THE East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) lawmakers are set to debate and enact the EAC Integrity and Anti-Corruption Bill, 2019, during the ongoing second meeting of the fourth session.
The bill envisages the promotion of good governance, transparency and accountability in the EAC organs and institutions.
The object of the bill is to promote integrity and ethical values within the organs and institutions of the community.
It also targets to strengthen the legal framework for preventing and combating corruption in the community and to provide for co-operation by the national anti-corruption agencies in preventing and combating corruption and related matters.
The bill further iterates corruption and corrupt practices as vices that undermine effective and efficient utilization of the resources available to the Organs and Institutions of the Community and practices that derail the Community from deepening and widening integration.
It is on this score that the bill has been proposed to strengthen the legal framework for preventing and combating fraud and corruption within the organs and institutions of the EAC.
The EAC Integrity and Anti-Corruption Bill, 2019, which sailed through the first reading in February 2019, is in line with Article 6 (d) of the Treaty for the Establishment of the East African Community.
The article states “the fundamental principles that shall govern the achievement of the objectives of the community by the partner states shall include: good governance, including adherence to the principles of democracy, the rule of law, accountability, transparency, social justice, equal opportunities, gender equality, as well as the recognition, promotion and protection of human and people’s rights in accordance with the provisions of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ rights”.
Currently, the frameworks that exist to prevent corruption within the organs and institutions of the community are the EAC staff rules and regulations and the EAC Anti-Corruption Policy 2006.
The mover of the bill, Victor Burikukiye from Burundi, argued that there was a need to have deterrent sanctions that prevent persons in the service of the Community from engaging in the vice.
The proposed bill, among other things, specifies the ethical conduct required of persons in service in the community, defines the specific acts and practices of corruption and makes such triable in appropriate courts in partner states.
The virtual sitting which runs to February 17 will also see the lawmakers debate a report of the Assembly assessing the implementation of the Report of the Committee on Regional Affairs and Conflict Resolution on progress made by the community towards achieving the EAC Confederation constitution and the EAC Election Observer Missions.
The report is pertinent given the integration journey towards attainment of the last pillar of integration, the EAC Political (Con) Federation.
The session comes hardly a week after the regional assembly passed the 226.3bn/- budget.