African Development Bank establishes Africa Integrity Fund

Abidjan (Ivory Coast), Nov 12 (IANS) In response to the challenges facing RMCs in the fight against corruption, the Board of Directors of the African Development Bank (AfDB) approved the establishment of the Africa Integrity Fund (AIF).

The Fund, proposed by the Bank’s Integrity and Anti-Corruption Department (IACD), will finance programmes which contribute to the prevention, detection, investigation and sanctioning of corruption, the AfDB said in a statement, MAP news agency reported on Saturday.

The Fund will equally support measures supporting the repatriation of stolen assets and alleviating the financial drain from illicit outflows on the Bank’s Regional Member Countries (RMCs), thereby strengthening transparency and accountability in the management of public resources.

Target beneficiaries of grants under the Fund include law enforcement agencies, public audit institutions, tax authorities and other African governmental bodies, civil society organisations, research and educational institutions, among others.

Entities found engaged in corrupt activities and other forms of misconduct following IACD investigations voluntarily agreed to enter into settlement agreements with the Bank.

The AIF will be financed exclusively through the collection of financial penalties deriving from such settlements, totalling approximately $55.25 million. Presently, $33 million of the amount is currently lodged in the Bank’s escrow account.

“We must have zero-tolerance for corruption, be it internal or external. We have to tighten our systems thoroughly,” AfDB President Akinwumi Adesina said after the Board’s approval of the AIF.

IACD Director Anna Bossman added: “With the adoption of the AIF, financial penalties resulting from the Bank’s sanctions regime are re-invested into anti-corruption measures. We are confident that the AIF will become a model for others.”