Speaker of National Assembly in Malawi, Richard Msowoya on Monday argued that Africa loses more money to illicit financial flows than it receives in foreign aid to some of the world’s poorest countries, impeding development projects and denying poor people access to crucial services.
He alluded to the need for Public Accounts Committee’s in African countries to seriously take the challenge of illicit financial flows into consideration, by moving from the mere scrutiny of what was misappropriated in the approved budgets to seriously scrutinize the huge amounts of funds that are lost through, illicit financial flows.
Msowoya was speaking during the official opening of the fifth meeting of the Executive Committee of the African Organization Committees (AFROPAC) and the African voice and strategic planning.
“Let us face it, in most of our African countries, we are very far from winning this battle against fraud and all manner of misappropriation of public funds,” he said
Msowoya pointed out that Public Accounts Committee’s should make their existence more meaningful and beneficial to the people whose taxes fund their activities, by approaching their work and their responsibilities with more seriousness, as the act of fiscal crime get harder and harder by the day.
“Can our conscience be clear when alarming percentages of public funds continue to go down the drain while we exist on the promise of curbing the same? Unless we ask ourselves these and other hard questions, meeting like this one risk being regarded as mere-talk-shops,” he argued.
The fifth AFROPAC meeting is being held under the theme “creating alliance for accountability and development in Africa” and is aimed at coming up with solutions and suggestions that would help addressing some of the challenges currently being faced by the continent in general and African countries in particular especially the challenge of Funds misappropriation.
Secretary General of the AFROPAC, James Opiyo Wandayi, said as one objective of AFROPAC which is to support the independence of supreme Audit Institutions (SAIs) in Africa, it was only right to ensure that such accountability, institution was not influenced by any other powers or authorities when, exercising its overall function of auditing the accounts of government.
“Therefore the creation of AFROPAC where parliamentary PAC’s would pursue common goals, objectives and create unified structures, in the works of PACs is an achievement we cannot overemphasize. If we are going to develop Africa by way of ensuring prudent management of its financial resources, we must strive to work together and share goals and aspirations,” he added
AFROPAC is an Organization of Public Accounts Committees (PACs) of African legislatures, and its main objective is to enhance parliamentary oversight over financial accountability in Africa.