Wednesday, 13 May 2009

Sarkozy’s Take on African Fat Cats a Welcome Move


At last the chicken are coming home to roost! French authorities made a groundbreaking decision by culling three most corrupt African presidents, Denis Sassou Ngweso (Congo), Omar Albert Bongo (Gabon) and Teodoro Obiang Nguema (Equatorial Guinea). The Yom Kippur for thieves in France is now over.

It is a shame that soon after attaining flag independence, many African countries elevated thieves in the name of rulers and liberators. We still remember the like of Felix-Houphet Boigny of Cote d’ Ivoire that scooped country’s coffers to build the largest cathedral in his home town. Again, there was Joseph Desire Mobutu of DRC then Zaire. He spent on jewels, houses, expensive cars and what not whilst the citizens were perishing. Also there was Jean Bedel Bokassa of Central African Republic who later died a pauper after being pulled down as he squandered his loot in merrymaking activities in European capitals. In a nutshell, Africa has seen many powerful looters.

French authorities are now sagging off from the ‘business as usual’ stance. President Nicholas Sarkozy has decided to put his house in order by taking on African thieves in power that stashed billions of dollars in France. French anti-corruption activists are pressing hard to see to it that the wealth these enigmas and their families amassed is brought under scrutiny.

It came to light that the named parasites, just like others, spent much money on toys like Bugattis, Ferraris, Maybachs, Maseratis and a Rolls-Royce Phantom besides owning dozens of bank accounts and properties worth tens of million of euros in rich and chic districts of Paris and Riviera.

African youths are going without sound education as the children of these parasites spend tens of millions of dollars obtaining toys and other nonsensical things! While our people are living without safe water and sound medical services, the west is at home with robbers! What aggrieves even much is the fact that our rulers steal our hard-earned taxes to finance such megalomania!

Sarkozy, a no-nonsense guy has decided to keep tabs on African thievish parasites. As it seems, no stone will be left unturned. Many would like to see this noble move emulated by other leaders in European countries where much ill-gotten wealth is hidden. Former African heads also need to be scrutinized.

African Human Rights campaigners need to raise their voices. By doing so, African economies can be revamped. Importantly, rich countries should stop pumping aid and grant money to corrupt and undemocratic regimes. This money ends up being stolen and stashed abroad as it recently happened in Malawi where former president Muluzi allegedly stole over $ 10 million of the same.This unravels why African rulers like begging: to stash the donated monies in their offshore accounts as the hoi polloi go on perishing of treatable diseases.

To do away with corruption in the upper echelons of power in Africa, theft of public money should be categorized as crime against humanity. How can it stop being if many people are dying of treatable diseases and lack of sound services whilst their money is stashed abroad by powerful parasites?

Sarkozy’s move is a challenge to leaders of rich countries that tutor Africa on development, accountability, openness, self-reliance and what not without reckoning with how they support dictators and thieves. Africans are not stupid and mentally moribund as the West wrongly thinks. They can forge ahead without donor handouts if the West stops conspiring and abetting with corrupt regimes. They’ll make a leap forward shall west emulate France’s take on stashed money.

Recently, British Serious Fraud Office (SFO) implicated two Tanzanian bigwigs behind the hiked presidential jet and military radar purchase. Although the former governor of the Central Bank, Dr. Idris Rashid and former minister and AG, Andrew Chenge were water-tightly implicated, the government has dragged its feet thanks to complicity and conspiracy.

It’s an open secret. In Kenya, Malawi, South Africa and Tanzania, Indian businessmen are preferred by our leaders when it comes to doing their dirty laundry. Refer to Goldenberg and Anglo-Leasing in Kenya and EPA in Tanzania. Though such a conspiracy surfaced in Uganda in the Mabira forest kafuffle, it is still low thanks to Idi Amin’s purge that flashed Indians out of Uganda. Refer to last year.

If the West could see the light and order that money stashed in their banks be returned to Africa, the economies of African countries that have been profusely bleeding to death (thanks to this conspiracy and indifference) would revive. Sarkozy has set everything in the motion, African Rights campaigners must see to it that other countries follow the suit.

The US is currently looking into how to foil tax heavens for its mega corporations. Obama’s administration and EU have squeezed Swiss authorities to drop the confidentiality they have maintained for years. Methinks. African Human Rights family must agitate for the same. Isle of Man, Gibraltar, and Switzerland among others, have proved to be a nest for thieves avoiding taxes.
Source:The African Executive Magazine May 13, 2009.

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