We must strengthen partnerships to tackle the menace of corruption effectively

We must strengthen partnerships to tackle the menace of corruption effectively

23:05:2024: The Regional Conference of the Eastern Africa Anti-Corruption Platform for fast-tracking United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC) implementation, ending today at Safari Park Hotel in Nairobi, comes against the backdrop of growing concern over the adverse effects of corruption on the achievement of Kenya’s ambitious journey towards a middle class economy, Chief of Staff and Head of Public Service, Mr. Felix Koskei has said.

Mr. Koskei also said when he addressed the Conference yesterday as Chief Guest that the fight against corruption and entrenchment of good governance is a strategic imperative in the realization of Kenya’s development plan.

The Head of Public Service said that the Government is committed to revamp the economy, foster job creation, lower the cost of living, improve foreign exchange, control and promote inclusive growth, achievement of which requires prudent, objective and focused use of public resources, preservation of natural resources and a sustained move towards improving livelihoods and the country’s competitiveness.

Corruption, he said, undermines democracy, distorts markets, erodes quality of life, fosters crime and terrorism, skews distribution of resources, reinforces the exclusion and discrimination of the most vulnerable, results in tax evasion, denies government the much needed revenue to provide services. It, he added, manifests in numerous ways such as theft, embezzlement, poor decision making and even inaction and that there is no country in the world that does not exhibit corruption in one or many forms.

“This is the reason State parties in 2004 adopted the convention that is under discussion in this conference. Tackling this menace would be achieved by working together,” he said.

The conference is held in the backdrop of the commemoration of the 20th anniversary of UNCAC. Speaking at the conference, Deputy Executive Director of the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) and the host of the event, Mr. Abdi Mohamud took cognizance of the fact that majority of the member states have ratified the Convention, and completed the second review cycle. This, he said, demonstrates commitment in the fight against corruption.

The conference was attended by representatives of members states including Burundi, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, The Democratic Republic of the Congo and Somalia. It emphasized on four thematic areas; Asset recovery and financial investigations; whistle-blowing protection and the protection of other reporting persons; Public procurement and integrity systems; and Private sector collective action against corruption.

In implementing the UNCAC, Mr. Abdi said, EACC is guided by its Strategic Plan 2023 – 2028 focusing on asset-tracing/recovery, investigations, prevention and partnerships. Kenya, he said, has made progress in building resilient, strong and functioning institutions such as the EACC, Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, Office of the Auditor General, Judiciary, among others to promote accountability and strengthen the rule of law.

Kenya, he said, is honoured to have been, during the 15th Annual General Meeting of the Eastern Africa Association of Anti-Corruption Authorities (EAAACA), which took place in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia from 2nd to 3rd May, 2024, appointed to the position of the Vice-President of the EAAACA Executive Committee for two years.

He also appreciated the African Association of Anti-Corruption Authorities (AAACA) for entrusting Kenya to host the Centre for Anti-Corruption Studies and Research. The Centre, he said, will play an important role in facilitating the development and harmonization of strategies for the prevention, detection, investigation, research and control of corruption in Africa. Kenya has also been tasked to partner with the African Union Advisory Board against Corruption (AUABC) in commemorating the African Anti-Corruption Day (AACD) on 11th July 2024 and the Deputy CEO took advantage to invite the representative of State parties at the conference to return for event.

The main objective of the Regional Conference was to take stock of successes and challenges faced by the Eastern Africa Platform countries and identify new priorities and initiatives for the next phase.

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