ANTI-GRAFT WAR: Samia: Africa not a hideout

AFRICAN isn’t and shouldn’t be a hideout for corrupt people, President Samia Suluhu Hassan has said.

The Head of State was categorical that the continent wasn’t a safe place for purveyors of corruption.

“Anyone thinking of seeking refuge in Africa shouldn’t give it second thought as we will certainly expose and arrest them,” maintained Dr Samia, as she brought down the curtain of the three-day African Anti-Corruption Day, which ran parallel with the celebration of the 20th anniversary of the adoption of the African Union Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption (AUCPCC), here yesterday.

According to the President, African countries are determined to give all that it takes to ensure that it doesn’t turn into a thicket for purveyors of corrupt practices.

Dr Samia urged African anti-graft agencies and institutions to strengthen collaboration in a bid to unearth corrupt practices on the continent and bring to book perpetrators of such crime.

Dr Samia rooted for a coordinated framework for reporting corruption, information gathering, intelligence sharing.

“The effects of corruption in our societies cannot be overemphasised, much as it is a cross border crime,” she said.

Similarly, Dr Samia challenged Africans to do soul-searching in the war against graft.

She emphasised that every African ought to shoulder the responsibility of fighting corruption.

“But we need to ask ourselves what one of us is doing in ending graft, this shouldn’t be left to leaders, politicians and law enforcers alone, even when they are greatly to blame for the vice,” she observed.

The president equally assured the African Union Advisory Board Against Corruption (AUABC) that Tanzania was committed to implement AUCPCC, which among other things seeks to fight rampant political corruption on the African continent.

Tanzania signed the convention on November 5, 2003 and ratified it six years later.

According to the president, corruption could be a thing of the past if African countries fully embrace and implement the Protocol.

To date, 48 member states have ratified and are State Parties to the Convention.

It primarily consists of mandatory provisions which cover a wide range of offences including bribery-domestic or foreign, diversion of property by public officials, trading in influence, illicit enrichment, money laundering and concealment of property.

Dr Samia also challenged anti-corruption czars from the AU member states who are due to meet today, to come up with effective and efficient measures of stamping out graft.

In another development, Dr Samia told the delegates gathered at the Arusha International Conference Centre (AICC) that Tanzania was committed to give AUABC a unique place to call home.

At the moment, the advisory board sits at one of AICC’s floors, here in Arusha.

Earlier on, AUABC Vice-President Pascoal António Joaquim lauded Tanzania for being one of the few countries that always send reports to the autonomous organ established within the African Union (AU).

According to Mr Joaquim, Tanzania was part of the 13 countries which were complying with the board’s requirements.

‘It is high time other African countries follow suit,” he suggested.

He said that the anniversary served as a platform for taking stock and gauging each country’s performance in curbing corruption.

This year’s African Anti-Corruption Day, which was preceded by an anti-graft march convened under the theme “AUCPCC, 20 Years after: Achievements and Prospects”.

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