Nigeria will host the 8th regional conference of anti-corruption agencies in Commonwealth Africa in 2018 according to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) a Nigerian law enforcement agency. EFCC investigates financial crimes such as advance fee fraud and money laundering. The commission revealed the decision that Nigeria will host the next conference was taken at the 7th edition of the conference held in Malawi on the 2nd of June.
There are 18 African countries in the Commonwealth, which is an intergovernmental organisation of 52 member states that are mostly former colonies of Britain.
Nigeria’s Ibrahim Magu, acting chairman of the EFCC, will serve as the vice chairman of the executive Committee of the association despite being rejected twice by the country’s Senate.
The significance of having this conference in Nigeria cannot be underestimated given its several efforts to curb corruption and making the fight against the scourge a priority. The country has always been considered to be one of the most corrupt countries in the world . In its 2015 Corruption Perceptions Index, Transparency International ranked Nigeria 136. Early last year,Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari made some strong comments that Nigerians have a bad reputation abroad, but noted “we are on our way to salvage that”.
Last year, then British Prime Minister David Cameron’s made critical comments that Nigeria and Afghanistan are “fantastically corrupt” countries, remarks which caused quite a stir on social media. The comments were made during a discussion with the Queen, just before the start of the London Anti-Corruption Summit. While corruption is a major problem in Nigeria, President Buhari’s administration has been fighting the scourge.
The country is one of the largest oil producers in the world yet it is believed only a small fraction of its over 160 million population have access to that wealth. President Buhari is on record for describing corruption as the greatest form of human right violation.
Somalia was ranked as the most corrupt country in the world by Transparency International in 2016 mainly because of the lack of accountability in receipt and expenditure of public funds. Somalia together with Sudan, South Sudan, Libya and Guinea-Bissau make up the top five most corrupt countries in Africa as of the 2016 Index. The Chairperson of the International Anti-Corruption Conference Council, Akere Muna recently disclosed that Africa is losing between $50bn and $80bn annually through illicit financial outflows. He lauded President Buhari’s administration for making the fight against corruption its number one priority.
The just ended anti-corruption conference in Lakeshore Resort, Mangochi–Malawi reiterated the need to have a platform for sharing emerging practices and country innovation in the fight against corruption for the promotion of good governance. Agencies were encouraged to create a platform for intelligence and data sharing for effective asset recovery, while encouraging them to continue with benchmarking visits to maintain learning and sharing of ideas and experience amongst the African countries.
The need for members to expand the network in other sectors to enhance the fight against corruption including collaboration with the African Union Advisory Board on Corruption, the civil society, the media and the private sector was also stressed and this is important if governments are to effectively wipe out corruption.
Other recommendations included the use of innovative techniques for prevention education and investigation in the fight against corruption as well as considering the implementation of “Whistle Blowing legislation for effective protection of whistleblowers”.
The Commonwealth Africa Anti-Corruption Centre was established by the Commonwealth Secretariat in partnership with the Government of Botswana and the Association of Anti-Corruption Agencies in Commonwealth Africa. The centre provides training and knowledge sharing across investigations, public education and prevention, forensics, prosecution and asset tracking.