Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta has vowed to intensify measures against transnational crime and corruption which he said cannot be tackled without cross-institutional and cross-border cooperation.
Kenyatta called for a multi-agency approach, saying transnational organized crime networks exploit legitimate public institutions.
“Preventing and combating transnational organized crime demands a concentrated cooperative effort by all actors in the prevention, investigation, prosecution, and asset recovery segments of the justice chain,” he said in the coastal city of Mombasa when he officially opened the Fourth Regional Conference of African and Indian Ocean Prosecutors and the Eastern Africa Association of Africa Conference.
“It is critical that we maintain (an) open dialogue, both formal and informal, and continue working in close partnerships,” he said and expressed Kenya’s commitment to participating in joint efforts to fight the vice.
Kenyatta called on African nations to increase investment in the war against corruption and transnational organized crimes to curb the loss of resources that would otherwise be used for the continent’s development.
He cited estimates by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) showing Africa loses roughly 88.8 billion U.S. dollars in illegal financial flows each year, which translates into 3.7 percent of its gross domestic product (GDP). He said that the Eastern Africa region had adopted bilateral and multilateral agreements toward mutually investigating and prosecuting emerging transnational crimes.
“This empirical evidence demonstrates clearly why the war against corruption and, indeed, transnational organized crime, is a worthy investment. The resources Africa is losing would otherwise greatly benefit her development agenda and enable us to create an even more glorious future for its citizens,” Kenyatta said.
He called on Africa’s criminal justice systems to adopt a proactive approach to identifying, tracing, freezing and confiscating proceeds of crime in a bid to remove the financial incentive and monetary benefits of crime.
Kenyatta said there was a need for continuous education and training to bolster expertise and knowledge in the identification and prevention of criminal activities owing to the complex and evolving nature of crime, calling for governance reforms in public sector institutions, cooperation in border security and creation of public awareness on transnational crime as a national security threat in order to enlist citizen participation.
The conference was attended by judges and directors of public prosecutions from Tanzania, Uganda, Malawi, Mauritius and Ghana, as well as representatives of public prosecution offices from across the African continent.
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