to effectively cooperate with the GRECO member countries. We will look forward to the next steps, including your country’s accepting of the Criminal Law Convention on Corruption,” said the Council of Europe’s Deputy Secretary General Gabriella Battaini-Dragoni, who co-signed the agreement with Shpekbayev, according to Forbes.kz.
The two main objectives of the GRECO are the improvement of methods of combatting and the exchange of best practices in the prevention and detection of cases of corruption.