Sunday, July 03, 2022

Corruption Across the African Continent

  From Malawi to South Africa and Zimbabwe, from Angola to Mozambique and Namibia, in countries across Africa high-ranking civil servants and their relatives, in cahoots with industry and business leaders, seem to have long been shamelessly stealing from the long-suffering masses.

Malawi’s President Lazarus Chakwera fired the country’s chief of police, suspended several senior government officials and also took the extraordinary step of stripping his deputy, Saulos Chilima, of all powers after they were accused of receiving kickbacks from UK-based businessman Zuneth Sattar in exchange for government contracts worth more than $150m. Chakwera had to dissolve the country’s cabinet after three prominent ministers – Lands Minister Kezzie Msukwa, Labour Minister Ken Kandodo and Energy Minister Newton Kambala – faced corruption charges. Last year, acting UN Resident Coordinator Rudolf Schwenk said Malawi is unable to provide its citizens with “effective healthcare, quality education, accessible justice and an accountable and responsive democracy” because of high levels of corruption.

South Africa’s Chief Justice Raymond Zondo released the final instalment of the Judicial Commission of Inquiry into State Capture and found that the ruling African National Congress party, under Zuma, “permitted, supported and enabled corruption and state capture”. Former President Jacob Zuma and a plethora of former ministers and CEOs of state-owned companies systematically planned and executed state capture to aid the wealthy Gupta family and line their pockets. South Africa, meanwhile, is experiencing electric blackouts, largely because corruption and gross mismanagement have debilitated state utility Eskom. The country is experiencing this lack of reliable energy amid an unemployment crisis – today, a record 7.9 million South Africans are believed to be jobless.

In Zimbabwe, Kudakwashe Tagwirei, a businessman allied to President Emmerson Mnangagwa, stands accused of amassing $90m through a shady central bank deal.

In Mozambique, ex-President Armando Guebuza’s son, Ndambi, former Finance Minister Manuel Chang, and several other senior governing party members stand accused of participating in the disappearance of loans – taken out to finance maritime surveillance, fishing, and shipyard projects – worth $2.2bn.

In Namibia, former Fisheries Minister Bernhardt Esau and former Justice Minister Sacky Shanghala stand accused of taking bribes worth millions of dollars from an Icelandic fishing company.

In Angola, Isabel dos Santos, the daughter of Angola’s former President José Eduardo dos Santos, is being accused of making billions of dollars through illicit activities.

The UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) estimates that Africa loses about $88.6bn, or 3.7 per cent of its gross domestic product (GDP), annually in illicit financial flows. 

Many countries topping Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index, such as Sudan, Equatorial Guinea, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Chad, Burundi, Somalia, the Republic of the Congo and South Sudan are all in Africa.

The only thing that changed in recent years is the fact that, due to a public awakening about the harms of corruption, most African politicians are now feeling the need to announce their determination to fight corruption during their electoral campaigns. These election promises, however, seldom transfer into action. Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari, for example, ran for office on an anti-corruption ticket in 2015, but Nigerians believe corruption has, in fact, mushroomed.

Corruption: Africa’s undeclared pandemic | Corruption | Al Jazeera

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