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World losing $2.6trn annually to corruption—KERRY

By Henry Umoru, with agency report,

ABUJA—The U.S. Secretary of State, John Kerry, yesterday said the world lost  $2.6 trillion to corruption annually.

President Buhari and  John Kerry
President Buhari and John Kerry

This came on a day  Liberian Vice President, Joseph Nyuma Boakai, also disclosed that over $148 billion was lost yearly to corruption in Africa, adding that much of this was perpetrated by public officials serving in democratically elected governments.

Kerry made this known when he visited the Sultan of Sokoto, Sa’ad Abubakar III, in his palace in Sokoto.

He said the money being lost to corruption across the world was enough to provide decent livelihood for people.

“This is money that can be used to improve the living standard and provide decent livelihoods for them.  Corruption is not only a crime, but also very dangerous and it must be tamed,” he said.

Commending President Muhammadu Buhari for his efforts in fighting corruption in Nigeria, Kerry pointed out that corrupt officials anywhere in the world were crooks.

He said Buhari understood the danger of corruption in a country, and that Nigeria was already a regional leader in the fight against corruption.

“Nigeria is also a role model in the ongoing global efforts to fight corruption,” he stated, and acknowledged measures being applied by Buhari to entrench morality, transparency, honesty and good governance in the country.

Mr. Kerry particularly commended the Federal Government for its efforts at recovering stolen funds, stressing that there was need for all government institutions, including military, other security agencies and the judiciary, to support the anti-corruption campaign.

“U.S. is also fully committed to fighting corruption and the entrenchment of good governance globally.  One of Nigeria’s strength is diversity of culture and religious tolerance.

“The former leaders of the defunct Sokoto caliphate and others like the late Sir Ahmadu Bello had stood by the virtues of peace, unity and tolerance,” he said.

On insurgency in Nigeria, Mr. Kerry also commended the government’s determination to combat the menace and other crimes across the country.

Condemning terrorism in the country, he said: “Boko Haram boasts no agenda more than to burn schools.

“They also kill and maim people, especially teachers, and it is the opposite of any religion.”

Meanwhile, Liberian Vice President, Joseph Nyuma Boakai, disclosed yesterday that over $148 billion was lost annually to corruption in Africa, noting that much of it was perpetrated by public office holders.

Speaking yesterday in Abuja during the Nelson Mandela International Roundtable on Political Developments in Africa, organized by the Save Democracy Africa Group, SDG-Africa, Boakai also urged African leaders to stop manipulating their countries’ constitutions to perpetuate themselves in power.

The Vice President, who gave the keynote speech on  African Democracy, Constitution and leadership Emergence Pattern, called on African leaders to  discourage tradition of tribal, ethnic and religious cleavages  that tended to create disharmony in the nation state and stifle popular participation.

He said:   “Corruption and impunity at the highest level are a sign that the balance of power still sits firmly with those in office, and not—as it should be those who vote them in.

‘’According to the African Union, more than $148bn (£93bn) is lost to corruption in Africa every year. Much of this is perpetrated by and through public officials serving in democratically elected governments.

“We must institutionalize the peaceful transfer of power in Africa, develop and build institutions and discourage the tradition of tribal, ethnic and religious cleavages that create disharmony in the nation state and stifle popular participation.

“We must respond to the needs of our people by encouraging systems that distribute justice, create and re-distribute wealth as well as provide basic services, such as education, health, agriculture. This must go along with the proper management of our endowed natural resources in an accountable and transparent manner.’’


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