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East African nations closer to regional anti-graft protocol but divisions remain

Anti-corruption agencies in the countries of the East African Community are hoping to finalize a regional protocol to fight corruption but differences among member states are holding up the effort.

The signing of the East African Community Protocol on Preventing and Combating Corruption has been delayed mainly over whether the member states -- Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda -- will give prosecutorial powers to their respective anti-corruption agencies, the East African reported.

Uganda has given its anti-corruption agency prosecutorial powers but other member states have balked because it would conflict with their national anti-corruption laws.

Kenya vests prosecutorial powers in the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions and has advocated making it optional for partner states to give their anti-corruption agencies prosecutorial powers. The first draft of the Protocol made it mandatory.

Kenya's revised protocol would simply state: "The competent authorities shall be vested with prosecutorial powers for the purposes of implementing this Protocol."

The attorney generals from the five countries have to agree on the protocol draft before forwarding the document to the presidents.

Mumo Matemu, head of the Kenyan Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission, is also the president of the East Africa Association of Anti-Corruption Agencies (EAAACA).

He said the protocol is eseential because of numerous regional infrastructure projects, exploitation of newly discovered oil and gas resources in Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania, and increasing regional trade.

The Anti-Corruption Protocol was last updated in June 2012.


Julie DiMauro is the executive editor of FCPA Blog and can be reached here.