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Botswana makes anti-corruption strides

09 Dec 2021

Botswana continues to make strides in the fight against corruption as evidenced by its re-rating and removal from the grey list by the Financial Action Task Force.

Speaking during Anti-corruption Day commemoration in Tlokweng yesterday, Assistant Minister for Presidential Affairs, Governance and Public Administration Mr Dumezweni Mthimkhulu said Botswana’s progress was attributable to the mileage it gained in interacting and receiving feedback from international organisations.

He said while no longer grey listed,  the country needed to be vigilant as it prepared for future mutual evaluation reviews by Eastern and Southern Africa Anti-Money Laundering Group and the African Peer Review Mechanism.

Mr Mthimkhulu said government had long recognised that corruption was an impediment to sustainable development, good governance and economic growth.

Corruption, he said,  distorted decision making processes on the part of officials entrusted with people’s interests while corrupt private transactions hurt the public by reducing the benefits of a competitive market.

“Corruption leads to increased costs and lowered standards of goods and services. Resources are diverted to non-productive uses and political repression can ensue as elites consolidate their gains. It also affects institutions by decreasing trust that citizens have on a particular institution and when it persists in a pervasive way it creates an institutional culture difficult to change,” he said.

He said if not adequately addressed, corruption could undermine national efforts to utilise limited resources.

The assistant minister said on realisation the detrimental effects of corruption, government immediately established  the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC).

In addition, legislation on corruption even under other institutions charged with the responsibility of fighting the scourge prior to DCEC’s establishment were strengthened and harmonised, he said.

Mr Mthimkhulu said to achieve sustainable development, good governance and economic growth, government implemented a multi-stakeholder approach across its varied projects and programmes.

Internationally, corruption fighting  efforts included establishment of  mechanisms  such as Transparency International, United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC) and African Union Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption.

He said there was need for global, continental and national strategic initiatives as well as partnerships in the fight against corruption.

For his part, UN resident representative Mr Zia Choudhury described  2021 as a landmark year for global anti-corruption action.

He said in June, the first ever general assembly special session against corruption was held which came up with a roadmap for stepping up anti-corruption action and accelerating implementation of UNCAC.

Mr Choudhury described UNCAC as the only global and truly comprehensive legally binding instrument against corruption.

He said while the UN was assisting countries and communities to address the underlying causes of corruption, there was need for more robust systems, accountability, transparency and integrity without delay.

“We must hold leaders to account, business people must act responsibly. A vibrant civic space and open access to information are essential and we must protect the rights and recognise the courage of whistleblowers who expose wrongdoing,” he said.

He said corruption in the COVID-19 era had the potential to seriously undermine good governance around the world and to send farther off-track work to achieve Sustainable Development Goals.

“I urge the government and all leaders to be transparent and accountable, and to use the tools provided by the United Nations Convention against Corruption. As an age-old plague takes on new forms, let us combat it with new heights of resolve,” he said.

Commemorated  under the theme, Your Right Your Role, Say No To Corruption,  the event marked the 11th anti-corruption celebration in Botswana. 

Botswana ratified UNCAC in 2011.BOPA

Source : BOPA

Author : Baleseng Batlotleng

Location : TLOKWENG

Event : Anti-corruption Day commemoration

Date : 09 Dec 2021