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ANTI-GRAFT AGENCIES – ICPC AND EFCC ENHANCING PRUDENT FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT IN NIGERIA: ROLE AND CHALLENGES
- BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Nigeria has been stigmatized by the international community as one of the most corrupt countries in the world. For three consecutives years, 2000, 2001 and 2002, it maintained the unenviable position of being the second most corrupt nation in the world,(Ogiri 2008:2). The rating came up as a consequence of several failed attempts in the past to wipe out corruption or reduce it to a tolerable level in the polity. From the Jaji Declaration in 1977 by Olusegun Obansanjo; the Ethical Revolution of Shagari in 1981-1983; the War Against Indiscipline by Buhari in 1984; the National Orientation Movement by Babangida in 1986; the Mass Mobilization for Social Justice by Babangida in 1987; the War Against Indiscipline and Corruption in 1996 by Abacha; to the Anti-Corruption Act 2000 again by President Olusegun Obasanjo, this is the first time in the series of several efforts to fight corruption that the attempt has the force of law with severe sanctions, Ayola (2006:5).
In the last 20 years, the pervasiveness of corruption in all its ramifications has assumed renewed dimensions of cancerous proportions in Nigeria, to the extent that the Germany-based Transparency International, a respected Independent, universal non-governmental organization ranked Nigeria in the unenviable position of being the most corrupt nation in the world for a consecutive period of more than 7 years. The unpleasant news was published in all national newspapers in Nigeria, according to Ukiro (2008:4).
In foreign countries, Nigerians are regarded and treated as corrupt people. Unlike other nationals, no bank would allow Nigerians to open a bank account as of right. The Nigerian Green Passport is synonymous with corruption. Consequently, at foreign airports, Nigerians with green passports are separated from other nationals. While others are allowed to go freely, Nigerians are subjected to degrading and inhuman treatments and treated as pariahs on the ground that they are Nigerians who hail from the most corrupt country of the world. The recent attempt by a Nigerian, Farouk Mutullab to bomb an American plane on Christmas day, 25th December, 2009 aggravated matters for Nigerians. The former governor of Bayelsa State, DSP Alamieseghe who was detained in London on charges of financial fraud got home here in Nigeria in a mysterious circumstance.
National newspapers are filled with stories of looted money stashed in foreign banks. The stolen resources, lost by Nigeria through endemic corruption and abuse of office have had inimical effects on the economy of the country. First, is the issue of inflation and its pressuring effects on the economy as a result of irregular distortions in economic indices and lack of control on monetary and fiscal policy engendered by the availability of such funds of massive proportions outside normal economic activity. Secondly, the inflationary trends has the effect of lowering living standards to stupendous proportions such that what is known as the ‘Middle Class’ was virtually wiped out, so that what hitherto were basic necessities of life became luxuries. It is a notorious fact that, whilst in 1979, the US Dollar exchanged with the Nigerian Naira at the rate of US$1 to N0.85k, it has plummeted (fallen) to the commercial rate of US$1 to N142 in 2002. In the corresponding period, while inflation rate in the United States of America rose by about 15% in real terms in 23 years, it has risen by about 2000% in Nigeria.
All these stark statistics are induced by all means in no small measure, by illicit capital flight engendered by corruption.
The crisis which endemic corruption has triggered off in Nigeria, certainly poses ex-political stability, the National interest and integrity of the Nigerian Nation. This, no doubt, goes beyond local and state concern. The eradication of corruption is therefore a National one, as the perilous effect touches and affects every Nigerian, regardless of tribe, religion and state of origin. Indeed, a Nigerian is not known or lined to a state of origin outside Nigeria”.
In March 1997 Edition of Transparency International Newsletter, it was recorded that the United Nations Economic and Social Council adopted a resolution in which it called on “all governments to fight corruption more decisively”. It was then stressed that there was global concerted effort to ensure that the issue of corruption was addressed and tackled universally. There is an international body based in Berlin, Germany, hosting several member countries poised to combat bribery, which is known as the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). Chief Afe Babalola quoted from the Supplement to Transparency International Newsletter, September 1994 as follows: “OECD governments today (Paris, 27th May, 1994) agreed to take collective action to tackle the problem of bribery in international business transactions. The OECD Recommendation on Bribery in International Business Transactions is the first multilateral agreement among governments to combat the bribery of foreign officials and represents a breakthrough in a difficult area. While nearly all countries have laws against the bribery of their own officials, most do not provide legal sanctions for the bribery of foreign officials by their nationals or their domestic enterprises.
Bribery presents moral and political challenges and, in addition, exacts a heavy economic cost, hindering the development of international trade and investment by raising transaction costs and distorting the operation of free markets. It is especially damaging to developing countries since it diverts needed assistance and increase the cost of that assistance.
- STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
There are growing concerns about the deplorable condition of the economy aggravated by corruption in Nigeria. Nigerians and the government alike have expressed considerable worry about the state of the economy, poor growth, and development in all sectors due to the presence of hydra-headed monster called corruption, (Okoduwa, 2008:6).
There are frequent incidents of corruptions in Federal and Sate Ministries, Departments and Agencies and in Federal, State and Local government areas of the country. All these nefarious activities have led to poor governance, poor performance, and diversion of public funds while ethical values are undermined. This issue of monumental corruption has made President Olusegun Obasanjo to inaugurate the two anti-graft agencies, the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) and Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) in 2000 and 2002 respectively. The mandates are for the two agencies to fight corruption to a standstill, have zero-tolerance for corruption. The crisis which endemic corruption has triggered off in Nigeria, certainly poses political stability, the National interest and integrity of the Nigerian Nation. This, no doubt, goes beyond local and state concern. The eradication of corruption is therefore a National one as the perilous effect touches and affects every Nigerian regardless of tribe, religion and state of origin.
In very clear and unequivocal terms, Transparency International declares “that corruption fuels poverty and injustice for millions of ordinary citizens”. The development assistance aimed to reduce poverty and to support equitable economic and social development; both the recipients and donors must ensure that development resources are used for their intended purposes and not diverted through corruption, wastes or abuse, that respected body further stated. Not only does corruption undermine international effects to reduce poverty, it also further compromises the welfare of the most marginalized communities. Furthermore, corruption also skews the playing field when it comes to access to key public services such as education, health, water and market for goods and services. It undermines political processes and political plurality while in post conflict areas and fragile states, corruption amplifies and inflames existing tension( Ukiros2008:7). Today in South Africa, former African National Congress president, Nelson Mandela is known for his legacies in getting Independence. Martin Luther Junior is remembered for his reform legacies in America after many years he passed on. In Nigeria, the reverse is the case. Many Nigerian leaders and their citizens are corrupt. In view of the foregoing dangers of corruption, the former president of Nigeria, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo succinctly observed that: “Corruption has been responsible for the instability of successive governments since the first Republic. Every coup since then has been in the name of stamping out the disease called corruption. Unfortunately, the cure often turned out to be worse than the disease and Nigeria’s external image took a serious bashing, as our beloved country began to feature on top of every corruption index”.
Over the years, there have been studies and activities to stamp out corruption from such agencies like the police, customs, code of conduct bureau, Civil Defence, but all to no avail. From 2000 onwards, ICPC and EFCC were inaugurated and the researcher deemed it fit to find out how the functions, challenges, and prospects of the anti-graft agencies- ICPC and EFCC have impacted in tackling the debilitating monster called corruption, so as to better our country – Nigeria.
- THE OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The following are the objectives of the study:
- To determine the causes of corruption in Nigeria.
- To ascertain the impact of corruption on the economic growth and development in Nigeria.
- To carefully determine the effectiveness of the Anti-graft Agencies – ICPC and EFCC in combating corruption in Nigeria.
- To determine the functional differences between ICPC and EFCC in the fight against corruption in Nigeria.
- To identify the possible problems militating against the effective fight against corruption by the two Anti-graft commissions in private and public institutions in Nigeria.
- RESEARCH QUESTIONS
(1) What are the causes of corruption in different establishments in Nigeria?
(2) What are the impacts of corruption on financial management, economic growth and development in Nigeria?
(3) How effective are ICPC and EFCC in fighting corruption in Nigeria?
(4) How do the functions of ICPC differ from those of the EFCC in fighting corruption?
(5) What are the possible problems or challenges militating against anti corruption crusade by the anti-graft agencies – ICPC and EFCC in private and public intuitions in Nigeria?
(a) Ha: Corruption is caused by inordinate ambition of many Nigerians.
(b) Ha: There is a relationship between the impact of corruption on the level of economic growth and development in Nigeria.
(c) Ha: There are effective operational strategies in fighting
corruption by the anti-graft agencies.
(d) Ha: There are conflicting functions of ICPC and EFCC in the
fight against corruption.
(e) Ha: There are monumental problem/challenges militating against
the effective performance of anti graft agencies in the fight against corruption.
- THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The study is significant because of its usefulness to the captains of business organizations (both publicly and privately owned), the government regulatory agencies, research groups, the general public and for the survival of our country, Nigeria.
THE CAPTAINS OF INDUSTRIES: The captains of industries whose responsibility it is to make those decisions that affect both the internal and external policies of their organizations will have the benefit of better understanding of the importance of fighting corruption to enhance their organizational performances.
THE GOVERNMENT: The government unquestionably is responsible for developing those policies, frameworks that will eradicate corruption and consequently the study from the research will bring more awareness to the Government, on further ways to fight corruption.
ANTI-GRAFT AGENCIES: The staff will be in a better position to strategize more, articulate issues and develop a more radical holistic approach in fighting corruption.
The fight against corruption cannot be over-emphasized as such efforts will help in prudent management of the resources available to the nation and in equitable allocation of these resources to the masses.
REGULATORY AGENCIES: The regulatory agencies of businesses are as well exposed more on issues of corruption and the research will help such agencies to check mate corruption in their establishments.
RESEARCH GROUPS: Those who wish to carry out further research in this area or in related area will find the research work very useful as it will provide them with the required information.
GENERAL PUBLIC: Every Nigerian is a stakeholder in Nigerian Project and will benefit from this noble study.
- SCOPE AND LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY
The research study is intended to cover all spheres of human endeavour in Nigeria, most especially ministries, departments, agencies, banks, public institutions, federal, state and local government offices, but for reasons of constraints such as limited time, limited finance, the largeness of the area