5 September 2017

Ethiopia: Institutionalizing Corruption Prevention Practices

Seeing the recent mass arrest of corruption suspects ,some say corruption is being taken for granted in Ethiopia and call for ramping up efforts in the fight against this social malice. Others also urge the government to work harder to prevent corruption before it occurs.

Over the last two decades, a number of senior officials,business people ,brokers and accomplices have been apprehended over corruption. They have been convicted of corrupt practices as well. However, the number of those individuals who squander public money is on rise than never before.

Federal Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission Communication Affairs Team Coordinator Brook Negash says : " Aside from the existing anti-corruption measures and practices, the commission is thinking of implementing Institutional Integrated Corruption Prevention Strategy with a view to coping with the ever- changing nature of corruption in the country . In the near future , Each state owned enterprise and institute will open independent corruption prevention and combating bureaus in line with the strategy ."

For so many years, anti-corruption activities have not been taken as the core parts of a given public institution. But, the strategy vividly states that each and every public servant has to take responsibility for combating corruption.

" The robust efforts of the Commission,the General Attorney and Federal Police in the fight against corruption won't bear fruit without the active participation of the public at large. That is why we need to put into effect the strategy soon," he says, adding that : " There . must be a large number of ethical leaders in every institute."

Indeed, many developed countries have managed to control the spread of corruption owing to impressive corruption prevention activities. Huge amount of money and time will be retrieved and rescued form embezzlement through such effective activities.

According to him, when anti-corruption office is established in a given institute , it will function in parallel with the duties and responsibilities of the institute. Such strategy has been proven successful in various countries.

Apart from implementing the strategy ,the commission is now offering ethical leadership training to senior officials nationwide. " Those who are assigned as general mangers and directors need to be role models in the fight against corruption."

In fact, some years back, the Anti-Corruption and Ethics Commission has begun registering the property of state officials and civil servants in its efforts to fight against corruption .

Talking about the advantages of the property registration, Brook points out that apart from making higher officials accountable and transparent, it helps the public to develop sense of trust in the government .

Regarding the accessibility of the property registration information to the public at large , He notes that any interested individual can access the information via filling up the form.

Hence, the commission must strengthen its task of registering property in a bid to expose corrupt individuals at an early stage .

Explaining the irreplaceable roles of the general public in preventing and combating corruption, Brook says the misuse of public money is the concern of every fellow citizen .Thus, the general public have to be at forefront of combating corruption.

Moreover, those state officials and public servants who have been risking their jobs and lives while attempting to expose the illegal acts of corrupt senior officials together with their accomplices need legal protection.

Therefore, the government and any pertinent bodies are expected to further strengthen the efforts in providing legal protection for such whistle-blowers.

"Taking punitive action against corrupt officials by itself is not enough. The state has to work further to own fellow citizens who detest all form of corruption," he says.

Apparently, some elementary and primary schools as well as state and private universities have ant-corruption clubs in a view with deepening the awareness of the students towards corruption. Such clubs are helpful in fighting rent seeking mentality and bringing about the required outcomes in the fight.

Brook indicates that the commission is expected to do much in terms of preventing corrupt practices in the mega projects of the country in the near future.

He also underlines the punitive actions that are taken against corrupt state officials need be done in the way to give lessons to others.

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