, NIAMEY, Jul 27 – Niger has created an anti-corruption body to step up the fight against graft in the impoverished nation, the government announced Wednesday.
The High Authority to Combat Corruption comprises representatives of the Niger administration, private sector and civil society, a government statement said.
The new body will be tasked with “centralising and processing complaints and information it receives relating to corruption,” the statement said.
The government warned that widespread corruption was turning away investors and harming the economy of Niger, one of the world’s poorest countries.
Mahamadou Issoufou was elected as president in April and a corruption hotline was created by the ministry of justice the following month for citizens to report cases of suspected graft.
In June, the new government for the first time revealed a case of embezzlement involving 2.3 million euros ($3.3 million) that led to the sacking of the budget minister and two other senior officials.
Issoufou has taken a tough stance on corruption and his government has promised to investigate how 129 million euros ($186 million) were siphoned from the state’s coffers under former president Mamadou Tandja.
Tandja, who was president for 11 years, was ousted in a February 2010 military coup. The junta then paved the way for this year’s elections.
Niger scored 2.6 out of 10 and is ranked 123rd of 178 countries on anti-graft watchdog Transparency International’s latest index of global corruption.