By ensuring compliance with existing legal and other anti-corruption instruments in their respective countries, African lawyers can help in stopping corruption, the Pan African Lawyers Union, PALU has said.
PALU, in a statement signed by its Vice President for West Africa, Prince Adetokunbo Kayode, (SAN) said every business transaction had a legal angle, adding that lawyers act as intermediaries representing governments, private companies and citizens.
“Lawyers thus possess a considerable amount of power to stop corruption and could play a lead role in entrenching cleaner business transactions in Africa. Most lawyers however lack awareness of this nature and threats of corruption making them vulnerable to, and complicit in, corruption.”
Adetokunbo said even though, Africa was one of the fastest growing economies in the world with significant multinational business transactions such as in mining, energy (oil and gas) and large infrastructure projects, the continent had however lost billions of dollars in these business transactions to corruption, money, he said could have been used in socio-economic development on the continent.
In order to further equip lawyers with the requisite knowledge on how they can help in the fight against corruption, PALU is organizing a conference in September 22 in Nigeria on the theme: Combatting Corruption: The Role of the Legal Profession in Africa.
The chair, Local Organizing Committee Mr. Emeka Obegolu said the project aimed at creating awareness on the extant legal and other anti-corruption instruments and the methods of ensuring compliance with anti corruption instruments.
He said: “It also aims at shifting part of the responsibility of fighting corruption in business from government agencies to the legal profession upon whom business transactions rely.
“These aims will be achieved through a series of activities that aspire to share information with, train and assist lawyers, to adopt and implement anti-corruption and compliance standards.
“A key output of the project is the development of a Code of Ethics on Anti-Corruption and Professional Compliance Standards.
“We have invited H.E. President Muhammadu Buhari GCFR, President of Nigeria to open the conference, in recognition of his own avowed mission to fight corruption in Nigeria.
“We have also invited the Legal Counsel of the African Union Commission, AUC, the General Counsel of the African Development Bank, AfDB and the Chairperson of the African Union’s Advisory Board against Corruption, AU-ABC, who will all speak about the roles their organizations – and their own offices – play, in combating corruption, especially in the natural resource extraction industries and in large-scale infrastructure projects across the continent.”
PALU is a continental membership forum for African lawyers and lawyers’ associations. PALU was founded in 2002 by African Bar leaders and eminent lawyers, to reflect the aspirations and concerns of the African people and to promote and defend their shared interests. It brings together the continent’s five regional lawyers’ associations, over fifty-four national lawyers’ associations and individual lawyers.

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