November 27 - Dec 1, 2010
issn 0856 - 9135
Enforce anti-graft laws, EAC states told By East African News Agency Reporter
The East African Community (EAC) Deputy Secretary General (in charge of Political Federation) Ms Beatrice Kiraso has called upon Partner States to enforce anti-corruption laws to attract investors and development.
Making her presentation to the East African Law Society (EALS) annual general meeting over the weekend in Bujumbura, Burundi, the Deputy Secretary General added that the vice has undermined development and provision of social services and also increased the cost of doing business in East African countries.
"Corruption is an evil that undermines development and provision of social services. In the case of EAC it can be a non-tariff barrier to trade, she told over 400 leading lawyers and researchers from across the region.
Ms Kiraso said in order to market the EAC as a single tourist and investment destination and trade zone and to negotiate effectively as a bloc in international fora calls for high levels of integrity, transparency and accountability.
A protocol on preventing and combating corruption has been developed covering asset recovery, forfeiture, transfer of criminals and criminal proceedings, among the key provisions, she informed the attentive audience.
The protocol provides for extradition, judicial cooperation and mutual legal assistance and establishes a financial intelligence unit, she stated, adding that the challenge for corruption in EA has not been absence of instruments at national level but implementation and enforcement.
Ms Kiraso also cited lack of political will as among the main challenges facing the region in promoting democracy and called on the political leaders in the five partner states to address the matter.
"Non-implementation of legal frameworks already signed is an indication that the requisite political will, which runs from top to bottom, is weak. Political leadership should facilitate unequivocal implementation of the policies, she pointed out.
She urged that the citizenry must be continuously sensitized and hence the need for advocacy programmes and stressed the need by the partner states-- Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda-- to improve institutional capacity in matters pertaining to good governance.
"If we have to harmonise policies, laws and set best practices, there is need to improve institutional capacity - technical, human and financial", she further stressed at the meeting.
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