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Graft costing Africa dearly

19th June 2012
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AU-ABC chairman Dr Edward Hoseah

The African Union Advisory Board on Anti-corruption (AU-ABC) has expressed dismay over the continuing “rampant corruption” in the continent, blaming some leaders for abusing their offices and condoning the practice.

AU-ABC chairman Dr Edward Hoseah made the remarks here yesterday when addressing the Board’s members who are in Arusha to prepare the annual report to be presented at the AU summit scheduled to take place in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia next month.

Dr Hoseah said Africa has been losing billions of dollars through corruption annually, revealing: “On yearly basis Africa loses more than USD148 billion due to the practice, and perpetuators of corruption are taking the money from the continent to banks based in the developed world.”

Citing the African Development Bank (AfDB) recent report, Dr Hosea said: “It is estimated that 50 per cent of tax revenue and USD30 billion in aid for Africa ended up in corruption. Today, the scenario has not changed as some African leaders have become “thieves in government houses, while petty corruption continues to ravage the continent.”

The high-ranking official of the Africa’s anti-corruption watchdog explained that there were mechanisms, which are in place to track the money from the banks in Switzerland and other countries and some of it be brought to Africa, the continent whose millions of its people are languishing in poverty.

“Despite the efforts taken by African governments and international organisations to scale down the magnitude of the problem, corruption remains a challenge that thwarts socio-economic development in the region,” he said, adding: “It is time for the continent’s strategic collaboration with all relevant stakeholders in addressing corruption, which has reached an unbearable proportion in many African countries.”

He noted that working in isolation will not eliminate the practice, stressing: “We need to work as one team” to end the menace in the continent, which is endowed with a wide-range of natural resources.”

Earlier, the UN Resident Coordinator, Alberic Kacou commended the AU efforts in fighting corruption through its various instruments and bodies including the African Court for Human Rights and the AU Convention for Preventing and Combating Corruption and related offences.

He stated that the fight against corruption is crucial to eradicating poverty, protecting Africa’s natural resources and ensuring sustainable development on the continent.

Kacou however said that despite all the efforts to arrest the situation, corruption remains a major obstacle to sustained economic growth, social progress and political development in Africa.

“The impact of corruption on the investment climate, poverty reduction, public service delivery and social and economic development is profound…corruption is a costly vice. And corruption affects poor more.

“If Africa is to wrestle the evil of corruption and succeed, we must address the problem in a holistic and comprehensive way, and not to lose sight of the big interests, big money and vested social forces profiteering from it,” he said.

The meeting which brought on board different expertise on anti-corruption and development partners is aimed at enriching members of the board in understanding contemporary dynamics of corrupt practices in Africa and chart ways of tackling the vice. 

SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN
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