Anti-Corruption Conference: Nigeria Absent As 18 Countries Sign Statements

Tayo Olanipekun

The International Anti-Corruption Conference (IACC) of the Transparency International (TI) ended on Wednesday with about 40 ministers, leaders of international organisations and private companies having discussed strategies for the international collaboration on anti-corruption.

The 18th IACC, held for three days in Copenhagen, Denmark, also saw 18 national governments and nine international and multilateral organisations issue statements outlining their own renewed commitment to tackling corruption.

Femi Adesina, Special Assistant on Media to President Muhammadu Buhari was not available to comment on why Nigeria did not make a representation at the three days event.

Fight against corruption is a major plank of the current administration in Nigeria, resulting in a handful of former government officials battling with allegations of graft leveled against them.

The government has also secured convictions of a few former public office holders with some politically exposed individuals placed on travel ban.

A former Governor of Ekiti State, Ayodele Fayose, whose tenure expired a week before, secured a N50m bail only on Wednesday from a Lagos High court over an allegation of misappropriation of public funds.

Ghana, Burkina Faso and Tunisia had joined other developing countries as well as the U.S., U.K. and other developed countries in presenting anti-corruption action plans and additional commitments at the conference.

The United Nations (UN), World Bank Group, Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) and European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) were among the organisations that also pledged commitments at the conference.

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Others are Open Government Partnership (OGP), Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE),

“These commitments are welcome and much needed. It is particularly important that the signatories have recognised the crucial role of civil society, media and whistleblowers in combatting corruption, and shown their support for measures to protect them,” said Transparency International Chair, Delia Ferreira Rubio.

She stressed, however, that over the years, the body had seen “plenty of commitments to tackle corruption.”

She said what was needed is action, and “we will track these new commitments to ensure they are not more empty promises.”

The 18th IACC was themed, “Together for development, peace and security: now is the time to act.”

Prime Minister of Denmark, Lars Løkke Rasmussen, said in his opening remark that citizens of his country were shocked and offended over the Danske Bank money laundering scandal which rocked the country perceived by many as one of the cleanest in the world.

He said the Danes were offended because fraud and money laundering undermine one of the most important pillars in their society: “our trust in institutions, companies and in each other.”

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