9 November 2012

Namibia: Lawyers Learn to Spot Corruption At a Mile

Presenters from the International Bar Association assisted local experts last week to host the first of a series of anti-corruption workshops in Windhoek. These specialist training sessions were presented in collaboration with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

The International Bar Association is voluntary association for lawyers, through their local law societies, that addresses legal issues pertinent to civil society and the law.

The Windhoek workshop is part of the global organisations' joint Anti-Corruption Strategy for the Legal Profession, a project focusing on the role lawyers play in international corruption and on how international instruments and extraterritorial legislation applies to legal practice. The Strategy workshop was arranged in partnership with the Law Society of Namibia (LSN) and is part of a two-day programme in Southern Africa. The workshops in the series took place in Johannesburg and Durban.

Nicola Bonucci, Co-Chair of the IBA Anti-Corruption Committee said, 'Africa, and in particular the Southern African region, is a growing economic reality which attracts increased levels of foreign direct investment. Lawyers working in an international environment have therefore to understand the realities of the fight against transnational bribery. The IBA, OECD and UNODC Anti-Corruption Strategy is a uniquely tailored programme for lawyers and a wonderful tool for raising awareness.'

The workshops target lawyers who regularly work across borders, especially in trade-related issues. The Windhoek workshop was attended mostly by younger lawyers who have their eyes on regional opportunities as regional trade grows.

The workshop covered a range of topics relevant to international corruption. It started by introducing the international anti-corruption framework. Then it moved to the risks and threats of corruption to legal professionals, outlining the complexities of international transactions and the severity of the sanctions incurred for involvement in corruption. Moving to practical matters, it detailed the growing expectations multinational clients require of their external legal counsel. Finally, the workshop specified the rigorous anti-corruption compliance standards; and taught the young lawyers how to comply.

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