$100b stolen from Africa yearly, says group, urges leaders to support anti-graft International court

By Samuel Ogunsona

African Heads of State have been urged to stop the theft of over $100b representing some 25 percent of Africa’s Gross Domestic Products, (GDP) stolen every year from the continent by local and international collaborators.

The stolen funds are said to be enough to transform Africa in one year into one of the most beautiful continents where good roads, social security, access to health and education are provided for the teeming population currently ravaged by poverty, famine and hunger.

Participants at an International anti-corruption conference in Abuja last week also called for an International Anti-Corruption Court that will prosecute Africans who steal public funds and countries in Europe and America who receive such illicit funds.

In a statement made available to Irohinoodua they called for an International Court Against Corruption to prosecute corrupt officials and hold countries that receive stolen funds accountable.
The high level conference organised by Africa’s leading anti-corruption group, Human and Environmental Development Agenda, (HEDA Resource Centre) was attended by the former Prime Minister of Senegal who is also a member of Club De Madrid, Her Excellency Aminata Toure. The Club of Madrid is a gathering of some 100 former Presidents and Prime Ministers covering over 70 countries.
Representatives of African Union, Economic Community of West African States, (ECOWAS), Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, Commissioner, Anti-Corruption Commission, Sierra Leon, International Anti-Corruption Treaty Drafting Committee, IACC, Justice Richard Goldstone, Mr Femi Falana, SAN, former Chief Judge of Anambra State, Justice Peter Umeadi apart from many global anti-corruption experts took part in the historic conference.
The request to stop the massive looting of public funds was part of the recommendation made by the participants at the International 33rd Anti-Corruption Situation room summit held in Abuja on Tuesday. It was supported by the MacArthur Foundation.
It its deliberations, the participants said corruption is a global problem and remains is a major impediment to economic growth, human development and prosperity.
‘Corruption is a threat to development, weakens institutions, fuels poverty and endangers stability across Africa. Corruption is fuelling war, misery and extremisn across Africa. The Government and the people need to unite to put an end to the scourge’, the participants said urging the continent to frames discussion of corruption around local realities.
They observed that corruption is growing wings to the extent that fears of corporate capture of the state is real.
‘Obstacles occasioned by privileges that places selected people above law and order should be removed. Stolen funds should be repatriated by host countries not just the capital but also the excess interests that proceeds from years of banking such illicit funds’ they said in the recommendation.
African countries were urged to give living narratives to corruption issues as they affects education, health, security in a way that the ordinary people can easily connect and understand.
They noted ‘There is the need for renewed capacity building for Judges with a new curriculum that addresses corruption while there should be secure tenure of office for drivers of anti-corruption institutions.’

They noted that the UNCTAC should be amended to ensure the setting up of International Court Against Corruption, ICAC which should ensure the prosecution of criminals at home and countries where the proceeds of crime are domiciled should be held accountable.

For effective service delivery, they called for the need for independent auditing for political aspirants before elections are held.

‘Nigeria should improve her anti-corruption profile in order to reflect here status as the largest economy in Africa. There is the need for constant education and enlightenment. ECOWAS and all regional institutions should be strengthened to be able to fight corruption effectively,’ they noted.

Participants called for the creation of an African Network for the Friends of International Anti Corruption Court, (IACC) to be led by HEDA.
The participants commended HEDA Resource Centre for its commitment to the fight against corruption at great risk of its officials while the MacArthur Foundation and the Integrity Initiative International were deeply appreciated for their support.

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