Stopping impunity in Benin will require better enforcement, stronger accountability mechanisms

Reporting back from a WIN mission – June 2017

AWIS workshop on urban water supply: accountability perceived as weaker point of TAP

WIN launched a baseline study to map integrity and corruption risks in water and sanitation supply in Benin in March 2017. The study is based on results of participatory assessments of Transparency, Accountability, and Participation (TAP) for water and sanitation, which are being carried out using the Annotated Water Integrity Scan (AWIS) tool.

Using AWIS is a way to quickly gather information on perceived levels of TAP without letting results be overtly skewed by the perspectives of stakeholders with the loudest voices. The tool helps different stakeholders examine in particular: policy and legislation, regulation, projects and investments, service delivery, and anti-corruption in the water sector, in terms of TAP.

A workshop on urban water was held in the capital Cotonou, June 7th to 8th, with 45 different stakeholders of urban water and sanitation supply in Benin.

Of the three pillars of TAP, Accountability scored lowest at the workshop. Participants were of the opinion that the legal framework is in place and available, but that enforcement is too limited, giving way to corruption and abuses of all kind.

These first insights will be completed with additional information from the findings of other AWIS workshops in other sub-sectors, as well as data from household surveys and case studies. The final conclusions will be published before the end of the year.

 

First High-Level Forum on Good Governance in Grand Popo, Benin (15-17 June 2017): participants confirm need for better oversight and more capacity for the judiciary

The First High Level Forum on Governance was organized to assess the work done in terms of fighting corruption and promoting integrity in the public sector in Benin. The Constitutional Court of Benin and FONAC (Front des Organisations Nationales Anti-Corruption) led the forum with the financial support of USAID. 150 participants came together from the government, private sector, civil society organizations, donors, and the media.

The findings of the Forum are in line with those of the AWIS workshops so far. Participants concluded that a legal framework is in place but that enforcement is weak and capacities for enforcement are woefully insufficient. There are currently only 150 judges for the whole country and three financial auditors to scrutinize public accounts. Impunity is an issue.

A set of recommendations was released at the end of the forum:

  • Learn from integrity promotion activities in the water sector and conduct an integrity risk and corruption map in every sectoral department to define priority actions to be taken.
  • Use Integrity Pacts as a public procurement tool to promote transparency, accountability, and participation, and prevent corruption
  • Enhance the human and financial capacities of the judiciary
  • Implement all the recommendations from the assessment of the National Integrity System in Benin

Their implementation of these recommendations will be assessed at the next edition of the forum in 2018.

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