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Mr Gerhard Visagie. Head, Special Investigation Unit, congratulating Dr Roger Koranteng, Adviser, Anti-Corruption, the main resource person, for a job well done.

South African investigators leading the fight against corruption

21 April 2016

South African’s Special Investigation Unit, a government anti-corruption agency, has received advanced training on management and leadership, with the support of the Commonwealth Secretariat.

Forty senior managers from the unit, a public body with powers of investigation and litigation, participated in the training programme at the agency’s headquarters in Pretoria last week between 11-15 April 2016.

The government body’s primary mandate is to recover and prevent financial losses to the state caused by acts of corruption, fraud and maladministration.

“What we have are people who are experts in investigations and now they are experts in leadership and management,” said Mrs Miseria Nyathi, a senior manager at SIU, who said she felt the training was enormously helpful.

“If you have the right management skills, you can better tackle corruption and undertake investigations,” she said.

As in many countries in the Commonwealth, corruption is a challenge in South Africa and specialised skills are needed to combat it effectively.

“Many anti-corruption agencies have judges at the top – but they do not have any management experience. Management skills are crucial for anti-corruption agencies to achieve results,” said Dr Roger Koramteng, Governance and Anti-Corruption Adviser from the Commonwealth Secretariat, who delivered the course.

The management and leadership skills programme for the Special Investigation Unit came on the back of a training course held last year at the Commonwealth Africa Anti-Corruption Centre in Botswana. Set up in 2013, more than 200 personnel have now been trained and around 20 anti-corruption agencies from Commonwealth countries in Africa have benefitted from the centre’s expertise and training.

Corruption is an obstacle to sustainable development - it undermines institutions, the values of democracy and rule of law. It also impacts a country’s progress through diminished investor confidence and economic growth. About $1 trillion is paid each year in bribes around the world, and the total economic loss from corruption is estimated to be many times that number (Source: World Bank)

The Commonwealth Secretariat is increasing its capacity to combat corruption through increased training, networking and exchanging of best practices.

Earlier this week, Commonwealth Secretary-General The Rt Hon Patricia Scotland QC announced plans to launch a new Commonwealth ‘kitemark’ against corruption, alongside an Office of Civil and Criminal Justice Reform to help countries enhance policy-making and legislation.

Next month, the Commonwealth Secretariat is hosting the Tackling Corruption Together Conference at its Marlborough House headquarters on Wednesday 11 May 2016. The event will be attended by global leaders from civil society, business and government who are championing the fight against corruption. The conference precedes the Anti-Corruption Summit: London 2016 on Thursday 12 May, hosted by the United Kingdom.

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