October 24, Bamako – Mali’s defence sector has undergone a comprehensive health check in new research from Transparency International – Defence and Security (TI-DS), which stresses the need for urgent action to tackle corruption in order to enable the military to better respond to Mali’s numerous security threats.
Building Integrity in Mali’s Defence and Security Sector assesses the strength of institutional safeguards to corruption in the Malian defence sector and highlights weaknesses in key institutions which have created an environment in which corrupt practices have been able to thrive.
As part of TI-DS’ work to promote integrity in defence sectors across West Africa, this report is designed as an advocacy tool for Malian civil society organisations and campaign groups.
By highlighting the drivers and enablers of corruption and providing tailored recommendations and guidelines, TI-DS offers a roadmap to improved governance and a more accountable military.
Steve Francis OBE, Director of Transparency International – Defence and Security, said:
“Corruption and conflict go hand in hand and their coexistence feeds violence and insecurity. Nowhere is this vicious cycle more evident than in Mali where a lack of integrity and accountability has fuelled two coup d’états and weakened the security forces further.“
“In order to tackle the current security crisis, and to protect the population from future threats, the corruption undermining public trust in the military and reducing its operational effectiveness must be weeded out. We urge the Malian authorities to consider adopting and implementing these policy proposals to help reduce and even eliminate some of the primary enablers of corruption in the defence and security sector. The prize for doing so a military force that the people of Mali want and deserve.”
Key recommendations include:
· Greater oversight of defence purchases and finances. Mali’s defence institutions would benefit from greater oversight and controls over defence purchases and finances. This would enable the efficient use of precious resources and ensure that the Malian defence and security forces are provided with the right equipment to respond to the country’s security threats.
· Harness the powers of the National Assembly. Although the Malian Constitution provides the National Assembly with adequate powers to scrutinise the actions of the executive, it needs further means and the expertise to perform proper oversight over defence. Moreover, access to information remains limited as the overclassification of information curtails its capacities to monitor defence activities and scrutinise budgets.
· Strengthen the integrity of the sector. Mali’s defence establishment suffers from a lack of accountability and transparency in human resource and asset management which has negatively impacted the integrity of the defence apparatus. More transparent, objective and clearly defined human resource and asset management processes will help professionalise and improve the effectiveness and integrity of the armed forces.
This research comes at a crucial time for Mali. Since the near-collapse of the Malian military in 2012, government troops have been battling jihadist militants in the north of the country.
This continued insurgency has prompted local militias to take measures to protect their own interests, further complicating the security situation for the government and exacerbating the suffering of Mali’s citizens.
Note to Editors:
Building Integrity in Mali’s Defence and Security Sector is being officially launched today, October 24, in Bamako.
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Transparency International is the civil society organisation leading the fight against corruption
Transparency International Defence and Security has launched a new project “Strengthening CSO Engagement with Defence Institutions to Reduce Corruption and Strengthen Accountability in Mali”, funded by The United Nations Democracy Fund.
The project seeks to build civil society’s ability to advocate for accountability and transparency in the Malian defence sector and to open a space for them to do so. It aims to be a first step in strengthening the links between national civil society, the defence institutions and the democratic bodies charged with oversight of defence in Mali. Over the next 18 months, TI-DS will support national civil society organizations to identify specific institutional reforms that are needed to reduce corruption risk and offer technical expertise to support civil society in holding constructive dialogue with defence.
The project will run from April 2018 to September 2019 and will be jointly delivered with CRI-2002, the national contact for Transparency International in Mali.