Country Governance

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Skip Navigation LinksPOGAR > Countries > Country Theme: Anti-Corruption: United Arab Emirates
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UN Conventions and Other Agreements

United Nations Convention against Corruption: signed 10 August 2005, ratified 22 February 2006.

United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime: signed 9 December 2002, not ratified.

The United Arab Emirates is a founding member of the Middle East and North Africa Financial Action Task Force, established on 30 November 2004 as a voluntary regional association to combat money laundering and terrorist financing.

The United Arab Emirates has no contact with Transparency International.

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Government Institutions and Initiatives

Corruption cases are investigated by the Anti-Corruption Unit, which is located in the UAE’s Defense Ministry. In 2001, the arrest of the UAE’s customs chief by the Anti-Corruption Unit sparked debate over the state of corruption in UAE. The State Audit Institution complained of widespread corruption, while the Justice Ministry claimed it to be the exception. A commission was formed to study the legal safeguards against corruption, and to analyze proposed anti-corruption legislation advanced by the Royal Police.

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Civil Society Initiatives

There are currently no anti-corruption organizations within the country.

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Public Procurement

The Public Tenders Law 16 of 1975 regulates all public sector tenders except those concerning federal defense or the individual emirates. The requirement that only UAE entities or nationals may bid may be waived when bids are directly solicited from manufacturers or, on a case-by-case basis, when the goods or services are not widely available.

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Anti Money Laundering

A new anti money-laundering law in May 2002 gave the Central Bank the power to freeze any suspected accounts for seven days without prior legal permission. The banks were required to provide all details of their clients and internal and external transactions on request and to report on any suspected deal. The Central Bank has already frozen or blacklisted nearly 30 bank accounts on these grounds and uncovered several money-laundering operations inside the UAE. Laws were passed in 2004 against financing terrorism and for addressing money laundering issues in the UAE’s financial free zones.

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Corruption Perception Index

The United Arab Emirates scored 6.5 on Transparency International's Corruption Perception Index 2009. The scale runs from 0 (high corruption) to 10 (no corruption). It is in the 30th position among 180 countries, placing in 2nd place among Arab Countries right behind Qatar. The United Arab Emirates had scored 5.9 in 2008 and was ranked 35th among the 180 countries in the world and 2nd among the 18 Arab countries right behind Qatar. In 2007, it scored 5.7 The United Arab Emirates was in 34th place, behind Qatar, in a field of 180 countries. In 2006 the UAE scored 6.2 and was in 31st place, ahead of all the other Arab countries, among 163 countries.

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