The Commonwealth Deputy Secretary General, Mmasekgoa Masire-Mwamba, says for every percentage of Gross Domestic Products (GDP) lost to corrupt practice, the economic and social developments of a nation suffers.
She pointed out that corruption degrades hard fought development gains by undermining good governance, rule of law and economic progress. Speaking at the launch of Commonwealth Africa Anti-Corruption, centre in Gaborone on Monday, she said that corruption is not unique to any jurisdiction or country and added that it has permeated all economies and all types of government and, with globalization, has gone beyond borders.
Masire-Mwamba further said that the adoption, 10 years ago, of the United Nations Convention against corruption was a defining moment in global efforts against corruption.
“With the Commonwealth Africa Anti-Corruption Centre, it a tangible tool forged in Africa to coordinate and strengthen the capacity of our national anti-corruption agencies.”
She noted that corruption has many faces, from the kickbacks received by petty officials to the contracts granted to friends and relatives, from international trade deals which favour the political elite. She added that ultimately, corruption represents a breakdown of trust between a government and its people, who rely on the integrity of those in authority to deliver a fair and just society.
“Commonwealth is committing one million pounds to the centre’s flagship programme to be rolled out over four years, 2013-2016, to give Africa a high profile vehicle for tackling corruption across the continent,” said Masire-Mwamba.
She also pointed out that Botswana is a fitting location for the Commonwealth’s first network of its kind having the 15th year in a row received the accolade of Africa’s least corrupt nation in Transparency International’s 2012 corruption perceptions index. She added that Botswana’s standing placed it in the top 20 percent of all surveyed nations.
The Commonwealth Africa Anti-Corruption Centre, she said, began as a response to heads of anti-corruption agencies who met in 2011 in Botswana who identified the challenges they face at the frontline of anti-corruption.
“There are inadequate skills in vital areas such as investigations, forensics, evidence management, prosecution, adjudication and public awareness and recovery of the proceeds of crime and accountability,” said Masire-Mwamba.
She pointed out that there is also lack of a coherent system of measurement for levels of corruption and its impact on development outcomes and also the absence of strong networks to facilitate anti-corruption related outcomes.