Political Will Needed to Fight Corruption in Government

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BYLINE: DOMINIQUE HERMAN

WITHOUT the political will to fight corruption, a government's legislative or executive branch might block systems and organisations put in place to hold people in public life accountable.

"If there's no political will to fight corruption, you're just wasting time," said Ngozi Okonjo Iweala, former Nigerian minister of finance and foreign affairs.

She was addressing the week-long Vital Voices Pan-African Leadership Summit for Women and Girls which opened in the city yesterday.

"To begin to even fight it and get people to believe something is going to happen, you have to make information available (to civil society)," she added.

Iweala described the publication in Nigeria of the government's revenue sources as well as officials' salaries and expenses as a "powerful force" in combating corruption.

Corruption, when it existed, was often embedded in a country's economy, so fighting it was an "integral part of development efforts", she said.

A neglected subject was the role developed countries played in fostering corruption in developing countries: demand from developed countries was fuelling supply in developing countries.

Meg Taylor, compliance adviser/ombudsman for the International Finance Corp-oration/World Bank Group, said that in her country - Papua New Guinea - a leadership code had been set up by an ombudsmen commission. …