Middle East is where all graft loot goes KILASA MTAMBALIKE Daily News; Sunday,May 25, 2008 @00:01 Africa has been transferring 37 per cent of its wealth outside the continent, compliments to graft, recent research shows. The Minister of State in the Presidents Office (Public Service Management), Mrs Hawa Ghasia asserted this yesterday during a seminar on Good Governance in Africa held by the African Diplomatic Group (ADG) at the University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM). The comparable figures, however, show that the bulk of Tanzanias wealth (29 per cent of wealth) is siphoned to the Middle East, followed by Latin America (17 per cent) , South Asia (four per cent) and East Asia (three per cent), she said. She said that the trend gives a strong indication on how much illegal wealth is siphoned from the continent and in the process, how corruption can impede economic growth and stability. The seminar was part of events to commemorate Africa Day that is marked today every year. We now have sufficient analyses showing that corruption has a negative impact on all those indicators we care about in development we therefore must take extra measures against corruption, she said. She said that given its relative poverty and scarce resources, Africa can least afford the effects of corruption, noting that graft is also the antithesis of accountability and transparency. Prof Samuel Mushi at the UDSM lamented that many professionals were opting for politics for the wrong reasons in Africa because it is the only sector that seems to be growing -- a trend that leads to lack of accountability. He said that many existing institutions detailed to take charge over matters related to good governance and accountability were either not in place or rendered ineffective for various reasons, including blind loyalty to the appointing authority. Prof Mushi also said that the call by President Jakaya Kikwete for public figures to separate business from public service could be one effective way of ensuring accountability only if the necessary laws and institutions had the teeth to enforce them. The Zimbabwe High Commissioner, Major General Edzai Chimwonyi commended the Tanzanian press for its balanced reporting but cautioned against influences from without that may fail the media in the continent to perform its functions. He said that not everything from the West is bad but Africans need to prune what is good for them and what is not. Criticism for the good of the continent should always be welcomed, he noted.