According to the World Economic Forum Report, globally the cost of corruption is at least $2.6 trillion, sum it up to say, 5% of the world’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is left to lose to corruption. And no country, state or nation is immune to the negative impacts of corruption. It is on this premise that corruption is to be perceived a public enemy number 01! thus it requires collective efforts to combat this phenomena. Corruption undermines every developmental agenda; ranging from the social development, economic development, political development democracy and human rights. In 2018, the African Union pledged and dedicated the year to combating corruption in Africa, but how far have we come?
The Gambia for one what are we doing to combat corruption? When the Anti-Corruption Bill has been dragging until recent it was passed to the parliament. Hence, this only indicates how low the political commitment of our government is in their resolve to combat corruption. Corruption is a cancer that takes its host through unethical behaviors, such as bribery siphoning of public funds and using positions or authority to influence and embezzle. Bribing police, the judge and public office holders in a bid to secure a favor or be exonerated of a crime, is the most common form of corruption widely practices, especially in Africa.
Corruption is like the tango, you need two for the show, the one doing the corrupt act and the one accepting the corrupt act or benefitting from the act. For instance, bribery is done when two parties are involved; the police man who accepts bribes from a criminal to escape prosecution, the police man who accepts bribes to let a driver walks, whose vehicle is either not road worthy or their license registration is invalid. Such deceit and unscrupulous acts are amongst the fueling factors of corruption. It is in Gambia public office holders such as presidents, ministers and other public authorities use their position to plunder or siphoned public funds of tax payer’s money, either build mansions or organize fanfare to deceive or entice masses for votes, what a deceit?
electorates who sanctify corrupt officials and celebrate ill gotten wealth are the part of the problems aiding corruption in our societies in Africa – such as in Gambia.
Corruption also takes place when authorities use their position to influence policies and public institutions that are suppose to hold them to account; for example when the executive arm of the government has influence over the legislative arm, or when the judiciary is compromise by the president. These misdemeanors going unpunished is the reason corruption becomes a norm in our public institutions. Moreover, electorates who sanctify corrupt officials and celebrate ill gotten wealth are part of the problems aiding corruption in our societies in Africa – such as in Gambia. So to extricate, dissect and get rid off this venom called corruption, we need gt out of our comfort zones and mobilize collective efforts. Let’s question every wealth accumulated by our public officers, let’s demand for information on the budgets and other relevant public finance management systems for transparency and accountability.
May I remind us that, without transparency and accountability, corruption cannot be contained. Most importantly, impunity has to be trashed if the goal of combating corruption is to be achieved. I ask this question, if there are no sanctions against corrupt officials, such as prosecution and dismissal or termination of service as a public servant and protection of whistleblowers, we would only continue to bark against corruption but shall never be able to bite it out.