Seychelles ask US for assistance on corruption investigations, revenue collection
Hassan that eliminating corruption in the public service is a necessity. (Wikimedia) Photo License: CC0
(Seychelles News Agency) - Seychelles has requested technical assistance from the U.S. Embassy in the fields of corruption investigations and revenue collection, the Ministry of Finance said on Tuesday.
The Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Trade, Naadir Hassan, made the appeal to the Chargé d'Affaires at the US Embassy in Mauritius, Judes DeBaere, during a courtesy visit.
"One of my priorities as Minister of Finance is to ensure taxpayers' money is spent where it is necessary, and eliminating corruption in the public service is a necessity. But we lack the specific skill set to investigate, build a solid case and get a successful prosecution," said Hassan.
The Minister said that "we need more specialised technical assistance in this field because people need to know that this government will not tolerate corruption."
In the Corruption Perception Index (CPI) survey released in January, Seychelles got the highest score in sub-Saharan Africa with a score of 66 points.
The island nation has an Anti-Corruption Commission set up under the Anti-Corruption Act 2016 which gives it the authority to investigate, detect and prevent corrupt practices.
Hassan also appealed to the U.S. government for technical support for the Seychelles Revenue Commission and the Customs Division.
"In 2022, my ministry wants to focus on plugging revenue leakages at both entities and in order to achieve this priority target, we will need to build the capacity of the staff, so once again we would appreciate if the U.S. government can provide assistance in this field also," he said.
On her side, DeBaere has assured the Minister that "the U.S. has experts who can assist Seychelles in its fight against corruption and improving revenue collection."
In his budget address for 2021 in February, Hassan said that one of the priorities of the government is to modernise the Seychelles Revenue Commission (SRC), with emphasis this year being laid on improving 'compliance', and secondly, to move towards e-services.
The current transformation of the financial sector was also discussed and Hassan spoke in detail about the government's ongoing efforts to adhere to international standards, in order to remove Seychelles on the EU blacklist.
"This year, we have amended a lot of laws to ensure compliance. This shows that the commitment is there, and all we need is the support to achieve this objective and remain compliant."
The diversification of the economy of Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean, the steady recovery of the tourism sector, the economic and public sector reforms and maintaining fiscal discipline in the public sector were also discussed