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AfDB chief closes first commemoration of International Anti-Corruption Day
On 12 December 2011, the president of the African Development Bank, Donald Kaberuka, closed the first commemoration of the International Anti-Corruption organized by the Integrity and Anti-Corruption Department (IACD) calling for the cooperation of all Bank staff in fighting fraud and corruption in Bank-financed projects and for stronger integration of the Bank’s anti-corruption efforts in its operations. He assured IACD of the Bank’s full support in its efforts in combating illicit practices.
Speaking at the Bank’s Temporary Relocation Agency, Mr Kaberuka remarked on the problems that could arise in oil-producing African countries, and advised IACD to focus its investigative resources on sectors most vulnerable to corruption such as infrastructure: “We must make sure every dollar is used for the purpose intended”.
Mr Kaberuka’s remarks came as the IACD closed a two-day event to mark the International Anti-Corruption day, commemorated every year on 9 December.
Earlier in the day, the co-founder and vice-chair of the Board of Directors at Transparency International, Maitre Akere Muna delivered a speech on how development banks can promote transparency and prevent corruption. Commenting on how the Tunisian revolution was started due to the suicide of one young man in the south of the country, he said:: “The story of Mohamed Bouazizi is a perfect example of why corruption, to my mind, is, and will always be, a crime against humanity.”
He deplored a growing acceptance of corruption as a fact of life in many African countries. Although applauding the fact that corruption is steadily moving into the focus of the international community, he asserted that the opacity of the international financial architecture that allows corrupt officials to move ill-gotten gains offshore still evidences a lack of true commitment. On the role of multilateral development banks, Muna lauded their efforts to combat corruption by adopting zero tolerance and whistleblower protection policies. He stressed the importance of training and communication in creating an organisational culture that embraces the type of governance which reaches for “the highest level of integrity applies in every building, in every corridor, in every office”.
Mr Muna’s address was preceded by a discussion on the Bank’s whistle blowing and complaint handling policy, by Mrs Esther Onwuzuruike, principal investigation officer. She ended her presentation by blowing a symbolic whistle, and delegates joined in.
Vice President Boamah opened the second day of the commemoration, who reminded the audience that the costs of corruption to the continent have been estimated as high as USD 150 billion. He said corruption is one of the main obstacles to Africa cutting its dependence on aid.
Executive Director for Algeria, Mr. Benallegue expressed the belief that the Bank’s campaign against corruption will initiate a change of mindset in a new African generation: “The institution and its staff must become a role model to the continent”.
Also in attendance were the executive directors for the United States,, Walter Crawford Jones and Alex Severens , AfDB Vice President Kordjé Bédoumra, the AfDB’s Secretary General Cecilia Akintomide, the Ombudsperson, Amabel Orraca Ndiaye, the General Counsel Kalidou Gadio and the President’s Special Advisers, Youssouf Ouédraogo and Hakim Ben Hammouda,
The IACD Director, Anna Bossman, thanked the AfDB president and all participants for their support and re-affirmed IACD’s pledge to combat fraud and corruption in all its forms in the Bank and Bank-financed projects.