Governments across the East African region must devise bold and innovative strategies to re-energize the fight against corruption, said the senior anti-corruption advisor at the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), Tim Steele, during a regional forum held in Nairobi on Monday.
While acknowledging that corruption was detrimental to regional development, peace and stability, Steele emphasized that political goodwill, law enforcement and public awareness are key to rooting out the vice.
“Corruption not only inhibits development but also compromises security and cohesion in any country. Governments in this region must create an enabling environment to enhance the fight against this menace at all levels,” Steele said.
Senior policymakers, law enforcement agencies and experts from the east and Horn of African region attended the workshop on fast-tracking the implementation of the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC).
Majority of countries across the eastern African region are signatories to the UN convention adopted in 2003 to reactivate global efforts to eradicate corruption.
Steele noted that improved cross-border collaboration in vital areas like investigations, prosecutions and public outreach will be critical to minimize graft in the public and private sectors.
“What is required as a matter of urgency is for countries in this region to enhance collaboration in financial investigations and whistle blower protection,” said Steele.
Multilateral institutions have partnered with countries in the East and Horn of Africa to identify and implement novel measures to eradicate corruption.
Steele noted that multilateral lenders have supported governments in the region to unearth and prosecute graft cartels.
“Technical expertise is critical to strengthen investigative capacity and reporting of corruption in the region. The eastern African countries should also have a strong mechanism for asset recovery,” Steele said.
He added that eradication of graft is directly linked to sustainable development in the region. Enditem