By Ruth Oketunde
Stakeholders have called for collaborative efforts and information sharing among anti-corruption agencies in Africa, in order to tackle illicit financial flows in the continent.
The call was made on Monday during a virtual meeting, organised by the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption Nigeria (PACAC) to commemorate the fifth African Anti-Corruption Day.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the theme for this year’s event is “Regional Economic Communities: Critical Actors in the implementation of the African Union Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption.”
NAN also reports that the event is expected to provide a platform to highlight the importance of synergies and stronger collaboration between the African Union, the Regional Economic Communities and States Parties including civil society organisations among others.
Prof. Itse Sagay, Chairman, PACAC in his address said that corruption was a cross border crime which must be fought in collaboration with other countries in Africa.
Sagay, who was represented by Prof. Sadiq Radda, Secretary, PACAC, added that it was necessary for African countries to be accountable to their citizens by ensuring that they combat the menace by working with relevant economic and political unions in the region.
He re-emphasised the need for countries to take action on preventing illicit financial flows, recovery of looted assets among others.
Also contributing, Mr Modibbo Tukur, Director, Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU), said that anti-corruption agencies must improve on their preventive measures in the fight against the menace.
Tukur added that information management by the agencies must be strengthened, to avoid leakages of cases before getting to court.
He also urged the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to work on the area of recovered asset management for the benefit of the country.
Prof. Mohammed Isah, Chairman, Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) said that the bureau on its part had shifted the fight against corruption to the grassroots.
Isah, who was represented by Mrs Fatima Kere-Ahmed, added that the bureau had also put in place mechanisms of tracing assets of politically exposed persons to their local government areas.
According to him, this development will trigger whistle blowing among people at the grassroots by ensuring that corrupt activities are timely corrected.
Contributing, Mr Oliver Stolpe, Country Representative, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), added that the role of regional collaboration in the fight against corruption cannot be over-stated.
He added that African countries must focus on public sector recruitment, by ensuring that vote buying was curbed to prevent the undermining of democracy in the region.
Similarly, Prof. Bolaji Owasanoye, Chairman, Independent Corrupt Practices and other related Offences Commission (ICPC), added that the commission would continue to intensify efforts at blocking corruption and international financial flows.
He, however, noted that collaboration among sister agencies must be strengthened by being more alert and by providing “burglar proof” against corrupt individuals.
The event had in attendance Chairman, Senate Committee on Anti-corruption, representative of the Vice-President, African Union Advisory Board on Corruption, civil society organisations among others. (NAN)