Your Excellency, Moulana Ra’jaa Eisa Abdel Massih -Member of the Transitional Sovereign Council

Your Excellency, Attorney General of the Republic of Sudan, Moulana. Taj Elir AL Hibir

Ladies and gentlemen

I thank you for inviting me to join you at this important event.

It is clear that corruption is a challenge that not one segment of society can solve alone.  We have to do it together.   This year’s theme for International Anti-Corruption Day 2019 is – “United Against Corruption - Take action - Lead the change - Be the change” is a timely one. It emphasizes the fact that just gaining information about corruption is not enough, but we should take actions and raise awareness against corruption among people. It also says that if we act against corruption then change can be realized. Governments and civil society organizations, the private sector and the media, the general public including the youth, play a pivotal role in combating corruption and as such should take a stand to break the corrupt chain.

Corruption has been a pivotal issue in Sudan. The detrimental and draining effects of corruption were felt by the Sudanese masses and from what we know contributed greatly to the grievances that brought out large numbers of people into the streets, during the protest movement that culminated in the establishment of the transitional institutions of a New Sudan earlier this year.

Corruption implies discrimination, injustice and disrespect for human dignity.  It discriminates in the delivery of public services and thus violates the rights of people and the poor in particular. It is one of the main obstacles to achieving pro-poor development; it disproportionately affects the poor, women and minorities, as it reduces their access to justice and employment. It also undermines democracy and the rule of law by corroding democratic institutions and destroying public trust. We note that corruption corroded the ability of State institutions to deliver basic services in Sudan. Conscious of the need to act against corruption in a collective and more efficient manner, the UN aims to bring more focus on transparency and accountability issues in the Post-2015 development agenda.

The combination of a non-responsive and non-accountable public sector with crony capitalism within the private sector, distorted the roles of the State and the market and produced low quality growth in Sudan. Malfunctioning state institutions and weak governance acted as a barrier to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. 

The above largely explains Sudan’s low rankings on both the corruption perception and ease of doing business indices, ranking respectively at 172 out of 180 countries in 2018 and 171 out of 190 countries in 2019.

The International community is fully cognizant of the destructive impacts of corruption, particularly as it concerns the efforts of developing countries, like Sudan to achieve sustainable human development. The UN Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC), is the world’s only global legally binding instrument against corruption.  In 2009, States Parties to the UNCAC agreed to establish a mechanism to review and support the Convention’s implementation. On that occasion, the UN Secretary General stated: “From now on, states will be judged by the actions they take to fight corruption, not just the promises they make.”

Sudan can effectively make use of this convention to push for restitution of public assets which were siphoned off to private accounts and have ended up in off-shore havens, by asking other countries signatory to this instrument to help in this effort. The Panama papers that were released couple of years back clearly demonstrate the role of tax havens in allowing corrupt politicians and businesses, the World over, to hide their ill-gotten wealth away from the reach of national authorities.

The attainment of the goals of the Sudanese revolution for peace, freedom dignity and social justice is contingent upon control of corruption and promotion of good governance, notably the establishment of a rule-based system.

The UN in Sudan is following with great interest, the efforts of the transitional government to establish a new social contract of mutual accountability with citizens. Such a social contract provides fertile ground for the implementation of meaningful mechanisms of accountability of both the public and private sectors.

The anti-corruption Commission, which is being established has a clear role in promoting public accountability over use of national resources. We look forward to supporting the work of this commission through providing access to best practices in the area, drawing upon our global knowledge base.

UNDP is also planning to revive its collaboration with the National Audit Chamber and civil society organizations active in combating corruption to advance principles of transparency and accountability.

As the New Sudan proceeds to embark upon the path of inclusive and sustainable development, it is important that the ability of public institutions to guide the development process, without being compromised by corruption, be built up. In this area, we can share the experiences of countries that have managed to guide the process of socio-economic development, without falling prey to corruption.

The Sudanese authorities can build on the revolutionary spirit that is manifested through the steadfast support offered the transitional authorities to lay the groundwork for mainstreaming accountability mechanisms in all State institutions.

Let me conclude by reaffirming our eagerness to expand our partnership with Sudanese authorities and civil society actors in fostering a culture of transparency, accountability and rule of law.

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