The Nation (Nigeria)
Sagay, Owasanoye, Bawa: Africa must unite against graft
AFRICA must unite to tackle corruption if the continent is to prosper, anti-graft law experts and other stakeholders said yesterday.
Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption (PACAC) Chairman Prof Itse Sagay (SAN), Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) Chairman Prof Bolaji Owasanoye (SAN) and Economic and Finance Crimes Commission (EFCC) Chairman Abdulrasheed Bawa said African countries must also block loopholes that facilitate corruption.
They spoke at a virtual session to mark the Fifth African Union Day of Anti-corruption, with the theme: Regional Economic Communities: Critical actors in the implementation of the African Union Convention on Preventing and Combatting Corruption.
It was hosted by PACAC in collaboration with the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB), ICPC, EFCC and the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU).
Sagay, represented by PACAC Executive Secretary, Prof Sadiq Isah Radda, said corruption has wreaked havoc on Africa, noting that “if actions are not taken, it will continue to cause problems”.
He said social problems and upheavals are partly caused by corruption, emphasising that for the continent to experience peace and social equilibrium, graft must be addressed.
“Africa is bleeding through illicit financial flows (IFF) due to corruption by the elite. Africa must come together and speak with one voice to ensure that asset tracing, confiscation and return are done.
“African countries are stolen blind and the looters take their loots abroad. The continent should speak with one voice at the UN so that all safe havens will be blocked,” he said.
The PACAC chairman said African countries must also do more to tackle corruption internally.
“First things first. Leaders must be accountable, transparent and ensure good governance.
"Without fighting corruption, we will not have a stable Africa, and instability in Africa can have an impact on the rest of the world,” he said.
Owasanoye said there was the need for Africa to build safeguards against IFF, through which the continent loses so much.
“We’ll continue to intensify our enforcement to block IFF. There should be no illusions of IFFS going down with the African Continental Free Trade Area (AFCFTA) and we must be alert.
“This is the time, knowing that Nigeria is the biggest market, to put our house in order,” he said, adding that Africa must collaborate through information sharing.
Bawa, represented by Director of Intelligence Ahmad Sa'ad Abubakar, reiterated that collaboration is essential in fighting corruption.
“Cooperation between nations is key because no nation is immune to the effects of corruption.
"Corruption is a real threat to a prosperous Africa, which continues to suffer from the decline in the standard of living.
“Development will be a mirage if corruption is not decisively dealt with,” the EFCC
The event also featured presentations by representatives of the Senate, UNODC, NEPAD, ECOWAS, among others.