By Yerima Kini Nsom
The Minister Delegate at the Presidency in charge of Supreme State Audit, Henri Eyebe Ayissi, says the participation of citizens in the control of the management and use of public funds is vital for effective checks and balance.
He made the remark during the fifth General Assembly of the African Forum of Inspector General Offices, AFIGO, and the third International Symposium of African Forum of the Inspector General Offices that opened in Yaounde on September 9. Eyebe Ayissi spoke in his capacity as AFIGO Vice President.
He said AFIGO with headquarters in Djibouti, is an umbrella outfit that brings together administrative control missions in Africa. Its aim, he said, is to facilitate concentration between representatives of Inspectors general offices in Africa. They share experiences in promoting governance, transparency and cooperation among audit institutions.
Given the challenges that face the effective control of the use of State funds, Eyebe Ayissi, said it was incumbent on civil society organisations to be part of the checks and balances.
One of the resource persons at the occasion was an official of the European Bureau for Anti-Fraud Fight popularly known by its French acronym as OLAF, Daniel Larossi. He presented a paper on the importance of cooperation between control administrative services in the fight against fraud. He said the essence of effective control was to ensure that funds allocated for development projects in the various countries are used only for general good purposes. To achieve this, he went on, it was absolutely necessary for the various actors to cooperate so as to map out better strategies to fight fraud and corruption.
Officials of the European Investment Bank, Loretti Marco and Sabrina Mancini, said the investment climate will be more attractive in the various countries if execution of investment projects are corruption free. To them, corruption and fraud constitute a bane to local and foreign investments.
The Deputy Inspector General of Angola, Beatrice Fernandes, lauded the EU commission for bankrolling the meeting that will examine the recommendations and evaluation of the AFIGO last General Assembly.
During the meeting a Regional adviser at the United Nations Development Programme, UNDP, Njoya Tikum, harped on the role of audit control institutions in efforts to fight corruption and recover state funds. Some two international lawyers from London and Dubai, Peter Gray and Gibson Dunn respectively, presented papers on the initiation of litigation on corruption cases.
Preventing the embezzlement of public funds is healthy for the development of Africa. According to the Pan African Lawyers Association, PALU, about USD 500 billion of illegal financial outflows are stacked in foreign banks by corrupt officials from Africa yearly. This is a pointer to the fact that many unscrupulous officials in the various African countries line their private pockets with public funds with impunity at the expense of the general good.