Regional Anti-corruption agencies say corruption continues to derail access to justice and basic services in countries like South Sudan.
They primarily blamed bribery within government institutions as the leading impediment to access to basic services.
A meeting of anti-graft agencies from Kenya, Burundi, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania, and Uganda noted that corruption and institutional weaknesses allow impunity to reign and undermine the rule of law in the region.
A report by The Sentry in 2021 identified Kenya as the leading destination for money laundering from South Sudan.
It said corrupt politicians in South Sudan purchased luxury properties in the neighboring country and set up joint business ventures with local partners and used local banks to transfer their money.
The gathering by anti-graft agencies held in Nairobi this week underscored the need to deepen the fight to end corruption post the coronavirus pandemic.
In June last year, the Kenyan Asset Recovery Agency froze two bank accounts belonging to a senior minister in South Sudan.
The accounts contained more than $124,000 and had reportedly made several suspicious transactions and a transfer of half a million US dollars between them.
According to the agency, the minister’s accounts had several suspicious transactions, including a transfer of half a million US dollars – prompting the move to freeze them.
An Anti-corruption court, however, lifted the freeze order saying the money in question was not proceeds of crime but legitimate remittances from the Minister’s bank accounts in Juba.
On Wednesday, Kenya’s Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission said it will continue to work with all partners to identify, expose and stem out culprits and cartels.
For its part, the East African Association of Anti-Corruption Authorities said the establishment of the Asset Recovery Inter-Agency Network for Eastern Africa has greatly supported the tracing and recovery of assets within and outside the region.
The interagency network pledged to advance collaborations over critical information with foreign jurisdictions during trans-border investigations.
The annual general meetings of the East African Association of Anti-Corruption Authorities and the Asset Recovery Inter-Agency Network for Eastern Africa concluded yesterday.
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