The Executive Chairperson of the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC), Cllr. James N. Verdier, Jr. has been elected vice chairman of the Bureau of Executives of the Network of National Anti-Corruption Institutions in West Africa (NACIWA).
Cllr. Verdier was elected during the Round-Table Meeting on “Whistle-Blowing” for member institutions of NACIWA and the Annual General Assembly of NACIWA held in Abuja, Nigeria from March 10-13.
The Assembly also elected Issoufou Bouraimah of Niger as chairman, Mrs. Nafy Ngom Keita of Senegal as administrative secretary and Shollay Davies of Sierra Leone, financial secretary. They will serve for a period of three years.
The Annual General Assembly of NACIWA also set up a committee to review the constitution of the organization. The committee comprises Professor Ibriga Luc Marius of Burkina Faso as president and Cllr. Verdier, Agapit Napoleon Maforikan of Benin, Mrs. Fati Abarchi, Niger and Dr. Luis Jose’ Tavares Landim of Cape Verde as members.
The Meeting was designed to re-enforce the capacity of anti-corruption institutions on “Whistle-blowing” in the region, with a view to enhance their efforts in combating corruption as well as deepening and promoting transparency and accountability at all levels in the governance process in member states.
The conference also examined the skills, tools and methodologies deployed by member states to work in-country and across borders to effectively support citizens, CSOs and media involvement in whistle blowing practices in the region.
At the close of the meeting, participants recommended that ECOWAS should develop a Regional policy on Whistle-blower protection. They further recommended that efforts should be made to reinforce synergy between and among civil societies, media, anti-corruption institutions, legislature, judiciary and other stakeholders with the aim to promote whistle-blowing and the protection of Whistle-blowers.
Participants also recognized the need to ensure absolute autonomy of anti-corruption Institutions in the region and promote integrity of the institutions, particularly in relation to Whistle-blowers.
They agreed that members of NACIWA should consider a compensation regime for Whistle-blowers; that there be continuous engagement on the enhancement of the capacities of the judiciary to understand better the mechanism of whistle-blowing and its processes; and the need for reinforcement of the collaboration between NACIWA and the ECOWAS Commission in order to help countries who have no anti-corruption institution to establish one.
It was further agreed that member institutions should work towards the formulation of national whistle-blower legislation that will reflect best practices as obtained across the region, continent and the world; and that NACIWA should raise funds to promote whistle-blowing across the region.
The meeting was attended by several heads and representatives of national anti-corruption institutions from the member-states of Benin; Burkina Faso; Cote d’Ivoire; Ghana; Guinea; Guinea Bissau; Cape Verde; Liberia; Mali; Niger; Nigeria; Senegal; Sierra Leone and Togo.
The Regional Advisor of the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crimes (UNODC), a representative of the Africa Development Bank (AfDB), the director of the Journal “l’Evènement” Niger and the representative of the Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA) were also in attendance.