An official of the World Bank said assets to the tune of around $40 billion are lost to corrupt practices, including bribery and misappropriation of funds, in the developing countries annually.
"We estimate that $20-40 billion every year is stolen from the developing countries. Only just about $5 billion of such funds have been recovered in the past 15 years. The amount recovered is much less than what has been stolen," World Bank official and co-coordinator of StAR (Stolen Asset Recovery Initiative) Adrian Fozzard told PTI from Washington.
StAR is a joint partnership between the World Bank Group and the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) that assists global efforts against safe havens for corrupt funds.
As per the StAR data, the figure of around $20-40 billion is more or less equivalent to 15-30 per cent of official development assistance funds.
Every $100 million of recovered assets could fund "first line-treatment for over 6,00,000 peopled with HIV/AIDS for a full year" or 50-100 million in drugs for malaria treatment, among others, a statement from StaR said.
Currently, StAR works with 22 countries including the Maldives, Indonesia and Haiti.
Fozzard said the initiative focuses on creating awareness at the "political level" on the whole issue of international corruption. "Among our priorities is detection and retention of stolen funds (in safe havens). The international financial system should be strengthened to tackle international corruption," he added.
At present, StAR is not working with India. "We are open to work with any country including India. Working with different countries would help in sharing their expertise, among others," Fozzard pointed out.
Recently, World Bank Group managing director Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala had said billions of dollars were stolen every year from the developing countries, robbing them of economic opportunities.