The Vice President, Pan African Lawyers Union (PALU), Prince Adetokunbo Kayode, SAN, has said that lawyers can combat corruption by ensuring compliance with existing legal and other anti-corruption instruments.

PALU, in a statement, weekend, issued by Kayode, said: “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 the nature and threats of corruption making them vulnerable to, and complicit in, corruption.”

The statement said that even though Africa was one of the fastest growing economies in the world with significant multinational business transactions in mining, energy (oil and gas) and large infrastructure projects, the continent has lost billions of dollars to corruption, adding that such money could have been used to development the continent.

In order to equip lawyers to fight corruption, PALU would hold a conference September 22 in Nigeria with the theme: “Combatting Corruption: The Role of the Legal Profession in Africa.”

The chairman of Local Organising Committee, Mr Emeka Obegolu, said the project was aimed at creating awareness on the extant legal and other anti-corruption instruments and 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. Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, 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 brought together the continent’s five regional lawyers’ associations, over 54 national lawyers’ associations and individual lawyers.

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