Cyprus’ parliament marked International Anti-Corruption Day 2023 on Saturday, issuing a statement highlighting how corruption undermines trust towards institutions, and fosters conditions where transparency is absent.

The statement was published by the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) parliamentary assembly’s special representative on fighting corruption vice-president Irene Charalambides, who is also an Akel MP.

“Corruption poses a serious threat to democracy, to growth and to security. It undermines democratic institutions and the rule of law, it erodes citizens’ trust in institutions, their prosperity as well as equality,” it said.

Charalambides stressed corruption is facilitated by the lack of transparency, accountability and integrity in public institutions.

“Therefore, to prevent and combat corruption, we must take a multi-pronged approach that includes strengthening transparency and accountability mechanisms, ensure the existence of sufficient checks and balances, adopt whistleblower protection legislation, freedom of information laws, and expand open data initiatives. We must also protect and empower investigative journalism and civil society.”

She stressed that part of this effort includes synergies with international organisations active in this field, which are “valuable and necessary.”

Charalambides noted that “as members of parliament, we need to exercise to the fullest our scrutiny powers, so as to strengthen accountability of other institutions. At the same time, we are obliged to see to our own accountability and the accountability of our political parties.”

She underlined the OSCE parliamentary assembly must make sure that corruption stays on top of everyone’s agenda.

“Our efforts to strengthen co-operation and synergies with international bodies working to prevent and combat corruption, and also to adopt a binding Code of Conduct for all Members of the OSCE PA, must be stepped-up.

“This International Anti-Corruption Day let’s reaffirm our commitment to prevent and combat corruption at all levels.”