In response to the challenges facing Regional Member Countries (RMCs) in the fight against corruption and in line with the institution’s priorities, the Board of Directors of the African Development Bank on Wednesday, November 9, 2016, approved the establishment of the Africa Integrity Fund (AIF).
The Fund, proposed by the Bank’s Integrity and Anti-Corruption Department (IACD), will finance programs which contribute to the prevention, detection, investigation and sanctioning of corruption. The Fund will equally support measures supporting the repatriation of stolen assets and alleviating the financial drain from illicit outflows on the Bank’s 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 organizations, 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, totaling approximately US $55.25 million. Presently, US $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.”
The AIF is an innovative instrument providing the Bank with an additional platform to address development priorities in its RMCs in the area of anti-corruption without tapping into traditional donor funds. It allows the Bank to fulfill its commitment to RMCs to support their efforts to improve the performance of anti-corruption agencies in preventing, investigating and sanctioning prohibited practices and to strengthen their governance agenda.