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The 9th International Anti-Corruption Conference

The Papers


Current Perspectives

There is a consensus now in Benin about fighting corruption. This comes from a recent coalition between the government and civil society in a joint effort to face the matter.

Many anti-corruption initiatives had been taken, especially since 1990, by various bodies of the Executive as well as the Judiciary. These initiatives mainly dealt with financial manage-ment, the civil society, the judiciary and also NGO's of the civil society.

However, upon critical test, it appears that these actions have not met the population expectations, leaving them even weary and disappointed.

Therefore, more drastic measures expressed through anti- corruption strategic plan are necessary to bridge the confidence gap and be more efficient in the combat against corruption.

After the various meetings we held with Ministries representatives as well as other state bodies or institutions, we were able to select 5 (five) priorities reached by consensus and being the basis of the national strategic plan. The 5 priorities are:

  1. Strengthening the political will
  2. Enforcement of laws
  3. Judiciary and legal system review
  4. Public sector institutions reform
  5. Addressing education and communication
For each of these priorities, we will have a look at:
  1. New Perspectives
  2. Concrete actions
  3. Obstacles


  • New perspectives
    By removing, its electoral and political concerns the Executive should seek will to enforce anti-corruption law at all time regardless of the person involved.
  • Concrete actions
    Trials of the major cases of corruption malpractice currently recorded with an emphasis placed upon repayment of the embezzled funds.
  • Obstacles
    The lack of political will remain an actual fact as far as the problem of political parties funding would be solved.


  • New perspectives
    Setting of an environment free form fear and undue influence where anti-corruption organizations should not depend upon the Executive they are supposed to control.
  • Concrete actions
    Creation of an independent control body, appointed by the Parliament, irremovable and headed by an independent auditor.

    Also, make sure that internal auditors in ministries are legally protected and independent.

  • Obstacles
    The Executive resistance to the change in forces equilibrium


  • New perspectives
    Building trust and confidence in the legal system and its efficiency, applying ethic rules, and making sure of the independence and responsibility of the judiciary, would certainly reduce temptation to corruption.
  • Concrete actions
    Recruit, train and specialize judges in anti - corruption matter along with providing modern workplaces.
  • Obstacles
    Here, politicians are at the risk to loose the means of pressure they were used to


  • New perspectives
    • De-politicize civil service
    • Insure good financial management, procurement and higher taxes collection
  • Concrete actions
    • Define profile and civil servant career prospects
    • Publishing and popularizing procedures manuals in all public services
    • Code of ethics in biddings and contracting
  • Obstacles
    • The problem of funding for political parties
    • The low purchasing power of civil servants


  • New perspectives
    Raising the citizens' awareness upon the economical and democratic consequences of corruption and promoting transparency in the civil service management.
  • Concrete actions
    • Upgrade NGOs, moral and religious authorities in their abilities to educate and lead citizens.
    • More training of investigative journalist.
  • Obstacles
    Information kept out of reach of media and the fact of being state sponsored.

    Priority AreasStrategic ObjectivesConcrete Actions
    1)Strengthen Political Will
    Many cases of corruption have been identified yet have not been investigated by the Courts or the State for political or electoral reasons. This has been a factor in the demobilization of anti-corruption efforts and has actually favored the development of corruption.
    Political will is thus a pre-requisite and an imperative for all stages in the fight against corruption.
    - ensure the application of laws on corruption, the diversion of public goods and other such infractions, no matter who the implicated person is
    - assure the primacy of law
    - assure the stability of governmental institutions and their effectiveness as oversight bodies (i.e., checks and balances)
    - judgement of current cases of corruption, focusing on those individuals who are closest to the seat of power
    - revise ordinance 79-23 of 10 May 1979 with an anti-corruption law that would penalize permanent members of the State for acts of corruption, diversion, embezzlement and other such infractions
    2) Application of the Law
    The structures used in the fight against corruption are numerous, widely dispersed, dependent on the Executive and ineffective.
    An institution that is organized, effective, independent of the Executive, and legally protected can greatly contribute to the anticipation and repression of corruption.
    -make more effective both internal and external controls at all levels of the public sector
    - assure transparency and accountability
    - create an autonomous agency to oversee State finances that would be directed by an independent and permanent auditor designated by the Parliament
    -assure the independence of auditors within Ministries, providing them with a charter governed by law
    3) Reform of the Judicial and Legal Systems
    Benin's judicial system is generally characterized by a slowness that is detrimental to the effective repression of corruption. This situation arises from the combination of many factors of which the most important are the lack of personnel within the judiciary, the lack of courts for the entire territory and the absence of motivation. All of these factors result in limiting the independence of the judicial system.
    The repression of corruption, and the resulting dissuasion that the judiciary can exercise in this realm, necessitate a judicial system that is impartial, credible and effective.
    - put in place ethical standards
    - assure impartiality of judicial investigations
    - assure the independence and accountability of judges
    - reduce the incentive for corruption
    - recruit and train judges in the anti-corruption issues
    - provide judges with appropriate motivators (non-corrupting atmosphere, living salary, and adequate supervision)
    Reform of Public Sector Institutions
    The majority of positions within Benin's public administration have been politicized. This has resulted in positions that are characterized by misappropriation of funds and the absence of a sense of responsibility and accountability. These factors help to support the endemic nature of corruption
    In regards to the characteristics outlined above, anti- corruption efforts in Benin should treat the reform of the civil service as a priority
    - encourage good practices of public spending
    -assure good financial management
    - work to increase the efficiency of the civil service
    - increase fiscal revenues
    - de-politicize the Administration
    - define job descriptions and the career paths within the civil service
    - produce and disseminate procedural manuals and guidelines throughout the public administration
    5) Public Education and Communication
    One important factor of corruption in Benin is the asymmetry of information in the realm of service delivery. Further, the public is unconscious of the stakes involved in corruption at the economic as well as at the democratic level.
    An anti-corruption strategy must include increased access to information by the public as well as public awareness raising.
    - raising public awareness
    -increased transparency of the workings of the civil service
    -strengthen the capacity of NGOs in raising public awareness and lobbying
    -strengthen media capacity in investigative journalism, provision of information and raising public awareness

    BENIN: Prioritizing Problem Areas
    ProblemWho benefits from the problem?Who loses? Actions already takenActions to takeExpected results and by when?
        Government Civil SocietyTeam 
    Rule of Law
    Authorities are above the law
    • Authorities
    • Political staff
    • and their relationship
    The honest citizen
    • Civic education & public awareness regarding rights & responsibilities
    • Political will
    • Judge political persons implicated in embezzlement
    • Pressure
    • Info about the rule of law
    • Lobbying with Parliament
    • Information
    • Dissemination on the correlation between the rule of law & corruption
    Long term: Abide to the rule of law
    People and state use other rulesMinority of peopleMajority of people Nothing
    • Act for the rule of law
    • Information
    • Sensitize through workshops
    • Information
    Short, medium and long term:
    Conformation to the legal law
    Judiciary is not independent
    • High level business-men
    • Political authorities
    • Traditional rulers
    Lower classesA draft to improve the judiciary status
    • Reform the judiciary appointments process
    • Pressure
    • Lobbying with the Parliament
    Short, medium and long term: Enforcement of law
    • Business: import/export
    • Revenue collection personnel
    • Politicians
    • Honest business: competitors & taxpayers
    • People: low quality services
    • Civil servants: low pay
    • Regular enforcement efforts
    • Spot checks on collection
    • Bonus to identify fraud
    • Enforce existing laws & regulations
    • Law against illegal enrichment*
    • Disclosure/justification of revenue staff's assets & liabilities
    • Provide training & improved terms-of-service to revenue collection staff
    • Strengthen revenue collection training & resources
    • Provide incentives for honest taxpayers
    • De-politicize & professionalize revenue collection personnel
    • Harmonize customs duties with the UEMOA
    • Civic education
    • Increased revenue collection
    Financial Management
    External audit is not independent
    • Persons implicated in embezzlement
    • Honest citizens
    • Nothing
    • Select the external auditors through a competitive process
    • Abide by the Code of Ethics of the Public Procurement Act
    • Civil society & Parliament draft law for simultaneous transmission of audit report to gov't, Parliament & judiciary
     6 months
    • An independent external auditor selected through a competitive process
    Internal audit is not independent
    • Persons implicated in embezzlement
    • Honest citizens
    • Nothing
    • Ensure the independence of internal auditors
    • Have internal reports subjected to independent peer review
    • Lobbying of each of us with our organizations
    6 months:
    • Effective and credible internal controls
    Procedural manuals are non-existent
    • Persons implicated in embezzlement
    • Honest citizens
    • Draft manual submitted to CEPAG for improvement
    • Require that each ministry must write its own procedural manual
    • Pressure from civil society on all ministries to have procedure manual
      6 months:
    • Reduce corruption and fraud in financial management
    Audits do not capture unnecessary expenditures
    • Persons implicated in embezzlement
    • Honest citizens
    • Nothing
    • Include additional clause in the existing control laws
    • Increase the staffing level for this function
    • Train staff
    • Present the case to the supreme audit organization
    • Inform civil society and our home organizations
    6 months:
    • Better control over expenditures
    • Reduce costs of public services
    • More expenditures against approved & necessary objectives
    There is no follow-up to the findings and recommendations of audit reports
    • Persons implicated in embezzlement
    • Honest citizens
    • Treasury
    • USAID seminar
    • A committee established to make an inventory of acts of Embezzlement between April 9, 1996-April 1999
    • Publicize internal audit reports
    • Publicize results of follow-up to internal audit reports
    • Put pressure on Gov't to publish names of guilty parties
    • Encourage ex-ecutive to apply sanctions
    • Civic education with medias
    • Inform home organizations
    6 months:
    • Reduce embezzlement by sanctioning guilty parties
    Public Procurement
    Public procurement is tarnished by corrupt practice
    • Decision makers
    • Contractors
    • Political parties
    • People/country
    • Honest business/ companies
    • Draft Code of Ethics
    • Audit controls
    • Training for procurement staff
    • Prepare standard terms of reference
    • Improve the procurement law & strengthen its administration
    • Put pressure on government
    • Encourage civil society to protest
    Specifications are not clear
    • Decision makers
    • Dishonest contractors
    • Politicians
    • People
    • Country
    • Honest companies
    • Code of ethics
    • Train staff responsible for preparing specification
    • Monitoring and control
      12 months:
    • Transparency & efficiency in the administration of the procurement process
    • Decision makers
    • Dishonest contractors
    • Politicians and political parties
    • People
    • Code of Ethics
    • Cabinet approval of the list of authorized suppliers
    • Publish the results of bidding and contracting
    • Press for the publication of bidding & contracting
      12 months:
    • Transparency & efficiency in the procurement process
    Donors impose their own firms
    • Firms from donor countries
    • The recipient country
    • Nothing
    • Ask donors to change current practice
    • Put pressure on civil society and gov'ts in donor countries
    • Lower costs and some provision of capacity building
    Smuggling in legal transactions (under-invoicing, under-valuation, false transit, false exemption)
    • Businessmen
    • Customers
    • Politicians
    • State
    • People
    • Contract with an international import control agency
    • Reinforcement of the controls of the "Inspection general des finance"
    • Reviews the Customs Code
    • Reduce exemptions from Customs duties on imports
    • Monitoring & control of authorized exemptions
    • Improve the existing guidelines
    • Write clear rules to avoid bad interpretation
    • Computerise data and informations systems
    • Pressure
      12 Months
    Staff instability
    • Politicians
    • Some customers
    • State
    • People
    • De-politicize staff appointments to customs
    • Establish clear rules for posting & transfer to border check posts
    • Increase severity of sanctions against corrupt practice
    • Pressure
    • Protest
      12 Months
    Customs does not have a database of reference prices
    • Businessmen
    • Customers
    • Politicians
    • State
    • People
    • Capacity building of customs
    • Pressure
    • Protest
      12 Months
    Large bribes paid for posting to lucrative positions
    • Politicians
    • Businessmen
    • Unscrupulous people hired as Customs officers
    • State
    • People
    • Establish clear rules for posting & transfer to border check post
    • Pressure
    • Protest
      21 Months
    Customs are unable efficiently to verify importers declarations
    • Businessmen
    • State
    • People
    • Contract with an international imports control agency
    • Ensure that Customs is given access to data banks of prices for imported goods
    Application of the Rule of Law
    There is no appropriate means to finance politics
    • Politicians and the staff of political parties
    • The Treasury
    • Opposition parties
    • Citizens
    • Draft revision of the Charter of Political Parties
    • Apply existing laws & regulations
    • Apply existing laws whenever infractions are identified
    • Make NGOs & political parties aware of the issue
    • Make home organizations aware of the issue
    Short and medium term
    • Reduce corrupt practice associated with the financing of politics
    The balance of powers is not respected
    • The Executive
    • Other top public officials in gov't
    • Citizens
    • Opposition parties
    • Nothing
    • Ensure the financial independence of state institutions
    • Revise the system for appointing officials to institutions through a new law
    • Organize radio & TV broadcasts, & info on the inter-net for civic edu-cation pertaining to the balance of powers
    • Support civil society
    Short and medium term
    • Strengthen the opposition
    Absence of legislation providing for freedom of access to information
    • Executive
    • Frauders
    • Corrupt civil servants
    • Journalists
    • Researchers
    • Citizens
    • Draft Code of Ethics for Beninese journalists
    • Establishment of a National Press Council (ODEM)
    • Establishment of the Audio-Visual & Com-munications Authority (HAAC)
    • Law on the Freedom of the Press
    • Law on the Freedom of Broadcasting
    • Remove obstacles that block citizens' access to information
    • Plead for access to information
    • Train investigative journalists
    • Ensure that home organizations are aware of the issue
    • Support the actions of civil society
    Short, medium and long term
    • Legislation providing for freedom of access to information
    • More transparency in public sector life

    BENIN: Identifying Next Steps
    ProblemActions to takeResources needed Expected results and by when?
    Awareness raising
    Team actions Individual Team members:
    • Disseminate lessons-learned from conference within own organizations
    • Build ownership of program within organizations
    Team as whole:
    • Develop and expand matrix
    • Conduct survey of corrupt practices

    • Funding to produce documents
    • Workshop with external facilitator and expert
    • Internet
    • WBI: Support with T/A, INSAE, local statistics officer

    • 30 days
    • Undetermined

    • 60 days
    • 6 months
    Rule of Law
    Government officials are above the laws Government:
    • Improved prosecutorial capabilities
    Civil Society:
    • Awareness raising (?)
    People rely on other rules Government
    • Ensure the prosecution of officials involved in embezzlement
    Civil Society:
    • Strengthening of NGOs
    Judiciary is not independent Civil Society:
    • Exposing corruption by the press, religious organization, cultural leaders and institutions (?)
    Improved prosecutorial capabilities FONAC and Team:
    • Lobby Minister of Justice to implement cabinet decision for recruiting staff for the embezzlement cases declared
    • Appointments with Ministers of Labour, and Finance
    30 days
    Ensuring prosecution of officials involved in embezzlement Civil Society and Team
    • Sustain the nomination of committee of 4 or 5 judges
    Ministries of Justice and Finance:
    • Organise special session for embezzlement cases
    • Ministers of Finance and Justice
    • Financial support of WB and other agencies
    • Financial and material support of gov't
    90 days?
    Illegal enrichment FONAC & Government (Director of Legislation):
    • Collect comparative info (legislation, institutional experience)
    • Analyze info
    • Perform local institutional assessment
    • Conduct seminar on "Reaching Consensus on Illegal Enrichment Laws"

    Civil Society:
    • Monitor and follow-up to press for law

    • Info sources: WB provision of info and expertise, IADB
    • Expert analysts
    • Managerial and institutional assessment experts: local and external
    • Facilitation, funding for event and proceedings publication, media advertising (radio, TV, print)
    • Committee

    30 days

    +45 days (after data collection)

    +90 days (after data collection)

    +1 day (after seminar)
    Awareness-raising Civil Society, Cultural Leaders and Religious Organizations:
    • Expose the results of embezzlement committee created on 18 May 1999 by the press and TV
    Cellule de Moralisation, FONAC and NGOs:
    • Sensitization campaign by spots and sketches on TIV and radio

    • Financial support from Gov't and NGOs

    • Financial support from WB, other agencies and Gov't

    60 days

    60 days
    Strengthening NGOsWB, Other Agencies and GVT:
    • Capacity building NGOs:
    • Study on self-reliance strategies
    • Consultants and financial support
    • Consultants (WB experts)
    As soon as possible

    As soon as possible
    Financial Management
    Draft of law by civil society and Parliament for simultaneous transmission of audit report to Gov't, Parliament and judiciary FONAC, NGOs:
    • Lobbying by civil society with the committee of law of Parliament FONAC:
    • Sensitization
    • Expertise from Direction de la Legislation
    • Financial support (media: TV, radio, press spot)
    3 months

    3 months
    Independence of internal auditors Civil Society and Parliament:
    • Make their nomination independent from Gov't Government: · Strengthening their professional capability
    • Survey to identify the most qualified structure/entity
    • Finance for training/WB support
    12 months

    18 months
    Each ministry must write procedures manual Civil Society (FONAC and NGOs):
    • Pressure and vulgarisation

    Cellule de la Moralisation:
    • Monitoring
    • Financial support (medias)
    • Financial support of Gov't
    Immediately/1 month

    1 month
    Include additional clause in the existing laws of control FONAC, NGOs and Direction de la Legislation:
    • Draft of additional clause "correctness of expenditures"
    Cellule de la Moralisation and FONAC:
    • Monitoring
    • Expert
    • Lobbying of civil society and media
    6 months

    12 months
    Weak procurement law FONAC, CNLC and Government (Director of Legislation):
    • Hold public hearing
    FONAC, CNLC, Government and Civil Service:
    • Draft revised law
    • Gov't approval of draft legislation
    • Parliament consideration and approval of legislation
    • Facilitator, communications and publishing expertise
    60 days

    +30 days

    +30 days

    Training staff in charge of the specification Government (Ministries of Education, Finance and Planning):
    • Implementation of training programme
    • WB support for expert and Ministry of Finance
    12 months
    Publication of the results of bidding and contracting Civil Society, Parliament and Direction de la Legislation:
    • Draft law
    • Expert and financial resources
    12 months
    Reduce exemptions from customs duties on import Government:
    • Exemptions are paid by the projects and then are reimbursed by the State Treasury
    • Enact the Decree
    12 months
    Write clear rules to avoid bad interpretation Government:
    • Produce a manual procedure
    • Financial support by WB and experts
    12 months
    Informatization of data system Government:
    • Capacity building (feasibility study, training and equipment)
    • Financial support from WB and other donors
    • Experts
    18 months
    De-politicize appointments of Customs Officers Government:
    Create a merit-based professional customs service with recruitment through open competition
    • Experts
    • Manual procedure
    12 months
    Accessibility to the international data price for Customs Government:
    • Connection of Customs Officer to internet
    • Financial support of WB
    • Capacity building
    12 months

    BENIN: Strategy Mix
    Trade Policies
    • Open economy
    • The system of exemption from custom duties cause fraud cases to the detriment of the staff
    • Customs does not have a database of reference prices, each inspector has his own valuation
    • Companies fabricate false bills of lading and invoices, Customs are unable to verify importers declarations
    • Review the Customs Code
    • Reduce exemptions from customs duties on imports
    • Monitoring of the exemptions allowed
    • Information of the data system
    Potential Delinquents
    • Mis-classification
    • Under-valuation
    • Goods in transit to other countries find their way into the national market
    • Improve the existing guidelines
    • Write clear rules to avoid bad interpretations
    The Political Executive
    • Staff change when another gov't comes to power
    • Heavy bribes paid for posting to lucrative] positions
    • Political interventions to Customs when goods are confiscated
    Government and Coalition partners:
    • De-politicize appointments to the Customs
    • Increase severity of sanctions in case of interventions
      Stop interference in postings and transfers
    • Establish clear rules for posting and transfer to border check post
    The Legislature
    • Political interventions to Customs to have exemptions
    Government and Civil Society:
    • Monitoring the exemptions allowed
    Civil Society:
    • Lobby legislators to develop political commitment for curbing corruption in Customs
    The Judiciary
    • Some Judges known to be corrupt
    • Grants adjournments of cases in frivolous grounds leading to long delays of proceedings
    • Judiciary too lenient
    Government and Judiciary:
    • Request Minister of Justice to strengthen vigilance over judicial officers and ensure that corruption cases are handled by Judges of unblemished integrity
    • Hold joint meetings of top judicial and executive officials to develop a consensus on the urgency to combat corruption
    National Anti-Corruption Laws and Agencies
    • The last corruption law (No. 80-6) dates back to 1980 and is not applied
    • Penal Code includes sanctions against bribe donors and receivers
    • Majority of corruption cases prosecuted by the justice relate to small fry
    • Amend and enhance anti-corruption laws
    • Abide by the law
    • Protect persons who denounce corruption cases
    General Integrity Environment in the Public Sector
    • More and more public servants are using their offices as means to be exploited for personal benefit
    • Lack of Code of Ethics for public servants
    • General weakening of ethical standards in the public sector
    Government and Civil Society:
    • Enact the Code of Ethics
    • Include study of the Code of Ethics in training of all civil servants
    • Make managers responsible for maintaining high levels of integrity through supervision and disciplinary actions
    • Combat illicit enrichment
    • Strengthen the investigative capacity of Inspector General of Finances and Audit Office
    Social Acceptance of Public Sector Corruption
    • Society becomes more tolerant towards corrupt public servants
    Government, Stakeholders and Civil Society:
    • Launch a broad-based campaign to build nat'l consensus on improving integrity standards in the public service
    Government and Civil Society:
    • Include anti-corruption themes in school and college curricula to sensitize future citizens
    • Lack of investigative journalism
    • Lack of official information about Customs operations
    • Request for information in specific cases stonewalled
    • Some journalists are corrupted by Customs officers to avoid scandal stories
      Government, Stakeholders and Other Parties:
      • Training of investigative journalists
      Government and Stakeholders:
      • Use the media to spread gov't efforts in curbing corruption
      Government and Other Parties:
      • Encourage grants (public) to the press
      • Enhance institutional capability of efficient civil society organizations
      Stakeholders, Civil Society and Other Parties:
      • Mass media education and communication campaign
      Civil Society
      • Weakness of civil society which still plays a peripheral role
      • Means of real pressure are insufficient
      • Affinity between members of civil society and political parties and Customs officers
      Stakeholders, Civil Society and Others:
      • Training civil society
      • Sharing of data info with civil society
      Civil Society:
      • Searching of financial resources
      • Enact Code of Ethics for NGOs

      BENIN: Civil Service Reform
      Reform ProposalsAnticipated Benefits Anticipated RisksSteps Leading to Action: Government, Civil Society, Core GroupAnti-Corruption ContributionWhere the Bank Can Assist
      Decentralization of basic social services to reg'l administrations
      • Reduce the monopoly increase the efficiency and responsiveness of service delivery
      • Duplication of activity and loss of funds
      • Political pressure at local level
      • Gov't and civil society (pressure)
      • Financial resources
      Fiscal decentralization
      • Increase the tax base
      • Improve local financial ability
      • Improve financial controls relating to revenue collection and expenditures
      • Weak local communities will be merged by the strongest
      • Gov't
      Autonomous central agency for university education, syllabus designing examination
      • Increase efficiency and service quality
      • Improve performance
      • Promote more accountability and transparency
      • Managerial autonomy
      • Resources used for the personal benefit of mgmt and staff
      • Misappropriation of funds
      • Gov't
      • Privatization of hospitals
      • Making them autonomous
      • Selling attached properties
      • Creating an agency for drug enforcement
      • Improve efficiency
      • Improve medical care
      • Increase efficiency and service quality
      • Promote transparency and accountability
      • Control quality of drugs
      • Improving people's health
      • High prices for medical care for poor people
      • Misappropriation of funds
      • Monopoly
      • Gov't

      • Technical support
      Improving Civil Service Compensation System
      • Bank salaries with allowances of central gov't to be raised
      • Instead of gov't residence encouraging employees to build their own houses
      • Monetization of senior officers facilities
      • Improve service conditions
      • Reduce corruption
      • Eliminate the "doing you a favor" syndrome
      • Reduce corruption
      • Reduction of public expenditures
      • Improve standard of living
      • Reduction of the state expenditures
      Continuous trend of increasing wages
      • Gov't



      Redressing public complaints regarding service quality
      • Development & adoption of Citizen Charters
      • Creation of Citizen Rights Groups
      • Joint supervision of service quality & public complaints by the service delivery institu-tion & the civil society
      • Revamping the inquiry procedure on public complaints
      • Measures to encourage whistle-blowing
      • Enforcement of the civil service rules
      • Pressure
      • Improvement of the efficiency of civil service
      • Respect of the users
      • Efficiency of the pressure on civil service
      False denunciation
      • Gov't and civil society
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