Tag: West Africa
27 November, London – A court ruling this week that paves the way for civil society in Nigeria to challenge senior politicians over their secretive spending of billions of Nigerian Naira has been praised by Transparency International.
Transparency International and the Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Center (CISLAC) in Nigeria have previously called for the scrapping of the unaccountable and secretive “security vote” spending – one of the most durable forms of corruption in Nigeria—saying that they fail to provide real security for citizens.
The security votes issue was explored in a joint report by the groups in May 2018. Camouflaged Cash estimates that security votes in Nigeria total around $670 million annually – more than the annual budget of the Nigerian Army.
Responding to the court decision, Steve Francis OBE, Director of Transparency International’s Defence & Security Programme said:
“This is an important moment in the campaign for transparency in defence and security spending in Nigeria, as well as government accountability more generally. Civil society in Nigeria, including Transparency International’s colleagues in CISLAC, deserve praise for successfully challenging in the courts the government’s refusal to explain how billions of Nigerian Naira were spent over the last twenty years. We see this as another important step in bringing about more openness and accountability in how the country spends taxpayer money on its citizens’ security and defence.”
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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
Nigeria: More spent on security votes per year than Army budget
Civil society groups call for scrapping of secretive security vote spending
28th May 2018, London/ Abuja – Ahead of the 2019 Presidential elections in Nigeria, Transparency International and the Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Center (CISLAC) are calling on candidates to commit to scrapping the unaccountable and secretive “security vote” spending – one of the most durable forms of corruption in Nigeria—saying that they fail to provide real security for citizens.
“Camouflaged Cash”, a new report launched today by the groups, estimates that security votes in Nigeria total around $670 million annually – more than the annual budget of the Nigerian Army. This amount dwarfs the US security assistance to Nigeria since 2012 and UK counter terrorism support promised from 2016-2020.
Security votes, used by successive governments since 1999, are opaque funds that are disbursed at the discretion of public officials, very often transacted in cash, without being subject to oversight or independent audit. In theory they are designed to cover unforeseen security needs but in reality many have become slush funds for corrupt officials.
As well as undermining Nigeria’s fight against corruption, the misuse of these funds is fuelling instability. By prioritising security vote spending, less funding is available for Nigerian forces to pay salaries or procure needed supplies, leaving them underequipped to fight Boko Haram. They also offer major potential sources of funding to tilt political campaigns, stoking tensions at a critical time.
Katherine Dixon, Director of Transparency International Defence & Security said:
“The security vote is one of the most durable forms of corruption operating in Nigeria today. Yet instead of addressing its many urgent threats, the ever-increasing use of security votes is providing corrupt officials with an easy-to-use and entirely hidden slush fund.”
“Corruption in the crucial sector of defence and security plays right into the hands of those who seek to sow the seeds of instability and terror. It leaves armed forces under-resourced in the fight against Boko Haram and feeds groups who may destabilize the elections.”
Auwal Musa Rafsanjani, Executive Director Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Center, said:
“We are calling on all candidates for the coming election to agree to phase out this secretive and dated form of spending. Growing insecurity at a time when security vote spending has increased shows that it serves no positive purpose in keeping Nigerian citizens safe. Any candidates serious about fighting corruption in Nigeria will recognise the need to urgently address the problem of security votes.”
“Ahead of our National Democracy Day a strong commitment from public officials against security votes would help the growing understanding that combatting corruption is a vital element of any serious democratic society.”
Transparency International Defence & Security and CISLAC recommends the Nigerian government:
- Pass federal legislation outlawing security votes at all levels, to be accompanied by legislation specifying budgeting procedures and criteria for security expenditure.
- Establish effective oversight structures to ensure existing spending is appropriate.
- Educate its officials, security leaders and the general public about the risks of using security votes.
- Support state governments to set up Security Trust Funds as a constructive first step to phasing out security votes.
Key stats and findings from Camouflaged Cash include:
- $670 million spent on security votes per year
- More than the annual budget of the Nigerian Army
- More than the annual budget of the Nigerian Air Force and Navy combined
- More than 70% of the annual budget of the Nigerian Police Force
- More than nine times the US security assistance since 2012
- More than 12 times the UK counterterrorism support for 2016 – 2020
- 29 Nigerian states receive an average total of $580 million through security votes each year
- $5 million – increase in security vote spending between 2016 and 2018
- $15 billion – estimated amount stolen from Nigeria’s defence sector of by former military chiefs
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Transparency International Defence and Security (TI-DS) works to reduce corruption in defence and security worldwide.
Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) is a non-governmental, non-profit, advocacy, information sharing, research, and capacity building organisation. Its purpose is to strengthen the link between civil society and the legislature through advocacy and capacity building for civil society groups and policy makers on legislative processes and governance issues.
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.