Brazil corruption conference report-UNCAC tools to fight corruption

GOOD NEWS FROM THE 15th. INTERNATIONAL ANTI-CORRUPTION CONFERENCE HELD IN BRASILIA, BRAZIL FROM THE 7th. TO 10th. OF NOVEMBER 2012.

Kenya stands to benefit a lot from the United Nations Convention Against Corruption. But it must first register with the United Nations Convention against Corruption [UNCAC] and allow for the "Open Contracting" in order to effectively challenge and possibly stop the rooted culture of corruption which has affected all spheres of life of almost every Kenyan. The Kikimo Foundation for Corruption and Poverty Eradication supports the proper application of the tools at the UNCAC by honest and transparent Kenyans, and without any doubts, corruption and the impunity surrounding it, will disappear, although the donor nations and other nations which provide the looters of public funds with the hideout for their stolen money, have to do their part.

After attending the 15th. International Anti-Corruption Conference held in Brasilia, Brazil from 7th. of November to 10th. of November 2012, and after participating in a number of sessions organized at the conference, I am convinced that, in order for Kenyans to get rid of corruption, the Nation should be registered with the UNCAC and allow for "Open Contracting," so that all the revenue leaving Kenya, can be monitored by UNCAC. Also with the help of the "Open Contracting," the Civil Society and other interested Kenyans will be able to monitor all transactions related to the award of contracts and any other documents with records of financial transactions concerning contracts.

The United Nations Convention Against Corruption [ UNCAC ] has derived various methods and mechanism which if used in the right way, may contain corruption in Kenya. The UNCAC was adopted in 2003 and entered into force in December 2005. UNCAC article 13 requires states parties to take appropriate measures including to promote the active participation of individuals and groups outside the public sector in the prevention of and the fight against corruption and to strength that participation by measures such as enhancing the transparency of and promote the contribution of the public in decision making processes and ensuring that the public has effective access to information; and respecting, promoting and protecting the freedom to seek, receive, publish and disseminate information concerning corruption. Further articles call on each state to develop anti-corruption policies that promote the participation of society (Article 5) ; and to enhance transparency in their public administration (Article 10). Article 63 (4) (c) requires the conference of states parties to agree on the procedures and methods of work, including co-operation with relevant non-governmental organization.

In accordance with resolution 3/1 on the review mechanism and the annex on terms of reference for the mechanism, all states parties provide information to the conference secretariat on their compliance with the convention, based upon a comprehensive self-assessment checklist. In addition, state parties participate in a review conducted by two other States Parties on their compliance with the convention. The reviewing state parties then prepare a country review report in close cooperation and coordination with the state party under review and finalize it upon agreement. The result is full review report and an executive summary, the latter of which is required to be published. The Secretariat, based upon the country review report, is then required to compile the most common and relevant information on successes, good practices, challenges, observations and technical assistance needs contained in the technical review reports and include them, organized by theme, in a thematic implementation report and regional supplementary agenda for submission to the Implementation Review Group. The terms of reference call for government to conduct broad consultation with stakeholders during preparation of the self-assessment and to facilitate engagement with stakeholders if a country visit is undertaken by the review team.

The inclusive of civil society in the UNCAC review process is of crucial importance for accountability and transparency as well as for the credibility and effectiveness of the review process. Thus, civil society organization around the world are actually seeking to contribute to this process in different ways. As part of a project on enhancing civil society’s role in monitoring corruption funded by United Nations fund (UNDEF), Transparency international has offered small groups, for civil society organization (CSOs) engaged in monitoring and advocating around the UNCAC review process, aimed at supporting the preparation of UNCAC implementation review reports by CSOs, for input into the review process.

The "Open Contracting" is indeed very important for Kenya as a productive method to counter corruption in the Country, because this is exactly where the civil society can be fully engaged in a successful Anti-Corruption strategy. But in most of the sessions, nothing was said about those nations which provided venues to hide the looted public funds. The failure to address the participation of some rich Nations in corruption which has caused a lot of suffering to many people in the developing nations, drove me into a controversy, because the degree of the crime committed by the looters of public funds and the degree of the crime committed by the Nations which provide them with venues to hide the money, is the same. Those Nations deserve the same condemnation and blame.

The United Nations convention against corruption is very clear in articles 15, 16, 17, 20 and 23 on domestic bribery, foreign bribery, embezzlement, illicit enrichment and laundering of the proceeds of corruption, whereby the penal code criminalizes the bribery of domestic and foreign government officials, both active and passive UNCAC article 15 (a), 15 (b) 16. Embezzlement and misappropriation of public goods (UNCAC Article 17), illicit enrichment of public officials [UNCAC Article 20] and money commandeering linked to any previous wrongful act (UNCAC article 23).

The Kikimo Foundation for Corruption and Poverty Eradication is considering the possibilities of conducting a seminar to prepare Kenyans for the application of these tools to fight corruption in Kenya.
Isaac Newton Kinity.
Former Secretary General
Kenya Civil Servants Union and Current Chairman
Kikimo Foundation for Corruption and Poverty Eradication.

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