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General News of Monday, 11 March 2013

Source: GNA

More than $148bn is lost to corruption in Africa - AU Report

Patricia Alsup, Deputy Chief of Mission at the United States (US) Embassy said according to the African Union, more than 148 billion dollars is lost to corruption in Africa every year.

Mrs Alsup said the figure is equivalent to 25 per cent of Africa’s Gross Domestic Product.

She added that a World Bank study revealed that corrupt public officials in developing and transition countries receive between 20 and 40 billion dollars in bribes annually, which is equivalent to 20 to 40 per cent of official development assistance.

Mrs Alsup said this on Monday at a five-day opening ceremony of the West Africa Regional Anti-Corruption Workshop in Accra hosted by the United State government.

The workshop brought together key international enforcement agents from across West Africa to discuss the impact of local and international anti-corruptions and bribery legislation and its enforcement in West Africa.

The participating countries include Ghana, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Liberia and Tanzania.

She said the workshop is part of the US efforts to assist in building credible institutions in West Africa as part of the West Africa Cooperative Security Initiative, a new initiative to address the growing threat of transnational organised crime and drug trafficking in West Africa.

Mrs Alsup said corruption is a global problem and a serious threat to prosperity, security and development and impedes economic growth, trade and investment, perpetuates poverty and compromises markets and supply chains.

She said the countries will be treated with topics such as investigating corruption and conducting financial investigations, prosecuting corruption and bribery, utilizing international tools and networks and ways of using international standards on corruption, to strengthen domestic efforts.

Mrs Alsup said Ghana with the establishment of the Economic and Organized Crime Office and other anti-corruption entities had continue to investigate and prosecute crimes such as money laundering, human trafficking and cybercrime.

She said in Tanzania in July 2012, Mr Emmanuel Nchimbi, Minister of Home Affairs reported to Parliament that his Ministry investigated 625 allegations of bribery against police officials during the year.

Mrs Alsup said, the 2012 Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) secured more than 20 convictions resulting from the 273 corruption cases it investigated which represented an improvement over the number of convictions secured by the ACC in 2011.

She said Nigeria had passed a landmark law providing citizens with access to information and provides them with critical tool in fighting corruption while the Liberia government had been able to dismiss a number of officials for corruption.