Barrow talks tough on corruption at AU Summit

Wednesday, July 04, 2018

President Adam Barrow has joined his colleague heads of state over the weekend in Mauritanian capital, Nouackchott, where he made a case for his government’s uncompromising stance on corruption: “My government is addressing the consequences of two decades of poor governance and misuse of state’s meager resources… in moving forward, the guiding principle of my government is the exercise of good governance in all facets of public administration,” he told leaders.

The theme of the 31st Ordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the African Union Summit was: “Winning the Fight Against Corruption: a Sustainable Path to Africa’s Transformation” – a theme President Barrow described as “a bold statement of intent”, given that corruption in both the public and private sectors negatively impact various national and continent’s development agendas.

“Our successes in the fight against corruption will ensure that resources are retained and used to support structural transformations and expansion of our economies,” President Barrow explained. “We can improve in most key human development indicators, such as access to quality health and education for the youth population of the continent, food security and meaningful employment. Corruption has negative effect on African nations and how we can judicious use of our resources,” he added.

Upon his return from the summit, the President told reporters that it was a “well-attended and represented summit”: “One thing is very important: Africa is speaking the same voice on how we deal with corruption. A lot of resources have been wasted in Africa, it is now time that Africa comes together and fight corruption when we mean development for Africa. I think we were serious about this, and we want to build our institutions, make them stronger so that will help us to eliminate corruption,” the president said, noting that even if African countries cannot eliminate corruption 100 percent, it could be minimised in the interest of the continent.

On the closed-door meeting with President Obiang, Barrow said: “We held a closed-door meetings and most of our discussions centered on African integration. The President of Equatorial Guinea is a Senior Statesman. We discussed...and assured them that one day, we the young ones will continue with the mantle of leadership on the continent.’’

 Meanwhile, during his address, he emphasised that Africa needs to reform its legal and regulatory regimes, tax administration and procurement systems in order to combat corruption in the public, economic and business environments. “It is imperative that we intensify our efforts to ensure that corrupt practices are systematically tackled and resources that are siphoned off recovered,” he told the summit.

The president believes that Africa’s partnership with others should be reinforced to fully implement the Continental Strategic Plan on the Fight Against Corruption.  This process requires disbursement of adequate budgetary resources, he maintained.

On the home front, the president informed colleagues that a Commission of Inquiry is ongoing and its revelations have shown the extent to which resources meant for national development were grossly misused and diverted by a small clique of unpatriotic and dishonest Gambians and their foreign partners in crime.

“Concurrently, a National Anti-corruption Bill has been promulgated and an Anti-corruption Commission is being established.In addition, The Gambia has signed the African Union Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption (AUCPCC) and the United Nations Convention against Corruption (AUBC) in order to adopt best standards in the fight against corruption,” he said, noting: “We are determined in our quest for victory against corruption.”


Author: Bekai Njie