On December 9 each year, the World marks International Anti-Corruption Day, a day set aside by the UN General Assembly on October 31, 2003 to raise awareness on the menace of Corruption.
The International Theme for this year’s observance is “Your right, your role: Say no to Corruption”. The theme suggests that it has become the responsibility of everyone; Governments, International Institutions, Corporate Bodies, Civil Society Organizations, Religious Institutions, the Family, and Individuals, to take more decisive actions to get rid of Corruption and all corrupt tendencies and to further re-commit towards taking effective actions in dealing with it.
We are all aware of the negative impacts of corruption on economic growth and development and how it adds to the cost of doing business. Corruption also undermines investment, erodes faith in public institutions, perpetrate political instability and frustrates efforts being exerted towards achieving poverty reduction. It has become even more important that we act against corruption, which is the most challenging obstacle in our resolve to disentangle our region and people from the throes of poverty, hardship and socio-political crises.
The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) adopted the ECOWAS Protocol on the Fight against Corruption in December 2001. The Protocol, among other things, aims to promote and strengthen the development in Member States effective mechanisms to prevent, suppress and eradicate corruption.
Article 7c of the Supplementary Act relating to the Enhancement of the Powers of the ECOWAS Parliament provides that “Parliament shall exercise Parliamentary oversight functions over the activities of program implementing bodies of the Community and adopt the appropriate Resolution.
That is why at the inception of my tenure as Speaker of the Fifth Legislature, we immediately established the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) at the ECOWAS Parliament, with the core mandate of reviewing audit reports submitted by the ECOWAS Commission, aimed at creating greater transparency. The PAC works to maintain financial integrity, accountability, and public confidence in ECOWAS Institutions. Our Administrative Staff also work diligently to scrupulously implement the ECOWAS cashless policy, which is intended to maintain an accurate record of cash flow in the execution of our programs.
As we join the rest of the World to observe this very important day, we join other campaigners against corruption to raise the red flag against what has become a virulent disease. We equally admonish everyone to take a decisive stand against corruption, regardless of where it is perpetrated or by whom.
Corruption is everyone’s business to fight and with everyone’s voice, we can say no to corruption.
I THANK YOU
Rt. Hon. Dr. Sidie Mohamed Tunis
Speaker of the ECOWAS Parliament
Abuja, Federal Republic of Nigeria
9th December, 2021