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Tuesday, October 15, 2019

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Africa’s anti corruption agencies ask Trump administration to repatriate stolen assets

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Tony Orilade, a Nigerian journalist, is Head, Media and Publicity of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in Abuja, Nigeria. This is an official statement from him. The headline might have been slightly modified.

Anti-corruption agencies in Africa have urged the Trump administration and heads of government in Europe and elsewhere to speedily repatriate the continent’s recovered stolen assets.

The heads of Africa’s anti-corruption agencies made the request in a communique issued at the end of the 9th Commonwealth Regional Conference of anti-corruption agencies in Africa at the Lake Victoria Serena Golf Resort and Spa in Kampala, Uganda.

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The event took place between May 6 and 10, 2019, and was attended by most of the heads of anti-graft agencies in Africa.

Witth the theme “time to act: prevent corruption for sustainable development“, President of the Republic of Uganda, Yoweri Museveni, declared the conference open on Monday, May 6, 2019.

At the event, the Commonwealth Secretary General, Patricia Scotland, spoke glowingly on remarkableachievements of anti-graft agencies in Africa.

The acting Chairman of the Nigerian Economic and Financial Crimes Commission who is also the immediate Chairman of Association of anti-corruption agencies in Commonwealth Africa, Ibrahim Magu, highlighted major achievements of the commission under his watch.

Experts from different walks of life further gave illuminating experiences and solutions on how to tackle the menace of corruption.

The communique further urged snti-corruption agencies to emulate the EFCC and acquire polygraph technology as part of their investigative and integrity testing process.

The EFCC is the only agency in Commonwealth Africa using the technology for corruption cases in courts.

An investigator with the commission had demonstrated the use of the polygraph just as other agencies made enquiries from the EFCC on how to acquire the technology for positive development in anti-graft war.

The conference also expressed concerns over the heavy losses that Africa suffers as a result of illegal transfers of proceeds of corruption and crime out of Africa.

It added that there was the need to strengthen cooperation and collaboration among the anti-corruption agencies in Commonwealth Africa for purposes of facilitating asset recovery and return.

The conference further acknowledged the benefits of a platform for discussing emerging issues and sharing good practices and country innovations in the fight against corruption.

Delegates made presentations on the theme of the Conference, discussed innovative measures employed by anti-corruption agencies and explored other aspects of the programme of the Conference.

The Conference urged anti-corruption agencies to pursue both preventive and enforcement measures in the fight against corruption within the unique context of each country.

The communique read in part: “CALL upon the Commonwealth Secretary General and the Government of Rwanda to include Anti-Corruption as a side event of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) to be held in Rwanda in 2020;

FURTHER CALL upon Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) to include the issue of Anti-Corruption as part of the communique for its meeting to be held in Rwanda in 2020;

APPEAL to the Heads of Government in Commonwealth Africa to consider ways of providing adequate resources to Anti-Corruption Agencies;

ENCOURAGE Commonwealth African countries to pursue the enactment of legislation on civil asset forfeiture;

CALL upon Anti-Corruption Agencies in Commonwealth Africa to strengthen co-operation and partnership with local, regional and international Civil Society and media;

WELCOME the initiatives of the Commonwealth Secretariat to establish Commonwealth benchmarks package on Anti-Corruption and integrity standards;

ENCOURAGE Anti-Corruption Agencies to convey to their respective governments the importance of having Integrity Officers within government ministries, departments and agencies;

FURTHER ENCOURAGE Anti-Corruption Agencies to consider the Multi-Agency Team approach in the implementation of Anti-Corruption strategies;

URGE the Commonwealth Secretariat through the Commonwealth Africa Anti-Corruption Centre in Botswana to develop a training calendar based on the training needs of the Anti-Corruption Agencies;

CALL upon the Commonwealth Africa Anti-Corruption Agencies to adopt a strategy of engagement with their political elites based on their country context;

FURTHER CALL upon Heads of Government and Commonwealth Africa Anti-Corruption Agencies to engage and empower the citizens to demand transparency, accountability and effective service delivery;

REQUEST Heads of Government in Europe, America and other jurisdictions to work towards speedy and unfettered repatriation of recovered assets to African countries;

EXPRESS appreciation to the President of the Republic of Uganda and the Inspectorate of Government for the hospitality extended to the delegates during their stay in Uganda;

FURTHER EXPRESS profound appreciation to the Commonwealth Secretariat for the continued efforts in supporting the Association of Anti-Corruption Agencies in Commonwealth Africa and co-sponsoring and co-organizing the ninth conference in succession;

AGREE that the next Regional Conference of Heads of Anti-Corruption Agencies in Commonwealth Africa in 2020 will be hosted by Rwanda in partnership with the Commonwealth Secretariat;

ELECT Uganda (Inspector General of Government) as the Chair and Rwanda (Chief Ombudsman) as the Vice-Chair of the Association of Anti-Corruption Agencies in Commonwealth Africa.”

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