Context and Background
In 2003 the African Union (AU) adopted the African Convention on Preventing and Combatting Corruption and it subsequently came into force on the 5th of August 2006. 34 countries to date have ratified it. The convention focuses on the promotion of accountability and transparency in the management of public affairs and creating conditions that support socio-economic development. The convention aims to promote and strengthen mechanisms required to prevent, detect, punish and eradicate corruption and related offences in the public and private sector. It was response to the high incidences of corruption, malfeasance and abuse of public offices in Africa.
The convention seeks to promote, facilitate and regulate co-operation amongst African governments in ensuring the effectiveness of initiatives targeting the prevention, detection, punishment and eradication of corruption and related offences. The purpose is to ensure that African peoples can fully enjoy economic, social and cultural rights as well and civil and political rights by fostering transparency and accountability in the management of public affairs.
The convention promotes respect for democratic principles and institutions while supporting popular participation, rule of law and good governance and a respect for human and peoples’ rights. Through this convention African’s governments condemn and reject all acts of corruption, related offences and impunity in a bid to achieve social justice and ensure balanced socio-economic development. The convention also prescribes legislative and other measure to ensure clarity on corruption and enforce appropriate redemptive and prohibitive measures. It further targets laundering of the proceeds of corruption and illicit enrichment.
The convention promotes various levels of co-operation in order to eradicate corruption at national and international levels. It further outlines the roles for civil society and the media in fighting corruption. It also provides for the confiscation and seizure of the proceeds and instrumentalities of corruption and widens the jurisdiction for states in instances of corruption. An Advisory Board on Corruption is established within the African Union as the mechanism to promote and encourage adoption and application of anti-corruption measures on the continent.
- African countries will develop legislative and other measures at national and international level to eradicate corruption including establishing national anti-corruption authorities or agencies.
- Governments will protect informants and ensure that citizens can report instances of corruption without fear of consequent reprisals.
- African states will strengthen mechanisms for promoting the education of Africans to respect the public good and public interest and raise awareness in the fight against corruption including educational programmes and sensitization of the media.
- African states will develop legislative measures to criminalize the conversion, transfer and disposal of property that is the proceeds of corruption or related offences or the disguise or concealment of the true nature, source, location, disposition, movement or ownership of or rights with respect to property acquired through proceeds of corruption.
- All governments will ensure that public officials declare their assets when they assume office and after they leave office and also develop disciplinary measures and investigative procedures to root out corruption.
- African governments must develop laws to establish the offence of illicit enrichment.
- All African states shall ensure the development of laws to guarantee access to information to assist the fight against corruption.
- African governments will adopt laws to prescribe the use of funds by political parties in a transparent and accountable manner.
- African states will develop laws, mechanisms and other measures to fight corruption in the private sector including companies paying bribes to win tenders while encouraging the private sector to assist in the fight against corruption.
- Governments will create an enabling environment to enable civil society and the media to proactively participate in eradicating corruption and in particular by having access to information provided that such access does not adversely affect the investigation process.
- African governments will cooperate in the extradition of offenders of corruption.
- Every person deemed to have committed the crime of corruption will be entitled to a fair trial as prescribed in the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights.
- Every African state shall develop laws to enable competent authorities to confiscate and seize proceeds and instrumentalities of corruption and ensure the repatriation of proceeds of corruption.
- African governments will cooperate in the national and international to ensure that corruption and related offences are addressed adequately from investigation to repatriation of proceeds of corruption.