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XINHUA NEWS SERVICE REPORTS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

 

Kenya urges EAC to deploy e-procurement systems to curb graft  

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Kenya on Wednesday urged East African Community (EAC) member states to deploy information technology (IT)-enabled procurement systems in order to curb corruption.

Henry Rotich, cabinet secretary for the National Treasury and Planning, told a regional finance forum in Nairobi that corruption must be eliminated in order to restore public confidence and ensure fair competition.

“Adoption of e-procurement will go a long way in strengthening public procurement systems within the region, with a view to curbing corruption,” said Rotich when he officially opened the East African Procurement conference in Nairobi.

“Moreover, the EAC member states are signatories to the UN Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC) in which one of the resolutions is for the countries to implement measures aimed at combating corruption, particularly in public procurement,” he added.

The three-day forum is discussing key issues affecting the transformation and modernization of the public procurement systems; forging a common front among EAC member states on the value of public procurement for the promotion of good governance; professionalization of procurement practice through legal mechanisms; and sustaining public procurement reforms in the national procurement systems.

Rotich said that public procurement is a major economic activity which generates significant financial flows in the economy.

“As a consequence, public procurement has become one of the most vulnerable areas to corruption, fraud and bribery,” he added.

The Kenyan official noted that a good procurement system is vital to effective public expenditure management and to the delivery of services to citizens on time, at the most reasonable cost, and with the best quality.

He observed that sound public procurement policies and practices are among the essential elements of good governance.

According to Rotich, current best practice in public procurement adopts the operating principles of value for money, transparency and accountability, in an environment using an integrated financial management information system that incorporates the principles of output management.

“The success of the procurement system depends on a clear articulation and understanding of what the legal and regulatory framework seeks to achieve. We must also continue to invest in the capacity of public sector systems, workers and management to ensure our public services are efficient, effective and professional,” Rotich said.

Maurice Juma, director-general of the Public Procurement Regulatory Authority, said that African countries are slowly moving toward e-procurement, with Rwanda being the first one to do so, and many having migrated to the Integrated Financial Management Information System.

“For us to improve public procurement, we will need to strengthen the capacity of the agencies involved and deploy robust information communication technology (ICT) systems to seal all the loopholes that might provide fertile breeding grounds for corruption,” Juma added.

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EARLIER REPORTS:

Underfunding hinders anti-graft efforts in Africa: officials

KIGALI Rwanda (Xinhua) -- Underfunding affects Africa’s anti-corruption efforts, African officials in charge of anti-graft said Wednesday in Kigali, capital city of Rwanda.

Most of ombudsman institutions are not fully funded to go down to the grassroots to follow up on corruption-related complaints, said Busisiwe Mkhwebane, South African public prosecutor and vice chairperson of African Ombudsman and Mediators Association (AOMA), at the opening of the 6th General Assembly of the AOMA.

Low funding affects effectiveness of the institution of ombudsman in terms of investigating citizens’ complaints, yet the ombudsman plays a critical role in governance by fighting corruption and protecting the vulnerable, said Florence Kajuju, Kenyan Ombudsman and acting secretary general of the AOMA.

The meeting, which runs till Friday, draws delegates from more than 40 African countries under the theme “The Role of the Ombudsman and Mediators in Promoting Transparency and Accountable Governance in Africa.”

The theme is in line with the African Union’s commitment to “winning the fight against corruption as sustainable path to Africa’s transformation,” this year’s theme of the pan-Afrcan bloc, said said Rwandan Minister of Justice and Attorney General Johnston Busingye in his opening remarks.

Various participants said at the assembly that corruption undermines effectiveness in the delivery of services, leads to poverty and weakens the protection of the vulnerable.

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Corruption is impediment to socio-economic
development in Africa: Botswana president

GABORONE Botswana (Xinhua) -- Corruption is the most universally known impediment to socio-economic development of Africa, Botswana’s President Mokgweetsi Masisi said Wednesday.

Officially opening the ongoing seventh edition of the African Union (AU) high level dialogue on democracy, human rights and governance in Gaborone, Botswana’s capital city, Masisi said political instability is impeding the much-needed economic progress on the African continent.

“Corruption is the most universally known impediment to socio-economic development,” said Masisi during the event that brought together pioneers and stalwarts of democracy, human rights and governance under one roof.

He said it is common knowledge that most of the conflicts in Africa remain etched in the competition for resources and access to state power to accumulate personal wealth illegally.

In addition, Masisi said the lack of due regard for basic human rights of their respective citizens by many African governments also continues to ferment tensions resulting in the perpetuation of such conflicts.

“The situation breeds corruption and political instability which impede the much-needed economic progress on the continent,” he said at the event held under the theme: Winning the fight against corruption: A sustainable path to Africa’s transformation.

The 30th Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the AU that was held in Jan. 2018 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia declared 2018 as the Africa Anti-Corruption Year.

It remains the biggest threat to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), as adopted by members of the United Nations (UN) in 2015.

Speaking at the same event, Nonofo Molefhi, Botswana’s minister of presidential affairs, governance and public administration, said there is need for more platforms to ensure that the message about corruption and its consequences are well understood.

“Africa must speak with one voice on the fight against the scourge of corruption,” said Molefhi.

           

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