"Corruption is eroding the economy and does not let the country progress"

"Corruption is eroding the economy and does not let the country progress"

The President of Guinea-Bissau, José Mário Vaz, warned that corruption is "eroding the economy" and does not allow the country to move forward; the resolution of the problem should be left to the judicial power and the ongoing reforms.

"The corruption is eroding our economy and does not let the country progress. I called the attention of those who are directly entitled to solve this problem. It is up to the judiciary to solve this problem. The Court of Auditors has already given this information to the Prosecutor's Office, but up to this date, this problem has not been resolved", he said.

José Mário Vaz spoke during a joint interview he had with various media to mark his four-year tenure on June 23rd.

"We, Guineans, deal with this situation on a daily basis and sometimes I ask myself what is each of us doing to fight corruption in Guinea-Bissau, but it's a matter that is not the President's responsibility; this task should be dealt by the judiciary, which already has in its possession the reports of the Court of Auditors," he said.

José Mário Vaz also said that as a Guinean he thinks that the solution to those problems has to be made based on the reforms that began many years ago.

"Reforms in the civil service, justice and defense and security. These reforms that will help us get out of the difficult situation", he said.

For the chief of state of Guinea-Bissau, it is not only the justice sector that is in a difficult situation, but also the public service and the state itself that lives "beyond its means."

"It is as serious what is happening in the judicial power as in the civil service, we have no room for the most qualified young people, who are leaving universities. The civil service is completely occupied by people who should be, at this time, at home (...) that could leave the youngest, the most qualified. It is these people who are not letting the civil service move forward", he said.

At the level of the defense and security forces, the President said that almost every day officers have to tell him that they are "tired" and that they want to go home.

On drug trafficking, José Mário Vaz says "there are actions that are being undertaken".

"The only thing I did was to go to the General Staff and the Public Prosecutor's Office to speak with the defense and security forces asking for support and help so that all of us can unite and resolve that scourge, " he said, while noting that it was not the appropriate place to talk about it.

Asked by journalists about the United Nations Security Council's accusation that some members of the political elite are involved in drug trafficking, José Mário Vaz said the UN report "is clear, " but that it is necessary to know who they are and where they are.

"This is the work we are doing today and I would not really like to dwell on this area", he said.