13th Regional Conference of the Heads of Anti-Corruption Agencies in Commonwealth in Africa ends |20 May 2023
Delegates pledge to unite Commonwealth Africa in the fight against corruption
The 13th Regional Conference of the Heads of Anti-Corruption Agencies in Commonwealth in Africa, ended yesterday afternoon with the members pledging their commitment to unite Commonwealth Africa in the fight against corruption and increase youth education and public awareness of the impact, harm and cost of corruption.
These were among a series of resolutions adopted by the member countries at the end of the four-day conference at the Savoy Seychelles Resort & Spa at Beau Vallon.
The resolutions were presented by the head of the Public Sector Governance at the Commonwealth Secretariat in the United Kingdom, Dr Roger Koranteng, who cited that the Anti-Corruption Agencies in Commonwealth Africa identified that corruption continues to be a significant challenge in the regions requiring a need to strengthen continental and international cooperation and collaboration among those agencies.
They also pledged their commitments towards improving the quality of ongoing Mutual Legal Assistance (MLA) requests through issuing guidelines, training and designation of quality assurance gatekeepers for outgoing MLA requests.
The members also stated they were committed to use the power of technology to enhance capacity-building and build dynamic and continuous exchanges between Anti-Corruption agencies and key stakeholders.
They called on the secretary general of the Commonwealth and member governments to continue to promote anti-corruption measures and seek stronger sanctions as well as improve asset recovery and combat illicit financial flows, reduce administrative red tape, as well as to address funding challenges.
Following the presentation of the resolution, the outgoing chairperson of the Association of Anti-Corruption Agencies in Commonwealth Africa, who is also the Ombudsman of Rwanda, Nirere Madeleine, handed over the chairmanship to May De Silva of Seychelles’ Anti-Corruption Commission.
Speaking to Seychelles NATION, Mrs De Silva said that during the four-day conference, Seychelles has been able to share its challenges, namely its isolation from the main continent and Commonwealth Africa, and that this is similar to when the country is fighting corruption.
“The same problem is felt with funding and it is the same with specialists in financial forensics. We have noticed that we have a lot of common issues,” she said.
Mrs De Silva said as a group they are there to assist each other, share expertise and exchange human resources seeing they have the commonality.
She added that as the new chair of the Association of Commonwealth Africa, Seychelles will push for further training of all the members and push for more exchange of information among countries.
“It is a challenge since all countries have their own challenges, and the support we get from our government are different but we are here to support each other, she stated.
The conference, organised by the Commonwealth secretariat in partnership with the Seychelles Anti-Corruption Commission was held under the theme ‘Uniting Commonwealth Africa in the Fight Against Corruption’ and saw the participation of delegates from Botswana, Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Mauritius, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Uganda, United Republic of Tanzania, Togo, Gabon and Zambia.
Photos by Joena Meme