Heads of anti-corruption agencies meet in Swakopmund

01 Jun 2016 08:50am
SWAKOPMUND, 01 JUN (NAMPA) - President Hage Geingob on Tuesday officially opened the sixth annual general meeting (AGM) and conference for heads of anti-corruption agencies in Africa.
This is the first time Namibia is hosting the AGM, which was held in Tanzania last year.
The four-day event in Swakopmund is being attended by heads of anti-corruption agencies in African Commonwealth countries such as Botswana, Cameroon, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho and Malawi.
Geingob said fighting and exposing corruption sometimes involves personal sacrifice.
“Corruption and poverty are not welcome in Namibia or Africa. If you are committed to fighting corruption you must sacrifice to lose your business or even your life - that is what it takes to not be afraid to blow the whistle.”
He urged Namibians to join hands and expose corrupt people, adding that there is a serious need for international cooperation in combating corruption.
“People steal money from Africa for instance and store it in foreign banks overseas. Without international cooperation, such money achieved through corruption cannot be recovered.”
As for Namibia, Geingob said transparency and accountability are key in combating corruption. He noted that he and First Lady Monica Geingos declared their assets to demonstrate transparency and encourage the practice among parliamentarians.
He said Cabinet ministers will soon start to declare their assets but should be ready for media scrutiny.
Geingob said Africa has good policies on how to avoid corruption, but most of it is not implemented because there is no political will.
“In Namibia, we will pass the law to protect whistle blowers so that they are not victimised, thus encouraging more people to expose corruption. We are also thinking of computerising the procurement system, as a human can be easily manipulated and bribed but a computer system might not be that easy.”
Also speaking at the event, Director General of the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) of Namibia Paulus Noa said regional cooperation in combating corruption is crucial.
“Lonely actions cannot yield the desirable results, but increased regional and international cooperation will help us combat corruption.”
Advisor of Governance and Anti-corruption in the Commonwealth Secretariat, Roger Koranteng said it is sad to think that Africans are poor when the continent has natural resources such as diamonds, uranium, wildlife and fish.
He said poverty in Africa is caused by ignorance and greed among those in positions of power as they divert resources to their pockets when the resources were intended for development and poverty reduction.
“Kickbacks and bribes should be avoided. We have poor quality buildings and roads in Africa simply because someone was given a bribe to select the unqualified contractor, or the money was misused, these are things we need to fight.”
The meeting underway is a platform for Africans to deliberate on best ways, share experiences, successes and challenges, and develop strategies to combat corruption in the continent.
Fifty delegates from 18 countries are attending the meeting.