By Temitope Ponle
Abuja, April 14, 2021 (NAN) The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the African Development Bank (AfDB) have increased efforts in tackling corruption and bribery among businesses in Africa.
This was the outcome of the joint OECD/AfDB virtual roundtable tagged “Corporate Anti-corruption Compliance in Africa: Practices, Challenges and the Way Forward” held on Wednesday.
Mr Patrick Moulette, Head of the Anti-Corruption Division, Directorate for Financial and Enterprise Affairs, OECD, said it was important to intensify efforts to combat corruption and incorporate integrity while preparing for economic recovery.
Moulette noted that in spite of Africa becoming a globalised market, the high perception of corruption continued to undermine investors’ confidence and business environment.
He said that the OECD had a convention against corruption, worldwide, which included 44 state participants.
“The only African country that has ratified this convention is South Africa. The Convention still assists non-member countries.
“OECD has developed standards to promote corporate integrity and in compliance with anti-corruption legislation.
He also said the joint OECD/AfDB initiative for combating corruption in Africa included about 21 continental economies aimed at promoting equitable competition in businesses.
He added that the initiative also encouraged compliance with international best practices against corruption, for integrity and for accountability.
Moulette said that the meeting would take stock of the level of compliance, how corruption had been combated and measures in place by local and international businesses in Africa.
He noted that attention would be on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the risks regarding integrity and anti-corruption practices.
“The crisis has highlighted new challenges regarding anti-bribery combat and we have seen how compliance and prevention mechanisms have been challenged by new unexpected events.”
Also, Mrs Paula Santos Da Costa, Acting Director, Office of Integrity and Anti-Corruption, AfDB Group, said the pandemic had redefined production methods in the business world.
“This led to increased digitisation which led to a new type of fraud and corruption.
“The responses to these new challenges led to innovative solutions and cooperation in knowledge of societies, legal environments and new technology.”
Santos Da Costa noted that the bank’s partnership with OECD launched a joint initiative to support African governments in their efforts to combat corruption, improve integrity and business cooperation.
“Over the years, the initiative has mobilised enterprises and African decision makers and offered technical support to the private sector to improve integrity standards and accountability for businesses.
“The integrity of our business partners is of pivotal importance.
“The bank must make sure that its resources given to its partners must be properly used for the contribution of economic development and social progress of member countries by promoting development in public and private sectors.”
She stressed the importance of enhancing the responsibility, transparency and management of businesses to reduce fraud, corruption and protect the African business environment.
She added that the bank supported African countries with reinforcing their legal systems, procurement processes, and improvement of knowledge competencies.
She said that the bank also provided technical support to companies to improve their governance systems and make them eligible for the bank’s financing.
The AfDB representative noted that the bank had a bureau in place to check corrupt practices among its partners or persons.
“In case of fraud or corruption suspected with companies or persons, the Bureau of Integrity and Anti-Corruption of the bank initiates investigation of allegations.
“If those allegations are founded, such entities or persons will be barred from any project or activity financed by the bank.”
The meeting aimed to review the actions taken by African companies to promote effective corporate compliance programmes, emphasising challenges, successes, and lessons learnt.
OECD, AfDB enhance anti-corruption, anti-bribery in businesses
By Temitope Ponle