Monday, June 2, 2014

Anti-corruption leaders tackle graft in Africa

Leaders of anti-corruption agencies in Africa are meeting in Ghana's capital Accra to discuss strategies to curb graft on the continent. Delegates from 17 Commonwealth African countries would in the next five days examine challenges graft agencies encounter in the fight against corruption and thrash out solutions.

Ghana President John Dramani Mahama on Monday called for the de-politiciasation of corruption in Africa, saying, "the issue should rather be tackled impartially so as to find lasting solutions."
He said the use of corruption to score political points should be discouraged to pave way for objective and impartial conversations on the development of the African continent. Ghana's Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice Commissioner Lauretta Lamptey told the leaders that "central to the success of any anti-corruption institution is the integrity of its members and the independence of the agency." Delegates were urged to come up with a common stand to tackle the menace of corruption that results in the plunder of national resources.

Lamptey said: "corruption is one of the biggest obstacles to development in Africa," adding that public procurement had been a source of dissipation of public resources in Africa. Commonwealth deputy-secretary, Deodat Maharaj, added that corruption adversely affected business expansion and job in many countries. It is estimated that between $390 to 400 billion is lost annually through corruption in public procurement in Africa. Corruption occurs in about 70 percent of public contracts while corrupt practices in public procurement have given rise to the cost of government contracts in sub-Saharan Africa, constituting about 20 to 30 percent.

Lamptey said: "Against this background, it is only proper that we critically examine our strategies and approaches in a search for very effective solutions to the canker of corruption".She added: "anti-corruption agencies are still challenged to show results and demonstrate that they can significantly reduce or root out persistent corruption." In the face of sophisticated corrupt deals, Lamptey told delegates to re-examine their approaches. She said: "corruption is nebulous, multifaceted and ever-changing," adding that "it is no more like it used to be." African governments were urged to strengthen anti-corruption policies and laws, and to enforce mechanisms that reward or provide incentives for good conduct.

"In order to prevent and deal with these and other forms of corruption effectively, we do require cooperation and reliable forms of networks and sharing information through both formal and informal structures as well as sharing information and developing synergies," Lamptey added.
The five-day conference is the fourth with previous conferences held in Botswana, Zambia, and Mauritius.

Source: The Africa Report

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