EACC Hosts Key Eastern Africa Anti-Corruption Forum

EACC Hosts Key Eastern Africa Anti-Corruption Forum

23:03:2022: The Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission hosted the 14th Annual General Meeting of the Eastern Africa Association of Anti-Corruption Authorities (EAAACA) on Thursday, 17th March, 2022, at Safari Park Hotel in Nairobi. The AGM was a culmination of a series of various regional activities aimed at strengthening cooperation among member states. This included activities for the Asset Recovery Inter-Agency Network (ARIN-EA), a framework for mutual cooperation in the recovery of corruptly acquired assets in the region.

The week-long events, held from 14th-17th March, 2022 brought together Heads of Anti-Corruption Agencies from eight (8) member countries namely Kenya, Rwanda, Burundi, South Sudan, Uganda, Tanzania, Ethiopia and Djibouti. The events provided a crucial platform for reflection on the progress made, challenges encountered and lessons learnt while fighting corruption in the region.

The EAAACA AGM was officially opened by the Chief Justice & President of the Supreme Court of Kenya, Honourable Justice Martha Koome, EGH, together with the EACC Chairperson His Grace Archbishop (Rtd) Dr. Eliud Wabukala, EBS, and Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Twalib Mbarak, CBS.

In her opening remarks, the Chief Justice reiterated the commitment of the Kenya’s Judiciary in combating corruption noting that judicial corruption allows impunity to reign and undermines the rule of law.  “Corruption is a major player in frustrating access to justice. It allows justice for a few at the expense of justice for all. This, in my books, is untenable,” she remarked. CJ Koome further called for strengthening of institutions noting that corruption and institutional weaknesses are linked together.

Chief Justice and President of the Supreme Court of Kenya, Honourable Justice Martha Koome, making her remarks during the official opening of the 14th EAAACA Annual General Meeting at Safari Park Hotel, Nairobi.

Speaking at the AGM, EACC Chairperson, His Grace Archbishop (Rtd) Dr. Eliud Wabukala, EBS noted that left unchecked, corruption posed grave risks to democratic values and aspirations of the citizens. “It is our responsibility to strengthen regional cooperation for a unified and integrated fight against corruption,” the Chairperson said. His Grace urged leaders to lead by example and provide appropriate guidance to the youth in order to build a society that upholds integrity and the rule of law.

EACC Chairperson, His Grace Archbishop (Rtd) Dr. Eliud Wabukala addressing the EAAACA Annual General Meeting at Safari Park Hotel, in Nairobi.

In his speech, EACC CEO, Mr. Twalib Mbarak, CBS, highlighted the challenges emanating from the COVID-19 pandemic noting that they provided useful lessons and opportunities for Anti-Corruption Agencies. Mr. Mbarak singled out the critical role of technology in enhancing anti-corruption operations which he observed has since been intensified in areas such as e-filing of court cases, case management and information sharing. He emphasized the need for EAAACA member states to learn from the experiences of each other and strengthen their respective institutional strategies in line with the emerging corruption trends and patterns.

Separately, the CEO called upon citizens to proactively participate in governance processes, including the fight against corruption. Citing the example of Kenya, the CEO said, “This year, Kenyans will have an opportunity to elect new leadership in the upcoming General Elections. Citizens should be vigilant and elect only persons of integrity to manage public affairs. Indeed, the best integrity vetting for elective offices can be done by citizens through the ballot by rejecting aspirants with integrity issues.” Mr. Mbarak also clarified the role of EACC in the electoral process. “EACC does not clear or bar persons seeking to contest in elections. That mandate is vested in the IEBC. On its part, EACC will continue to provide IEBC and the public with information on the aspirants with outstanding integrity issues.”

EACC CEO Mr. Twalib Mbarak, CBS addressing attendees during the EAAACA Annual General Meeting at Safari Park Hotel, in Nairobi.

The CEO assured Kenyans of the EACC’s commitment to discharging its mandate professionally, while jealously guarding its independence as guaranteed in the law. “EACC is neutral in the performance of its duties. Our investigations are very objective and only guided by law and evidence. Kenyans should, therefore, desist from politicizing the fight against corruption,” he said.

On his part, EAAACA’s President, Hon. Ngor Kolong Ngor observed that the Eastern Africa region was still experiencing high levels of corruption despite the efforts made so far at both regional and national levels. “Corruption continues to be a big challenge within the Eastern Africa Region. Thieves seem to be getting wiser and bolder. We must be very vigilant and strive to make corruption unattractive. Custodial sentences are not enough. We must collaborate to take away the benefit the corrupt seek by denying them the illicit fruit of their actions,” Hon. Ngor said.

Hon. Ngor Kolong Ngor, Chairperson of the South-Sudan Anti-Corruption Commission and outgoing EAAACA President addressing the 14th EAAACA AGM at Safari Park Nairobi.

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