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14 Nov, 2015

Upcoming Asian Infrastructure Bank will include an ethics integrity department

London (chinadaily.com.cn), Nov 10, 2015 – The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank will set up an ethics integrity department and encourage employees to report to stamp out corruption, said Jin Liqun, president-designate of the institution.

The bank will launch its first projects in the second quarter of next year, Jin said, adding that projects will focus on electricity, transportation and water supply, as these are in high demand.


Jin Liqun, president-designate of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, being  interviewed on the sidelines of a conference organized by the Boao Forum for Asia in London on Monday.[Photo by Zhang Chunyan/chinadaily.com.cn]

Jin vowed to take a “zero tolerance” approach toward corruption in the AIIB at a conference organized by the Boao Forum for Asia in London on Monday.

“In the future we will set up an ethics integrity department to inspect corruption,” Jin told China Daily, adding that the leader of the department must have a good reputation.

“In order to avoid any conflict of interests, we cannot have a Chinese to be the leader of the integrity department when the bank president is a Chinese. It does not mean that Chinese officials are not good enough to be at this position, but we need to avoid skepticism.”

Jin said that the president cannot lay off the leader of the integrity department without providing the board with concrete evidence. This is to avoid the president having absolute power, or else the leader of the integrity department will not to report any improper behavior of the president.

Also, employees will be encouraged to report corrupt behavior in the bank, Jin said, adding that once such an infringement was confirmed, the person responsible for it would be disciplined.

The AIIB was proposed by China two years ago and is due to launch by the end of the year.

As a former Chinese vice-finance minister and veteran of development banks such as the Asian Development Bank and the World Bank, Jin was named the inaugural president in August.

The AIIB will be built into a new type of development bank with first-class standards, Jin noted. However, he said that “the best international standard” do not equal Western standards.

“We are working on establishing this bank and our standards, which must be formed with experiences of both developed and developing countries, especially China.”

The AIIB will learn from the good experiences of the existing multilateral development institutions, and avoid their shortcomings, Jin said.

The bank will have universal recruitment and universal procurement, said Jin.

“AIIB can invest in any country,” Jin said, giving the example of funding for irrigation projects in Australia that could improve Asia’s food security. Even lending to countries such as Egypt, the first African state to join the bank, “shouldn’t be any problem”, he said.

Taiwan’s entry into AIIB was “a domestic affair”, Jin said, adding that “family members” can discuss it, and it doesn’t require intervention from others.

Now the bank has 57 prospective founding members. Jin said that 10 minutes before the midnight deadline on Mar 31, applications to join the bank were still coming in. More than 30 countries that missed the deadline are on the waiting list to join.

Some member countries which Jin referred to as “sleeping beauties,” have yet to ratify the AIIB agreement, with this likely to take until the end of next year.

“But this won’t affact AIIB’s target to become operational by the end of the year,” Jin said, adding that “we respect every country’s situation.”