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African Union launches push for universal ratification of anti-graft convention

Nairobi, Kenya | Xinhua | The African Union Advisory Board on Corruption (AUABC), established in 2009 to invigorate the fight against corruption, has been lobbying countries to ratify its convention to facilitate the elimination of the vice in the continent, an official said.

“We have been engaging with the relevant structures of the African Union to explain to all the member states the need to ratify the convention,”

Charity Nchimunya, executive secretary at the Tanzania-based AUABC said on Tuesday evening during a media engagement workshop in Nairobi, the capital of Kenya, that some 48 countries had signed and ratified the convention, while another group of seven countries was still to ratify the convention.

The seven countries include the Central African Republic, Cape Verde, Djibouti, Eritrea, Eswatini, Somalia and South Sudan.

The convention outlines a series of measures to embolden the fight against corruption and requires African countries to respect democratic principles and institutions and ensure the popular participation of their citizens in good governance.

The convention is designed to discourage government officials from accepting gifts, goods, or any monetary value in exchange for acts of omission in the performance of official public duties.

Nchimunya said while the fight against corruption was a key priority for most countries in Africa, universal ratification of the convention would provide the necessary backing for eliminating corruption which has affected the delivery of key public services.

Martha Munthali, AUABC’s Senior Policy Officer in charge of Economics and Statistical matters, said the negative effects of impunity on Africa’s political, economic and social-cultural stability made it mandatory for the continent to battle corruption.

The convention calls for measures to stop the laundering of proceeds of corruption and calls upon countries in Africa to adopt laws to criminalize the disposal of property, known as proceeds of corruption meant to conceal the origin of the property in order to evade the legal consequences of the action.

The AUABC also called upon countries in Africa to collectively criminalize “illicit enrichment” which is currently not considered an offense in some countries because the existing laws allow property ownership rights.

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