AfDB records $33m in penalties against corrupt entities
Establishes anti-corruption fund for member countries
About $33 million presently lodged in the Escrow account of the African Development Bank (AfDB), are from penalties and cash settlements against corrupt entities among the regional member countries.
This amount is part of the estimated $55.25 million to be received from erring institutions under the investigative efforts of AfDB’s Integrity and Anti-Corruption Department (IACD).
Before now, entities found engaged in corrupt activities and other forms of misconduct following IACD investigations voluntarily agreed to enter into settlement agreements with the bank.
Meanwhile, AfDB has taken the fight against corruption and mismanagement of public finances in the continent a step further, with the establishment of a dedicated Fund to facilitate its programmes.
The initiative known as Africa Integrity Fund (AIF), has already received the approval of the regional development institution’s board members, marking its imminent take off.
According to the bank, the move was in response to the challenges facing regional member countries in the fight against corruption and in line with the institution’s priorities.
The Fund, proposed by IACD, will finance programmes, which contribute to the prevention, detection, investigation and sanctioning of corruption among member countries.
It will also support measures that facilitate the repatriation of stolen assets and alleviating the financial drain from illicit outflows among the member countries, thereby strengthening transparency and accountability in the management of public resources.
AfDB President, Akinwumi Adesina, who lauded the development, warned: “We must have zero-tolerance for corruption, be it internal or external. We have to tighten our systems thoroughly.”
He noted that the target beneficiaries of grants under the Fund include law enforcement agencies, public audit institutions, tax authorities and other African governmental bodies, civil society organisations, research and educational institutions.
However, the bank said that AIF will be financed exclusively through the collection of financial penalties derived from settlements of erring entities.
The Director of IACD, Anna Bossman, said: “With the adoption of the AIF, financial penalties resulting from the Bank’s sanctions regime are re-invested into anti-corruption measures. We are confident that the AIF will become a model for others.”
The AIF is an innovative instrument providing the bank with an additional platform to address development priorities in its regional member countries in the area of anti-corruption without tapping into traditional donor funds.
It allows the bank to fulfil its commitment to member countries to support their efforts to improve the performance of anti-corruption agencies in preventing, investigating and sanctioning prohibited practices and to strengthen their governance agenda.