The Nation (Nigeria)

Sagay, Owasanoye, Bawa: Africa must unite against graft

- By Joseph Jibueze

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

chairman said.

The event also featured presentati­ons by representa­tives of the Senate, UNODC, NEPAD, ECOWAS, among others.

 ??  ?? •Prof Sagay
•Prof Sagay

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