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AU States urged to fight corruption and transnational crimes


By Cynthia Kenyani




President Uhuru
Kenyatta on Wednesday called on African nations to increase investment in the
war against corruption and transnational organized crimes to curb the loss of
resources that would otherwise be used for the continent’s development.


Citing estimates
by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), President Kenyatta
said Africa loses roughly $88.8 billion (Sh10.3 trillion) in illegal financial
flows each year which translates into 3.7 per cent of its Gross Domestic
Product (GDP).


Kenyatta added
that as a result, the continent effectively loses more wealth than it gains by
at least $40 billion (Sh4.7 trillion) annually.


“This empirical
evidence demonstrates clearly why the war against corruption and, indeed,
transnational organized crime, is a worthy investment. The resources Africa is
losing would otherwise greatly benefit her development agenda and enable us to
create an even more glorious future for its citizens,” said President Kenyatta.


The President was
speaking in Mombasa when he officially opened the 4th Regional Conference of
African and Indian Ocean Prosecutors (IAP) and the East African Association of
Prosecutors (EAAP) Conference whose theme was “Effective Mechanisms for
Responding to Emerging Crimes and Transnational Organized Crimes in Africa.”


Noting that
transnational crime cannot be tackled without cross-institutional and
cross-border cooperation, he called for a multiagency approach saying
transnational organized crime networks exploit legitimate public institutions,
established to support financial and business services.


“Preventing and
combating transnational organized crime demands a concentrated cooperative
effort by all actors in the prevention, investigation, prosecution, and asset
recovery segments of the justice chain. It is critical that we maintain open
dialogue, both formal and informal, and continue working in close
partnerships,” Kenyatta said.

He expressed
Kenya’s commitment to participating in joint efforts to fight the vice, noting
that the region had adopted bilateral and multilateral agreements toward
mutually investigating and prosecuting emerging transnational crimes.


The Commander in
Chief, therefore, called on Africa’s criminal justice systems to adopt a
proactive approach to identifying, tracing, freezing and confiscating proceeds
of crime in a bid to remove the financial incentive and monetary benefits of


The Head of State
noted that owing to the complex and evolving nature of the crime, there was the
need for continuous education and training to bolster expertise and knowledge
in the identification and prevention of criminal activities.


“Our investments
in the sector have allowed for the establishment of training facilities such as
the ODPP Prosecution Training Institute, which provides continuous training for
prosecutors and other criminal justice actors.


“The Institute
also serves as an institution for legal development and resource building; a
key element for the reform and improvement of our prosecutorial practices
within the East African Region and Africa at large,” said President Kenyatta.


He further called
for governance reforms in public sector institutions, cooperation in border
security and the creation of public awareness on transnational crime as a national
security threat to enlist citizen participation.


The President
pointed out that international cooperation would increase mutual legal
assistance and extradition requests as well as enhance formal and informal
channels of communications for the efficient and effective investigation and
prosecution of transnational organized crimes.


Speaking during
the event, Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i said the conference was a testament
to President Kenyatta’s solid leadership and success in the institutionalization
of the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions.


Director of Public
Prosecutions Noordin Haji thanked Kenyatta for supporting the Office of the
Director of Public Prosecutions through increased budgetary allocation that has
facilitated enhanced capacity and delivery of justice, automation of
operations, staff welfare and operationalization of its training institute
among other initiatives.


The conference was
attended by among others Judge of the Court of Appeal Justice Steven Kairu, Solicitor
General Kennedy Ogeto and Directors of Public Prosecutions from Tanzania,
Uganda, Malawi, Mauritius, Ghana and representatives of public prosecution
offices from across the African continent.



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