Corruption must be rooted out in order to benefit from trade- Commonwealth SG

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Baroness Patricia Scotland, Secretary General of the Commonwealth meeting with President David Granger on Thursday

Speaking of discussions for a Continental free trade area in Africa that African, Caribbean and Pacific states can benefit from, Commonwealth Secretary General (SG) Baroness Patricia Scotland noted the importance of building capacity.

Speaking during a press conference at NCN studios, Scotland said her discussions with African leaders revealed the potential for increased benefits for the region from Africa.

But in order to benefit from this trade, she said that systems in the region must be made robust and corruption must be rooted out. Scotland noted the loss of revenue from public officials siphoning it off has serious implications.

She said that while judges and prosecutors try to discharge their duties without fear and favour, they are being pressured by the corrupt.

Scotland said that in order to boost anti-corruption efforts, the likelihood of crooks being caught and illicitly obtained assets being recovered must be increased.

Debunking the myth that money laundering is a victimless crime, she noted the importance therefore of prosecutors building their capacity and holding the corrupt accountable.

Scotland during her address at the opening of the CFTAF workshop for Judges and Prosecutors, on Thursday, noted that financial institutions of almost every country around the world are under threat of being exploited for criminal and terrorist purposes.

She said the legal luminaries therefore “have a duty to be vigilant guardians, protecting the safety and well-being of all our people. They must ensure that we have the capacity to safeguarding our institutions in order to prevent them from being exploited by criminal and terrorist purposes.”

According to her, the sources of these funding are diverse and flow with “constantly shifting channels of distributions.” The SG pointed out that, when one revenue stream is closed, another is opened.

“And to stem the supply that sustains terrorism and violent extremism, we have to ensure that we have the best and the most up-to-date legal and criminal justice tools available.”

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