The establishment of an International Anti-Corruption Court was on Tuesday solicited to prosecute Africans who steal public funds as well as countries in Europe and America that receive such illicit funds.
The Human and Environmental Development Agenda (HEDA) and other stakeholders made the demand, urging African Heads of States to stop the theft of over $100 billion representing some 25 percent of Africa’s Gross Domestic Products, (GDP) stolen every year from the continent by local and international collaborators.
The stakeholders spoke at the 33rd Anti-Corruption Situation Room (ACSR), organised by Africa’s leading anti-corruption group, Human and Environmental Development Agenda, (HEDA Resource Centre) in collaboration with the Integrity Initiative International (III), held in Abuja, on Tuesday.
They noted that the stolen funds were enough to transform Africa in one year into one of the most beautiful continents where good roads, social security, access to health and education were provided for the teeming population currently ravaged by poverty, famine and hunger.
Participants called for an International Anti-Corruption Court that would prosecute Africans who steal public funds and countries in Europe and America who receive such illicit funds. They called for an International Anti-Corruption Court to prosecute corrupt officials and hold countries that receive stolen funds accountable.
Said the participants: “Corruption is a global problem and remains a major impediment to economic growth, human development and prosperity.
“Corruption is a threat to development, weakens institutions, fuels poverty and endangers stability across Africa. Corruption is fuelling war, misery and extremism across Africa. The Government and the people need to unite to put an end to the scourge”.
Participants urged the continent to frame discussion of corruption around local realities, observing that corruption was growing wings to the extent that fears of corporate capture of the state was real.
Stated they: “Obstacles occasioned by privileges that place selected people above law and order should be removed. Stolen funds should be repatriated by host countries not just the capital but also the excess interests that proceeds from years of banking such illicit funds”.
African countries were urged to give living narratives to corruption issues as they affect education, health, security in a way that the ordinary people could easily connect and understand.
Noted the participants: “There is the need for renewed capacity building for Judges with a new curriculum that addresses corruption while there should be secured tenure of office for drivers of anti-corruption institutions”.
They noted that the UNCAC should be amended to ensure the setting up of International Anti-Corruption Court (ICAC) which should ensure the prosecution of criminals at home and countries where the proceeds of crime are domiciled should be held accountable.
For effective service delivery, they called for the need for independent auditing for political aspirants before elections are held.
Noted they: “Nigeria should improve her anti-corruption profile in order to reflect her status as the largest economy in Africa. There is the need for constant education and enlightenment. ECOWAS and all regional institutions should be strengthened to fight corruption effectively”.
Participants called for the creation of an African Network of the Friends of International Anti-Corruption Court, (IACC) to be led by HEDA.
The participants commended HEDA Resource Centre for its commitment to the fight against corruption at great risk of its officials while the MacArthur Foundation and the Integrity Initiative International were deeply appreciated for their support.
The high level conference was attended by the former Prime Minister of Senegal who is also a member of Club De Madrid, Aminata Toure. The Club of Madrid is a gathering of some 100 former Presidents and Prime Ministers covering over 70 countries.
Representatives of African Union Advisory Board on Corruption, Economic Community of West African States, (ECOWAS), Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, Commissioner, Anti-Corruption Commission of Sierra Leone, International Anti-Corruption Steering Treaty Drafting Committee, IACC, Justice Richard Goldstone, Mr Femi Falana, SAN, former Chief Judge of Anambra State, Justice Peter Umeadi, and many global anti-corruption experts took part in the historic conference.