USIS Washington 

23 February 1999


(FR) (Africans convene to help address worldwide problem) (2780)

WASHINGTON -- "Drastic policy and institutional reforms are needed to
deal with grand corruption," in Africa and internationally because
corruption is a worldwide problem.

That is just one important point stressed in a paper co-authored by
two Africans presented February 23 at a one-day anti-corruption
conference here at the World Bank co-sponsored by the Global Coalition
on Africa (GCA) and the U.S. Department of State.

Former Tanzanian Prime Minister and Minister of Justice Joseph S.
Warioba and Frederick Werema, Tanzania's acting director of
constitutional affairs and human rights, collaborated on the paper
entitled "Principles and Guidelines to Combat Corruption."

In their paper, presented by Werema, the two Africans stressed that
"Difficulties arising out of broad-based reforms should not be used as
an excuse for delay in tackling corruption."

Representatives from 11 African countries were present at the World
Bank, along with their counterparts from Europe and others
representing international organizations, to draft a convention to
combat corruption in Africa.

The African representatives also were in Washington to attend the
February 24-26 "International Conference on Fighting Corruption and
Safeguarding Integrity Among Justice and Security Officials," hosted
by Vice-President Al Gore at the State Department. African Countries
represented at the GCA event included Benin, Botswana, Ethiopia,
Ghana, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania and

Following is the text of the Warioba/Werema paper:



Prepared by Frederick Werema and Joseph S. Warioba

It is generally agreed that the crusade and measures against
corruption be undertaken simultaneously with the more general national
efforts to improve economic governance. The reforms should be seen as
neither a necessary nor sufficient condition for eliminating
corruption. Difficulties arising out of broad based reforms should not
be used as an excuse for delay in tackling corruption.

At the national level concerted efforts are required to address the
causes of corruption and take effective action against all its
manifestations. The levels of this action for a short-term would be:

(a) Systematic reforms geared towards addressing underlying weaknesses
in policy, administration and politics, and create a strong economic
base conducive to elimination of corruption;

(b) Formulate a specific and focussed national anti-corruption
strategy upon which the war against corruption would be based.

In many African countries corruption is very pervasive. Petty
corruption is rampant in the provision of social and economic
services. Bribery is very common in medical services, schools, courts,
licensing institutions, the police etc. It is the ordinary people who
suffer most under petty corruption. High officials are normally not
solicited to bribe in order to see a doctor for consultation or
treatment, to register children in school or to obtain some permit.
The ordinary people are, however, compelled on numerous occasions to
bribe in order to obtain basic services.

The common man does not have full protection from public institutions
because in those institutions there are corrupt officials. In many
cases when an individual reports to law enforcement officials about a
corrupt official the alleged corrupt official will be informed by his
fellow officials to whom the report is made either for purposes of
soliciting bribe or because the law enforcement officials and the
culprit are part of the same corrupt system.

With regard to large scale corruption the resources lost through
corruption would have been spent on programs and projects for the
advancement of the people, the vast majority of whom are poor people
in the rural and urban areas. The result is that rural roads are
poorly constructed or not well-maintained, drugs are in short supply
at dispensaries and clinics, water systems are poor etc. Even when
investment is discouraged as a result of corruption the real sufferers
are the common people. In addition the repayment of foreign loans
becomes a burden to the tax payers, including the poor.

One of the causes of corruption among officials commonly advanced is
the inadequate remuneration of public officials. This includes
officials working in rural areas where such officials live above the
poverty line while the majority live below the poverty line. So
bribery is exacted from those who have nothing by those who have

The perversity of bribery and the lack of protection from authorities
have created public apathy towards corruption. The ordinary people
cannot get services without bribing and they also feel the authorities
condone corruption. In the circumstances they scrap whatever they can
manage and bribe, sometimes without being solicited. This mindset has
created a belief and expectation that the public is also entitled to
inducement whenever they are expected to perform some duty or exercise
a right. Thus during elections voters expect to be bribed by
candidates and political parties. As a result corruption is growing
into a culture in many countries and corrupt people can easily be
elected in positions of leadership, including the higher levels of

The truth of the matter is that the public has withdrawn and taken an
apathetic stance because of the perception that the political
leadership does not take an active role in combating corruption and
other vices. They believe corruption is perpetrated and condoned by
the leadership in the government, political parties and by every state
organ including the judiciary which is an institution responsible for
dispensation of justice and upholding the rule of law; the police who
are responsible for the preservation of law and order; and the public
delivery of services generally. It is not difficult to understand the
reason for the level of apathy if the leadership is perceived to be
non- committal; or if the public cast doubts on the integrity and
sincerity of their leaders.

Flowing from the above the real stakeholders in efforts to eradicate
corruption are the common people and consequently a meaningful
strategy to combat corruption must involve them. Such strategy must
include measures to deal with the current mindset.

In terms of amount of resources huge sums of money are lost through
large scale corruption perpetrated by high officials. The causes of
grand corruption are poor economic policies, discretion, cumbersome
regulations and procedures (red tape) and lack of transparency and
lack of accountability. The result of all this is bribery, favoritism,
nepotism, embezzlement of public funds, waste of resources and,
generally, lack of good governance.

Drastic policy and institutional reforms are needed to deal with grand
corruption. Since corruption has become a global problem, to fight it
international cooperation and collaboration is important. The starting
point is however national action. International action against
corruption will of necessity concentrate on international relations
and the global economy. Indeed most of the current action at
international level has impact on the leveling of the playing ground
for competition at global level. This strategy will not succeed unless
the playing field is level at the national level. It is therefore
suggested that the starting point in combating corruption must start
at the national level.

Circumstances vary from one country to another. Regional and
international measures must be adjusted to the conditions existing in
each country. However, the issue of national leadership and economic
strength of each country transcends national borders, regional and
global alignment. Practices that are regarded as corrupt in some
countries are tolerated in others. For instance, the American Foreign
Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) prohibits bribery of foreign officials
for the purposes of obtaining or retaining business. It provides for
severe criminal penalties including fines and imprisonment. This law
tolerates goodwill payments to persons holding ministerial jobs for
facilitation of paper processing on the basis that they are not based
on quid pro quo. Such payments are referred to as "greasing payments"
and are not criminalized. In developing countries such payments form
the bulk of public complaints and have adverse impact on social and
economic development.

The arguments for the sustainability of anti-corruption drive within
countries as made above are:

(a) That the efforts must be internally driven and the public and
civic society must be mobilized and their confidence in the
administration restored;

(b) That the leadership must be committed to fight corruption and
leaders integrity and moral standing must be unquestionable. Leaders
should avoid conflicts of interest between their public office and
private endeavors;

(c) That systems must be created to spearhead the war against
corruption on the basis of tripartite cooperation-operation and
collaboration between the government, civic society and business
community. This entails issues of transparency, accountability and
open-mindedness in all sectors.

(d) That in order to achieve what is stated in above, legislative
measures be taken, rules and regulations be promulgated in the most
simple language to guide the war against corruption. In this regard,
codes of conduct for different professions should be promulgated if
there are none or reviewed if out dated. Members of the professions
should be encouraged to do so.

(e) That monitoring and enforcement systems be enhanced or created
where they do not exist. Enforcement of the law; rules; regulations
and codes is the most important measure that can revive public
confidence and prove to the public that corrupt people do not benefit
from the proceeds of corruption. Corruption should not be regarded as
an incentive but generally that "it does not pay".

In summary the following general principles are suggested: 

1. Each country should undertake systematic reforms to correct
weakness in policy, administration and governance generally. This
includes meaningful economic reforms. Such reforms should be
diligently undertaken and carefully monitored. There should be checks
and balances as experience shows that the reforms could be influenced
and affected by corruption.

2. Governments should develop a national good governance strategy
focusing on the eradication of corruption. The strategy must be
nationally owned and popularly supported by those with the strongest
resentment against corruption, that is the general public.

3. The national strategy should be comprehensive, have clear
objectives, expressed in clear and simple language and accessible to
the majority of people. It should address specific issues, providing
milestones of activities, phasing and interphasing of activities as
well as indicating forward and backward linkages.

4. Effective instruments should be created for implementation of the
strategy and there should be mechanisms for the monitoring of

5. States should establish programs to mobilize popular support by the
people against corruption, including mechanism for the general
participation of the public and civil society in the formulation,
execution and monitoring of anti-corruption programs and measures.

6. There should be established mechanisms for the public to submit
allegations of corruption and corrupt practices such as independent
commissions. Informants and witnessed should be protected in order to
move towards the elimination of the mindset that corruption is

7. Reform of local government should be undertaken, where necessary,
in order to empower people to fight corruption. Those who suffer most
are the ordinary people, so they need to have power to deal with
corruption at their level.

8. Good and committed leadership is a necessary condition to success.
Government needs to demonstrate necessary leadership and political
will to fight corruption. Integrity and honesty in leadership is
essential. Governments should therefore establish codes of conduct and
guidelines which should include provisions for declaration of assets
and gifts by leaders and disclosure of conflict of interest. Political
accountability should be clearly elaborated.

9. Governments should undertake reform to reduce rent-seeking
opportunities and policy-induced scarcities. This should include
reduction of political discretion and bureaucratic controls and
simplification of regulations and procedures to remove red tape.

10. Administrative reform should be undertaken by Government to
restore the morale and integrity of public service. This should
include regulations for merit-based recruitment and promotion,
adequate benefits, including remuneration and pension schemes and
capacity building.

11. The independence and integrity of the judiciary is of crucial
importance. States should review their legal regimes and carry out
reforms to maintain the independence of the judiciary and restore high
standards of integrity, honesty and commitment in the dispensation of
12. Corruption is a serious offense. Governments should adopt laws
which will deal with corruption offenses effectively. Laws should
impose severe penalties, make provision for seizure, forfeiture or
confiscation of property acquired through corruption and blacklisting
of persons or business entities convicted of corruption or corrupt

13. Anti-corruption agencies are very useful in fighting corruption.
Such agencies should be autonomous and operationally independent and
free from interference in the discharge of their functions. Those
agencies should have power to initiate and conduct investigations and
prosecute offenders. The establishment of anti-corruption agencies
should not however detract from the traditional law enforcement
agencies which should be strengthened in their functions.

14. One of the most important tools in fighting corruption is
transparency. Without transparency it will be impossible to eradicate
corruption. Governments should review regulations and procedures to
make them simple and clear of bureaucratic red tape, especially in
areas such as public procurement. The use of open and competitive
bidding for government contracts should be strengthened and provision
should be made for the challenge of an award of a contract by a losing
bidder should there be lack of transparency or suspected corrupt

15. Transparency will also enable the public to effectively
participate in the fight against corruption. Freedom of the press is
an important ingredient in the general crusade against corruption.
Freedom of the press and freedom of expression enable the public to
express; seek; receive; and impart or disseminate information and
ideas on corruption. Investigative journalism will identify or reveal
corrupt transactions done under the carpet or contracts that are made
without taking the greater public interests into account. It is
therefore suggested that the right to information should be guaranteed
in the laws of each state, including provisions in the constitution of
the country if necessary. This will enable:

(i) Disclosure and examination of public finances by the people
through parliamentary scrutiny;

(ii)  Media access to information regarding government finances.

(iii) Publication of information on government audit reports and
evaluations of projects.

(iv) Laying before legislatures all important international
agreements, including agreements with international financial

International Cooperation

16. Since corruption has become a global problem it is important to
promote regional and international cooperation in fighting it. One way
to promote such cooperation is to adopt a convention with provisions
which include all or most of the above principles. In addition at the
regional level states can cooperate by harmonizing laws and
procedures, render mutual assistance in investigations and
prosecutions, including extradition, establish mechanisms for the
exchange of ideas, information and intelligence on anti-corruption
techniques and cooperate in training.

17. Corruption is criminalized in many countries. Many countries
engage in mutual assistance in criminal matters. At the international
or regional level therefore, governments should establish a mechanism
for cooperation. Prominence in such an arrangement should not only be
given to grand corruption but also to petty corruption or "grease"
payments as are known in some countries. The following could be the
scheme of international cooperation:

(a) Assistance in obtaining evidence; documents; articles; records
that are suspected to be in one country;

(b) Assistance in investigation; forfeiture and confiscation of
property in respect of proceeds of corruption, and enforcement of
forfeiture orders;

(c)  Assistance in search and seizure and

(d) Freezing of assets or interdicting of dealings in property
suspected to have been corruptly acquired;

18. International cooperation-operation is also required in detection
of corruption in international business transactions, procurement etc.
This is where leaders and decision making authorities are influenced
to make decisions that are not compatible with national interests. In
particular, the following measures should be taken:

(a) Cooperation arrangements (at the regional or global level) should
provide for standards or conduct for those holding public offices;

(b) Cooperation schemes should detail systems of government
procurement of goods and services that assure transparency, equity and
efficiency. These systems must be harmonized or where this is not
possible, approximated for the purposes of consistency;

(c) The arrangements or convention should have provisions that require
states to make provisions in their internal income tax laws to deny
tax deductions in or favorable tax treatment for expenditures made
contrary to anti-corruption provisions;

19. International arms trade is perceived to be a source of grand
corruption. This area is surrounded by secrecy, commissions and
bribes. International cooperation is required to cleanse arms trade
from corruption.

20. International mechanism for cooperation should contain provisions
on reporting obligations on efforts and measures that an individual
country has or undertakes to do to stamp out corruption. The mechanism
should also allow non-governmental organizations to participate in
reporting incidences of corruption.