COMMONWEALTH Secretariat Head of Public Sector Governance Dr Roger Koranteng says Africa is not devoid of the laws, policies and institutions to fight corruption, but the problem is the lack of political will.

Speaking during the official opening ceremony for the training of ACC management staff by the Commonwealth Secretariat, Monday, Dr Koranteng said a reduction in corruption demanded a substantial anti-corruption agenda.

“Corruption, the abuse of entrusted power for private gain, is the single greatest obstacle to economic and social development around the world. No wonder, therefore, that in its global conference on sustainable development, the UN organisation declared that for mankind to achieve sustainable development, the international community had ‘to substantially reduce corruption and bribery in all its forms’. According to IMF, the success of all other SDGs depends crucially on getting to grips with the corrosive cancer of corruption. And that the amount needed to implement the SDGs equals the amount of money we lose through corruption,” he said.

“To accomplish corruption reduction, demands a substantial anti-corruption agenda, set out comprehensively in the sections of the United Nations Convention Against Corruption. This agenda includes, partnership between civil society organisations and governments; the establishment of robust codes of conduct for public officials; the re-socialisation of young people; ethics training at all levels; international cooperation, cross-border exchange of information and mutual legal assistance; anti-corruption legislation, effective anti-corruption institution building and robust law enforcement. The realization that corruption is a major hindrance to development is widely held by most international donors, development practitioners and Heads of governments sensitive to the plight of their citizens and the wellbeing of their countries. It is a phenomenon that cannot be ignored.”

Dr Koranteng noted that lack of political will, complacent officials and weak oversight mechanisms, had led to poverty in the midst of abundance in Africa.

“Africa is not devoid of the laws, policies and institutions to fight anti-corruption, the problem is in the nature of the states, the lack of political will and the complacent officials and weak oversight mechanisms, have led to poverty in the midst of abundance. There seems to be an emerging consensus that many of Africa’s quagmires are a result of failure to create ‘capable states’. A capable state, in this context, is one characterized by transparency, accountability, the ability to enforce law and order fairly throughout the country. In addition, a capable state creates a predictable, open and enlightened policy-making environment and working in partnership with the private sector, the media and organs of civil society in the fight against corrupt practices,” he said.

Dr Koranteng said the Commonwealth Secretariat was committed to assisting Anti-Corruption Agencies to achieve meaningful and long-lasting efforts in combating corruption.

“The Commonwealth Secretariat is keen and committed to assist the Anti-Corruption Agencies to achieve a meaningful and long-lasting effort to combat corruption and to enhance good governance on the continent. If there’s one thing that anyone in any position of authority must be willing to provide in order to inspire action and achievement, it’s leadership and effective management,” said Dr Koranteng.

“To ensure the smooth and effective management of Anti-Corruption Agencies, leadership is key in producing greater interventions-based results. Being that leadership is a process, Management staff of ACAs must become prudent to influence, involve and gain support from those they are leading. The styles of leadership have been changed with regard to the passage of time and needs of the situations. In recent times, the autocratic leadership style (a conventional practice) has changed into transformational leader, servant leader, democratic/participative and transactional leadership.”

And ACC acting Director General Silumesi Muchula said the training was meant to strengthen the commission’s capacity.

“It is an honour and privilege to welcome you all to this important training organised by the Commonwealth Secretariat (COMSEC) in order to strengthen the capacity of the Anti-Corruption Commission. Allow me to start by offering sincere gratitude to COMSEC for providing financial assistance to the ACC following a successful signing of a development arrangement between the two parties. This capacity building training to management staff of the commission, will promote efficiency, transparency and accountability in achieving sustainable development goal number 16,” Muchula said

“As you are aware, SDG no. 16 seeks to promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels. As a commission, we have a critical role to play for the country to achieve this goal. Therefore, this training has come at a right time.”

He appealed to members of staff selected to undergo the training to take it seriously.

“The programme, therefore, targets to train 19 management staff and 56 senior staff members. Furthermore, the programme seeks to achieve four objectives (4) as follows: (1) The key objective is to strengthen the capacity of the institution to promote efficiency, transparency and accountability in achieving the SDGS; (2) To equip the commission with innovative skills to effectively manage the organisation towards achieving the SDG 16; (3) Strengthen participants’ technical know-how and skills in managing anti-corruption agencies for corruption control; (4) To identify specific steps that can be taken to better manage corruption risks and enabling conditions,” said Muchula

“The achievement of these set objectives will in turn promote efficiency in governance with productive capacities and skills to deliver effective anti-corruption services. Furthermore, it will improve the oversight of the anti-corruption agenda and the reduction in risks of corruption in the public sector. As you are aware the corruption fight is top on government agenda. Also, expectations from the public is very high for ACC to fight corruption. Consequently, I want to appeal to all members of staff who have been selected to undergo this training to take it seriously. You will be expected to implement all the skills acquired in this training in order to contribute to the achievement of SDG 16. I am very confident that you are equal to the task ahead.”