Africa: Buhari Says Africa Has Lost Over U.S.$1 Trillion to Corruption

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Abuja — Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari has revealed that the African continent has lost over one trillion dollars to corruption over the last 50 years.

Buhari said this on Tuesday in Abuja at the one-day National Democracy Day Anti-corruption Summit organised by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

According to Buhari, the recent habit of subverting the exercise of free choice by voters with money has become a worrisome trend.

"Section 90 of electoral act 2010 as amended, section clearly gave the guidelines and the limit to which an individual can spend in an election while section 88, prohibit political party from getting funds from outside Nigeria"

Buhari tasked law enforcement agencies, judiciary on the need to abolished electoral spending for true democracy to thrive.

Buhari said that corruption has been used to trap down the majority of the citizens, while the elites do whatever they like with the national treasury.

He pledged support for whistleblowers and victims of corruption, describing the anti-corruption fight as an instrument to fight and eliminate poverty out of the country.

The President of Rwanda, Paul Kagame, who argued that corruption does not take decades to eradicate if Africans decides to break the habit, insisted that the war against corruption must be won.

Kagame blamed African leaders for making corruption acceptable. He noted that the rich and the powerful are the main beneficiaries of corruption, before adding that not fighting corruption is even more dangerous.

"Corruption war is a campaign that can be won, it is within our power to earn it, corruption needs to be tackled from the top to down, so that it will empower the public to join the fight, overcoming corruption requires for key principles which are: culture, responsibility, accountability and effectiveness.

"The purpose of transparency is not to impress others but to make our society better, it is not enough to fight corruption as we are fighting poverty, key institutions were created in Rwanda to foster transparency, we must make sure that the institutions and mechanism actually works, fighting corruption has a huge political cost, officials who do not live up to standard were dismissed or faced justice, while others ran into exile.

"Trust in our Democratic process is declining, fighting political corruption is as urgent as fighting Economic corruption, we must build and strengthen institutions that will serve this course, building capacity of the young people as well as that of our political leaders."

Acting Chairman of the EFCC, Ibrahim Magu on his part, said that the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) targeted by the year 2030 will remain a fantasy if corruption continues to thrive in the country.

"The targeted SDG will remain a fantasy if corruption continues to thrive, as we move to the next level the arena will get tougher, moral burden on the fight against corruption, I salute President Buhari for his resolute and non-interference in the anti-corruption war and his extraordinary determination for anti-corruption war"

Speaking on the theme "Curbing Electoral Spending: A panacea to Public Corruption", Magu said that the Nigerian business environment will never be sustainable if the nation remains sympathetic to the disrupting act of corruption.

He regretted that Nigeria's democracy has been bastardised by the ruling elite who manipulates the wish of the people, using stoking wealth to subvert the will of the people.

"Only those duly elected by the people should retain political authority, we are currently working on a bill to preventing vote buying."

According to the anti-graft boss, vote buying in Nigeria is due to a lack of political education. Magu added that corruption perpetuates terrorism in the country.

He said that the Summit was initiated by the commission for stakeholders to brainstorm and profer solution to lingering electoral malpractices and suggest a way out.

Magu, who argued that institutions alone cannot eradicate corruption in Nigeria, insisted that only passion to fight against the scourge can, adding, "practical anti-corruption principles is what we need, the administration has endorsed policies that will stem businesses, corruption does not respect national borders"

"We need multi-stakeholders collaboration to curtail voter inducement, the number of convictions indicates a positive progression in the anti-corruption war, our cases only go to state high court or federal high court instead of magistrate court."

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