Kenya’s anti-graft officials challenged the African Union to adopt alternative dispute resolution mechanisms and forge joint laws to embolden campaigns against corruption in the continent.
Eliud Wabukala, chairman of the Ethics and Anti-corruption commission (EACC), said the presence of a strong mutual legal assistance treaty (MLAT) among African countries will boost gathering and exchange of information regarding graft which will further enforce public and criminal laws in Africa.
“AU must step up the fight against graft by forming a legislation which can steer anti-corruption efforts and create requisite synergies and enhance joint efforts to combat corruption at the African level,” said Wabukala during commemoration of the third African Anti-corruption Day held in Nairobi.
He said the aim of the anti-graft body is to “prioritize high impact” cases, asset recovery, prevention of corruption and promotion of ethics and standards.
Wabukhala said it had become a challenge to fight corruption as a continent due to different stumbling blocks in different countries.
He called for review of the legal framework guiding public asset recovery to ensure that wealth declaration becomes a mandatory requirement for all state officers to enhance public confidence in public administration.
“Declaration of income, assets and liabilities (DIALs) is a potent weapon against corruption and a useful tool for promotion of transparency, accountability and integrity,” he added.
Wabukhala further said the war against corruption required a multispectral approach, calling on the citizens and other non-state actors to take an active role in combating the vice.
Twalib Mbarak, EACC chief executive officer, urged the continent to advocate for alternative dispute resolution (ADR) mechanisms to fast track recovery of corruptly acquired public assets.
Mbarak noted there were tangible gains on using the ADR means in the past years as compared to long court processes saying the mechanism will make it easier to trace and recover the stolen assets.
“In the last four months, the Commission has recovered stolen assets worth approximately 2.7 billion shillings (27 million U.S. dollars) through ADR and ADR process compared to an average 15 million dollars annually in the last five years, he said.
If effectively implemented, it can support detection, monitoring and investigation into alleged corrupt conduct and tracing of illicitly acquired public assets, he added.
Mbarak noted that the commission had so far averted loss of 58 million dollars thanks to prior information about the plotted thefts, acknowledging massive support from the citizens and the media.