New Abu Dhabi law to crack down on financial crimes

UAE President's law is to enhance the monitoring of public finances

  
United Arab Emirates President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed al-Nahyan listens to closing remarks during the closing ceremony of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) summit in Kuwait's Bayan Palace December 15, 2009. Image used for illustrative purpose.

United Arab Emirates President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed al-Nahyan listens to closing remarks during the closing ceremony of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) summit in Kuwait's Bayan Palace December 15, 2009. Image used for illustrative purpose.

REUTERS/Stephanie McGehee

UAE - The President, His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, in his capacity as Ruler of Abu Dhabi, has issued a law regulating the Abu Dhabi Accountability Authority.

The new law is to enhance the monitoring of public finances, and to strengthen integrity, transparency, accountability and governance in government and government entities.

The new law succeeds the authority's law of establishment, tangibly strengthening its authorisations in order to accommodate the significant developments in Abu Dhabi's economy, governmental executive practices, organisational governance, and regulations.

The law states that the authority is the higher entity for financial monitoring and accountability, and has the full legal capacity to practise its activities and to achieve its objectives, and is a financially and administratively independent body working directly under His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces.

The law has expanded the authority's roles and responsibilities to guarantee effective financial monitoring and efficient financial operations at companies for whom 25 per cent plus of their capital is owned by the government, compared to 50 per cent previously. The objective is to ensure optimum use of public resources across Abu Dhabi.

Based on the law, the authority's goals include enhancing accountability and accurate administrative practices in government entities to help strengthen Abu Dhabi's reputation, and to cement trust in its financial and economic system. In addition, it aims to encourage disclosure in order to combat corruption and eradicate its causes in order to safeguard public funds and promote auditing operations across Abu Dhabi.

The law defines three key packages to be covered by Abu Dhabi Accountability Authority: to implement financial monitoring for all respective government entities; to ensure they are committing to their obligations, objectives and activities; and to oversee the efficiency and effectiveness of the electronic monitoring systems controlling those entities' finances.

Based on Article 31 of this law, entities to be monitored by Abu Dhabi Accountability Authority include: local departments, municipalities, authorities, corporations, councils, general secretariats, courts, police & security entities, centres, offices, universities, institutes, funds, markets, public incorporated bodies, companies either directly or indirectly fully owned by government entities or government companies, or companies for whom 25 per cent of their capital is owned by the government or by government entities.

As per this law, financial disclosure must be made by senior government officials when assuming a new role and/or leaving their position at the said entities.

The new law also states that informers and witnesses will receive full protection - if required - as per rules and procedures and in coordination with police and security entities in the UAE.

Informants who provide information on financial or administrative corruption shall also not contravene the rules and legislations related to disclosure of confidential information of the entity's operations or finances.

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