Seychelles (Commonwealth Union)_ The 13th Regional Conference of the Heads of Anti-Corruption Agencies in Commonwealth Africa concluded at the Savoy Seychelles Resort & Spa in Beau Vallon. The member countries demonstrated their commitment to unite Commonwealth Africa in the battle against corruption, enhance youth education, and create public awareness regarding the detrimental impact and costs of corruption. These resolutions were among the outcomes of the four-day conference.
Dr. Roger Koranteng, the head of Public Sector Governance at the Commonwealth Secretariat in the United Kingdom, presented the resolutions. He highlighted that the Anti-Corruption Agencies in Commonwealth Africa recognize corruption as a significant challenge in the region, necessitating stronger cooperation and collaboration at continental and international levels among these agencies.
The members also pledged to improve the quality of ongoing Mutual Legal Assistance (MLA) requests by issuing guidelines, providing training, and designating quality assurance gatekeepers for outgoing MLA requests. They expressed their commitment to leverage the power of technology to improve capacity-building and facilitate dynamic and continuous exchanges between Anti-Corruption agencies and major stakeholders. Furthermore, they urged the secretary general of the Commonwealth and member nations to promote anti-corruption initiatives, pursue stronger sanctions, improve asset recovery, fight illicit financial flows, reduce administrative red tape, and address funding challenges.
As the conference reached its conclusion, Nirere Madeleine, the outgoing chairperson of the Association of Anti-Corruption Agencies in Commonwealth Africa and Ombudsman of Rwanda, surrendered the chairmanship to May De Silva from Seychelles’ Anti-Corruption Commission. On assuming the position, Mrs. De Silva stated that during the conference, Seychelles was able to highlight its unique challenges, including its isolation from the main continent and Commonwealth Africa, which mirrors the country’s fight against corruption.
De Silva emphasized the commonality of issues faced, such as funding constraints and a shortage of specialists in financial forensics. As the new chair of the Association, Seychelles aims to facilitate further training for all members and promote the exchange of information and expertise among countries. She said, “It is a challenge since all countries have their own challenges, and the support we get from our government is different but we are here to support each other”.
The conference, held by the Commonwealth Secretariat in collaboration with the Seychelles Anti-Corruption Commission, revolved around the theme of “Uniting Commonwealth Africa in the Fight Against Corruption.” Further, delegates from various countries, including Botswana, Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Mauritius, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Uganda, the United Republic of Tanzania, Togo, Gabon, and Zambia, actively participated in the event.