Unless Africa makes a formal declaration of, “Never again to Corruption”, all efforts to fight the vice will be in vain, according to the Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Jacob Oulanyah.
“Who are the corrupt, they are our mothers, our sisters, our cousins and us; the fight to rid corruption begins with you. The frontline is where you are,” said Oulanyah.
The Deputy Speaker made the remarks while officiating at the opening of the African Organization of Public Account Committees (AFROPAC) Annual General Meeting and Symposium on 19 November, 2018 at Speke Resort Munyonyo.
He blamed donor dependence by African countries, illicit financial flows and public debt on corruption, adding that this has in turn affected service delivery.
“We are talking about aid because the money that we generate, we steal,” said Oulanyah.
He called for moral and innovative leadership in the fight against corruption.
The Leader of the Opposition in Parliament, Hon. Betty Aol Ocan also noted the need for African countries to reduce on borrowing.
“In Africa, we borrow a lot and this support comes with strings attached. We therefore, end up working for other countries and not ours,” said Aol.
She however, applauded Uganda’s Parliamentary Public Accounts Committees, saying that the committees have been able to expose corruption in the country.
“PAC should continue holding public hearings to provide authentic information and articulate real issues that affect the common person,” said Aol.
The Assistant Auditor General, Uganda, Keto Kayemba encouraged AFROPAC to develop interest in extractive industries, saying that illicit financial flows are prevalent in that sector.
“As oversight agencies, we should ensure that our governments improve governance in the sector and undertake activities that add value, instead of exporting our precious stones in raw form,” said Kayemba.
She also called for sufficient support to audit bodies across Africa saying that this will enable them to operate independently. Kayemba said that with strong support, audit bodies can provide assurance to the citizens by minimizing mismanagement of public resources, both borrowed and internally generated.
“How much facilitation has been given to audit bodies to enable them lay the golden egg? Is there sufficient independence of supreme audit bodies?” wondered Kayemba.
The Chairperson Parliament Public Accounts Committee, Hon. Angelline Osegge, called for unity in the fight against corruption, public debt and the alarming increase of illicit financial flows.
She noted that whereas public accounts committees in Africa have recorded progress in the fight against the cancer, more efforts are needed.
“In August 2016, during the AFROPAC General Meeting, a declaration, the Nairobi Declaration to fight against illicit financial flows with one voice was made in Nairobi and a conference organized in Cameroon in May 2017,” said Osegge.
According to the Country Representative, GIZ, Christian Schurre, Africa loses US$ 150 billion every year to corruption.
He called on public accounts committees to continue holding their governments accountable, if progress is to be made in the fight against corruption.
“It is not an easy task and it requires a lot of commitment and courage from all stakeholders,” said Schurre.
The third AFROPAC Annual General Meeting and Symposium is being held under the theme, “One Voice for Public Accounts Committees and Similar Committees in managing public debt and fighting corruption”.
The conference which runs from 19 to 23 November 2018 is being attended by representatives of public accounts committees from 16 African countries including Cameroon, Liberia, Mali, Kenya, South Africa, Ghana, Zimbabwe and Malwai. Others are Botswana, South Sudan, Namibia, Tanzania, Rwanda, Egypt and Zambia.
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