Officials from anti-corruption agencies across Africa have described as “immeasurable” a course organised by a Commonwealth training academy which is upskilling a cadre of enforcers to counter corrupt practices.
The Commonwealth Africa Anti-Corruption Centre, based in Gabarone, hosted the final of the three-phase training programme in partnership with the Government of Botswana and the Commonwealth Secretariat.
“I am truly grateful to have been part of the training,” said one of the participants, Irene Morikang Tche, Research Officer at Cameroon’s National Anti-Corruption Commission. “The knowledge gained and skills acquired from the lectures and experience sharing have made me more confident, effective and efficient.”
The programme is equipping national trainers from anti-corruption agencies from 15 Commonwealth African countries in skills such as management, combating corruption in procurement and professional ethics and integrity. The aim is for the trainers to pass on the skills gained to peers in their home countries.
Twenty-one officials attended the latest training between August and September 2016, which followed on from a second phase in November 2015.
The Commonwealth Africa Anti-Corruption Centre provides training and knowledge sharing across investigations, public education and prevention, forensics, prosecution and asset tracking. Since its launch in 2013, nearly 20 anti-corruption agencies, with a total of 7,000 personnel, have benefitted.
Rose Seretse, Director-General for Botswana’s Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime, which hosts the centre, said: “Those who engage in corruption do not sleep - they spend sleepless nights devising strategies of how they can beat the system - hence it is upon us as anti-corruption practitioners to keep up the pace,” she said.
Another of the participants, Akeem Lawal,fsi of Nigeria’s Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), who has been training colleagues at home since the first phase of the course, described its value as “immeasurable”.
“In all, over five hundred public officers and members of anti-corruption and transparency units in the ministries, departments and agencies have benefited from the application of the special knowledge acquired from the course,” he said.
Roger Koranteng, Governance and Anti-Corruption Adviser at the Commonwealth Secretariat, said: “The programme provides further visible and tangible demonstration of the Commonwealth Secretariat’s commitment to support its members’ anti-corruption efforts, through capacity-building, continuous learning, exchange of best practices and sharing solutions to common anti-corruption problems.”
Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland has made tackling corruption one of her key priorities for office. “It’s going to take all of us to tackle corruption in all its forms,” she told a major conference hosted by the Commonwealth Secretariat in May 2016, which brought together global anti-corruption leaders from civil society, business and government.
“If we act in unison, and remain vigilant and innovative, we can do more than challenge the culture of corruption, we can consign it to history altogether,” she said.