Put the spokes in the wheels of corruption

Tuesday, August 08, 2017

The Gambian anti–corruption bill is being discussed by stakeholders such as the Ministry of Justice, and the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) at the Kairaba Beach Hotel.

Although The Gambia is said to be ranked 145 among 175 nations around the world considered to be least corrupt (CPI 2016 ratings), there is big room for improvement as corruption, small or big, causes serious setback for a nation and puts that society at the risk of degenerating into misery and backwardness, which leads to stark human suffering and human rights violation.

Corruption is regarded as actions that involve dishonesty, dishonest dealings, unscrupulousness, deceit, deception, duplicity, double-dealing, fraud, fraudulence, misconduct, lawbreaking, crime, criminality, delinquency, wrongdoing and  villainy. Bribery, bribing, insubordination, venality, graft, and extortion all constitute corruption.

While the top 10 ranked nations perceived to be the least corrupt are: Denmark, New Zealand, Finland , Sweden, Switzerland , Norway, Singapore , Netherlands, Canada , Germany , those that happened to be most corrupt countries as ranked on the Corruption Perceptions Index 2016 are: Somalia, South Sudan , North Korea, Syria, Yemen, Sudan, Libya , Afghanistan, Guinea-Bissau , and Venezuela.

We in The Gambia must therefore put all necessary measures in place to continually fight corruption and bribery in all their forms. These measures should constitute the barking dog who keeps the thief away, as well as the denial strategy to the opportunity that makes a thief, or permits corruption.

According to the latest CPI ratings, “West African countries, to which Gambia belongs, have “disproportionately higher levels of corruption than countries in other regions”.

Although The Gambia is deemed to be among the least corrupt nations and is setting up an anti-Corruption Commission, fighting corruption in the country, as the UN resident coordinator rightly states, would see little success, if at all, if other relevant institutional reforms are not put in place.

This is because it has been discovered that countries that fare well in the corruption perception index tend to have higher degrees of press freedom, access to information about public expenditure, stronger standards of integrity for public officials, respect for human rights and independent judicial systems. It is so because these are among the cardinal instruments that monitor, investigate, reveal, prevent and try corrupt practices in society, and in so doing help to curtail corruption, bribery and other forms of malpractices that place in motion a country’s backwardness, human deprivation, poverty and human rights violations. We must therefore use them to put the spokes in the wheels of corruption in our land.

“Corruption is undoubtedly the biggest challenge to development.“
Ade Lekoetje