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Burkina Faso - Corruption

Burkina Faso is the "Land of Incorruptible People". Burkinabè take pride in the fact that they are known for their integrity as well as their hospitality. Official corruption is high but not extreme. Burkina Faso's ranking in Transparency International's (TI) 2007 Corruption Perception Index also suggest a worsening problem: Burkina Faso's rankings tumbled from 10th in Africa and 79th worldwide in 2006, to 17th in Africa and 105th worldwide in 2007.

The issue of corruption has taken on an even greater importance in the public's mind in light of 2008 protests against the rising cost of living. Many Burkinabe increasingly see a stark contrast between their difficult economic situations, and high-level officials enriching themselves through corruption.

Local NGO RENLAC released an anti-corruption report in May 2008. According to the report, around 95 percent of 1700 respondents agreed that corruption had increased nationwide. The most corrupt cities were thought to be Ouagadougou (99 percent agreed), and Bobo-Dioulasso (97 percent agreed), the country's second biggest city. Meanwhile, the most corrupt social and economic sectors were, in descending order: customs service, tax-collecting agencies, justice and health ministries, municipal police, municipalities, national police, and government contracts/open bidding processes.

Corruption on the political front also remained a problem according to 85.5 percent of respondents, who believed that Burkinabe political parties were actively implicated in corruption. RENLAC found that instead of basing their political support on candidates' political agenda, voters selected the candidate who had the resources necessary to participate in corruption.

The Burkinabe Movement for Human Rights (MBHP), a local NGO, and the largest most vocal organization working to fight corruption in Burkina Faso, added that the impunity of both corruptors and corrupt individuals enabled corruption to flourish.

The law provides criminal penalties for corruption by officials, but the government did not implement the law effectively, and officials often engaged in corrupt practices with impunity. Local NGOs criticized what they called the overwhelming corruption of senior civil servants. They reported pervasive corruption in the customs service, gendarmerie, tax agencies, national police, municipal police, public health service, municipal governments, education sector, government procurement, and the Ministry of Justice, Human Rights, and Civic Promotion. NGOs categorized procurement as the most corrupt government sector. They reported a lack of political will to fight corruption, citing the appointment by the current administration of individuals to higher positions who were previously the subjects of corruption cases.

In June 2015 the Ouagadougou Court of Appeals sentenced former director of customs Ousmane Guiro to a two-year suspended prison term in connection with a 2012 corruption case involving 900 million CFA francs ($1.5 million). The court ordered the confiscation of Guiro’s assets and fined him 10 million CFA francs ($17, 182). The prosecutor appealed Guiro’s suspended sentence to the Court of Cassation, which accepted the case but had not brought it to trial by the end of 2016.

In March 2015 the CNT adopted an anticorruption law that requires government officials--including the president, lawmakers, ministers, ambassadors, members of the military leadership, judges, and anyone charged with managing state funds--to declare their assets and any gifts or donations received while in office. The Constitutional Council is mandated to monitor and verify compliance with such laws and may order investigations if noncompliance is suspected. Disclosures are not made public, however, and there were no reports of criminal or administrative sanctions for noncompliance.

On 28 June 2016, the Higher Authority for State Control and the Fight against Corruption extended the requirement to declare assets to include government officials’ spouses and minor children. Infractions are punishable by a maximum jail term of 20 years and fines of up to 25 million CFA francs ($43, 000). The law also punishes persons who do not reasonably explain an increase in lifestyle expenditures beyond the 5 percent threshold set by regulation in connection to lawful income. Convicted offenders risk imprisonment for two to five years and a fine of five to 25 million CFA francs ($8,591 to $42,000). In April a law was passed limiting the value of a gift a government official could receive to 35,000 CFA francs ($60).

On May 23 2016 the government began looking for 57 vehicles, missing from the presidency at the end of the transition. The Minister of Homeland Security revealled that vehicles, mostly SUVs, had been removed from the Presidency's car fleet without any trace of their destination.

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Page last modified: 04-06-2017 19:01:15 ZULU