The 2012 African Union (AU) report on corruption has revealed that more than $148 billion is lost to corruption in Africa every year.
The amount, which are funds meant for projects such as hospitals and schools in communities, are diverted into private pockets of corrupt public officials while the poor and the needy continue to suffer and the continent as whole fails to make progress.
Ms Lauretta Vivian Lamptey, Commissioner on Human Rights and Administrative Justice, made the disclosure at the opening of the 2rd Conference of the African Association of Anti-Corruption Authorities (AAAC) in Accra.
She called on African countries to employ all the necessary mechanisms to prevent, detect, punish and eradicate corruption and related offences in public and private sectors of the continent.
She said it is also necessary that African governments find ways of promoting, facilitating and regulating as well as co-operating among state parties of the AU to ensure the effectiveness of measures and actions put in place to detect, punish, eradicate and prevent corruption.
Ms Lamptey called on governments to remove the obstacles to the enjoyment of social, economic, cultural, political and civil rights in order to promote socio-economic development in Africa.
“Our countries will become high achievers if the necessary conditions and measures are put in place to foster transparency and accountability in the management of all sectors of our countries,” she said.
Ms Lamptey said though in recent times African governments have established institutions as part of the global strategy to combat corruption in order to hasten socio-economic development on the continent, the problem still persists.
She, therefore, called for a constant review of the strategies that have been adopted in order to re-strategise the way forward, adding that there is the need to collaborate as corruption has become a cross border crime.
Mr Issa Ngendakumana, Minister at the Presidency of Burundi, in charge of Good Governance and Privatisation, also called on African governments to show strong commitment to the fight against corruption.
He said corruption is a canker that is not confined to one country or region but has become globalised hence the need to tackle it holistically.
He said the creation of AAAC is very important and timely because corruption is costly to Africa’s development.
He said without a change of vision and mentality on the part of the people to defeat the menace that gnaw on our societies it would be very difficult to achieve the objectives of the Millennium Development Goals such as access to education, health and information.
Mr Ngendakumana expressed optimism that Africa would continue to have positive indicators of economic growth, adding that the continent has enormous potential for developing agriculture, energy, mining industries, among other sectors.
“Africa as of 21st century has everything to be the most powerful continent,” he added.
He said Burundi which considers the AAAC as its baby would continue to support its development and continue to host the Interim Secretariat of the Steering Committee of the Association.
He, however, called on the member states of the Association to fulfil their obligations in a timely manner in order to have strong organisation with a fully functional and operational secretariat for the benefit of all countries. GNA