By Benjamin Jumbe
The Commonwealth Secretary-General has warned that countries’ response to Covid-19, their long-term development and the meeting of the Sustainable Development Goals are all threatened by the “invisible infection” of corruption.
Speaking to the annual conference of the Commonwealth Caribbean Association of Integrity Commissions and Anti-Corruption Bodies, Patricia Scotland said it is estimated that every year $1 trillion is paid in bribes globally.
While an estimated $2.6 trillion is stolen annually through corruption, a sum equivalent to more than five per cent of the global Gross Domestic Product.
Scotland added that Transparency International states corruption in the health sector alone costs US$500 billion every year, more than the amount needed for worldwide universal health coverage.
The Secretary-General said corruption would not only undermine efforts to defeat the Covid-19 pandemic but also deprive vulnerable communities of vital funding for social and economic development.