Advancing the Fight Against Corruption

Posted by Stuart Crampton
April 1, 2013
Police in West Africa Stop a Motorcyclist

Corruption in parts of Africa is deeply entrenched and many citizens view it as uncontrollable. I knew my mission would be challenging when I traveled to Accra, Ghana to participate in a five-day workshop to help advance the fight against corruption. I also knew, however, that there are fearless activists across the continent who are rising up with more determination than ever to fight corruption. These are the people I would have the honor to work with and learn from during my visit.

The U.S. Government, in partnership with the Government of Ghana, sponsored the workshop which took place on March 11-15. This workshop offered training for more than 30 law enforcement officials from five countries--Ghana, Sierra Leone, Nigeria, Liberia, and Tanzania--on subjects like how to more effectively investigate and prosecute allegations of public corruption and pursue the recovery of the proceeds of corruption. The event was part of the United States' West Africa Cooperative Security Initiative.

According to the African Union, Africa loses more than $148 billion to corruption every year. These costs are not only measured in terms of squandered or stolen government resources, but in the lack of public funding for critical needs. During my trip, a young Ghanaian artist named Nene reminded me of the hospitals and schools that might have been built with that money. As Nene showed me his paintings and his talent became more apparent, he explained how his father had wanted to support his son's passion, but art school was out of reach for the family. Corruption and its social costs had sapped the state's ability to promote young artists or channel the creative energies of an entire generation. Nevertheless, Nene was pursuing his dream through sheer persistence and hard work, including by learning techniques from any and every artist who would teach him.

As underscored by President Obama's National Security Strategy, the U.S. Government is committed to strengthening partnerships that “promote the recognition that pervasive corruption is a severe impediment to development and global security.” Thus, we sponsored the workshop last month because we are determined to work with governments and civil society organizations to bring greater transparency and accountability to governments--thus making it harder for officials to steal from state coffers -- and to strengthen the efforts of citizens to hold their governments accountable. Prosecutors and investigators have a critical role to play in the fight against corruption. Ultimately, if the public does not see successful convictions of corruption cases, they will lose confidence in their government institutions. The workshop participants--who have dedicated and often risked their lives to end the impunity of corruption--are nothing short of heroes. But they know they are up against strong resistance.

The benefits of the anti-corruption workshop will continue long after the participants have left the classroom: for example, the workshop launched a network through which participants can continue sharing information on anti-corruption tactics and strategies. With continued partnership from the U.S. Government, this kind of concerted effort against corruption will help citizens such as Nene paint a different picture -- one in which corruption is not allowed to hinder the pursuit of their dreams.

Comments

Comments

A E.
|
Texas, USA
April 1, 2013

Eddie in Texas writes:

"Africa loses more than 148 billion to corruption every year." !!!

Bonaventure F.
|
Haiti
April 1, 2013

Bonaventure F. in Haiti writes:

Corruption is a real in Africa. As a problem, it’s well defined and its consequences clearly identified in this blog. However, how to deal with corruption without creating diplomatic crises with friends and foes should be well analyzed. A workshop is a first step that needs to be followed by real political will and well-designed strategic plan. I hope this workshop creates an opportunity for flexible and more adapted actions to each situation.

Henry
|
United States
April 1, 2013

Henry in the U.S.A. writes:

How can anyone take these programs seriously, when they know that the US government is imposing vicious austerity on its citizens in order to bail out Wall Street investment banks, which the government refuses to prosecute despite incontrovertible evidence of criminal activity? There is no corruption in Africa that even comes close to that.

Oladimeji S.
|
Texas, USA
April 2, 2013

Oladimeji S. in Texas writes:

I sincerely think everyone of these thoughts are credible,corruption however, is an issue you will have to deal with anywhere you have human beings. Some are content with what life throws at them and some inspite of the abundance of wealth at their disposal would take another life just to take the little from others. The bottom line is Justice must not only be done but must be seen to be done in the cases of corrupt officials.I think this is a step towards the obvious direction.

Hans B.
|
United States
April 2, 2013

Hans B. in the U.S.A. writes:

There have been countless workshops organized and nothing has come out of it. Most of us here in diaspora have tried our every bit to see this corruption end, but to no avail.

If the United States is ever ready to see this happen in Africa ( Ghana)...some of us are ready to put in our all to see this corruption act end. I am part if an non partsan group on Facebook and Ghana... (Common Purpose Alliance-Ghana)..

The first step is to force the Ghanaian government to sign the Right of Information Bill first. Otherwise...they should forget it...they can't do anything about the corruption in Africa..and I can bet my last breath on this.
It's crazy how monies are spent on useless things whiles the common citizen suffers...

We are ever ready to help..if indeed this worship was organized for serious steps and not just the usual workshops.

Thank You.

Dave
|
Indiana, USA
April 2, 2013

Dave in Indiana writes:

Supporting these kinds of workshops is a waste of US tax payers' money. United States has the ability to target top African government officials who transfer millions of dollars into American and European Banks. Those officials do not attend workshops. This program doesn't benefit the masses in Africa, and we all know it. Track those who are transferring millions to US and European Banks, prosecute them, and return the money. I see a big conflict of interest in the US helping Africa to fight corruption. How can you help solve corruption in Africa when you allowed the corrupted money to enter your banks/country freely?

Mika'il D.
|
Nigeria
April 23, 2013

Mika'il D. in Nigeria writes:

This could not have come at a better time. Corruption is now the order of the day in Nigeria and indeed many African countries, officials loot the public treasury as if their is no tomorrow. It is especially irritating; the way and manner they drive luxurious cars, build Mansions and by so doing oppressing the common man. This kind of attitude breeds what President Obama referred as "severe impediment to development and global security" Not very long ago the Nigeria President GoodLuck Jonathern granted state pardon to Several corrupt officials, Gave National to corrupt persons and turned a deaf ear on the complains raised against One Abdulrasheed Maina a civil servant who was charged for misappropriation of Pension funds. These and so many cases underscore the need for international collaboration especially when we consider the fact that these people Invest in foreign countries. Thank You!

sandeep
|
India
April 25, 2013

Sandeep in India writes:

respected sir my self sandeep from indain citizen ship i want to fight with corruption plzz help me for that to change the india to save from corruption please sir i want help from u to save our environment

Nicholas
|
Russia
April 27, 2013

Nicholas in Russia writes:

The corruption can be effectively minimized only by the device of government itself.

"The new democratic governance system can minimize eternal problems of the power such as corruption, infringement of rights and freedom under the imperfect legislation, etc. They are solved by cross check of several competing parties within the multi-polar democratic government: any blunders of the contender raises the rest participants' chances for survival in the power. Therewith the mutual competition of several competitors is more objective and constantly active motivation for fight against corruption etc. than the whim of any one 'National Leader' or of a separate citizens." modelgovernment.org

Nevertheless, the fight against corruption is impossible without the help of conscious citizens.

.

Latest Stories

January 15, 2010

In Memory of Victoria DeLong

Writing for the U.S. Department of State DipNote blog, Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs Arturro Valenzuela reflects… more

Pages