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Keywords:ANTIGRAFT AGENCIES AND ANTI CORRUPTION CAMPAIGNS IN NIGERIA (2011-2015)
1.1 Background of study
Corruption, which is the abuse of public power for private gain could be seen as a conflict between the obligation to exercise a public power on the public interest and self -interest of an individual to use or exploit them for private gain.
According to Shehu (2006), corruption is insidious involving often the bribery and extortion cases, the giver and taker, both of who are unwilling to reveal the occurrence of corruption. Eme (2010) posits that corruption is complex that human understanding of the extent of its impact remains limited. If corruption is a complex phenomenon, then a proper understanding of its impact must not only focus on the perpetrators but also on the specific conditions in which it occurs, Eme further stated.
Shehu (2006) basically categorized corruption and he is of the opinion that grand or petty corruption is said to be more prevalent in societies with weak observance of the rule of law. Corruption can also be passive or active. No matter the category, it has its circumstantial consequences. Rule of law can be used to describe respect for laws and regulations. It is a complex concept as it could be a manifestation as well as a symptom of corruption.
Kaufman (2000), argued that corruption exists within specific conditions in any society, although it is not peculiar, its incidence is more severe in developing countries.
The widespread of corruption is more obvious in developing countries and this is not because the people are different from people from other parts of the world, but because the conditions are ripe for it.
In developing countries, Nigeria inclusive, the motivation to earn income from among the populace is relatively stronger; exacerbated by poverty, unemployment and low wages. Generally, accountability is weak in Nigeria as political competition and civil liberties are often restricted. Shehu (2006) posits that laws and principles of ethics in government are poorly developed and the legal instrument charged with enforcing them are ill- prepared.
Egwemi (2007) argued thatcorruption is seen as one human vice which requires immediate tackling because of its damaging consequences as it is not a problem which solution can be put to another day.This specifically explains the reason why most countries have in place institutions charged with the arduous responsibility of tackling the menace (Okeshola, 2012). Fighting corruption in a country like Nigeria is a difficult task and this is so because the corrupt have the tendency to use their power, influence and loot to subvert prosecution. Okeshola further stated thatin the Nigeria environment, the judiciary is believed to have been compromised and some people are protected by immunity, which has made it becomes a very challenging task to exhaustively and genuinely battle the monster of corruption.
Apparently, this appears to be the situation in Nigeria, where the problem of corruption has been discussed at various fora with a view to dealing with the monster. However, the scourge of corruption seems to have defied solution (Egwemi, 2007).
Mundt and Aborishade (2004:707) captured the seeming intractability of the corruption menace in the following words; “each political regime comes to power promising to eliminate the practice and punish the offenders only to fall into the same pattern”.
It is worthy to note that there is a need to demand for accountability of officials and employees who manage public sector activitiesas they need to render adequate accounts of their activities to the public. The public needs to receive accountability report in order to assess the performance of those entrusted with the public sector resources. The situation here is so unfortunate, in the sense that the law makers, who are supposed to demand for accountability from the public officer are even more corrupt (Ameh,2007).
In his inaugural speech, the former President Obasanjo singled out corruption as the strongest bane of Nigeria’s development and promised to tackle the problem head-on.Sequel to the menace of these crimes and the recognition of the magnitude and gravity of the situation led to the establishment of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), in 2004 and its twin commission the Independence Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) in 2000, which both are now enforcement commission set up mainly to arrest, investigate and recover funds and properties of the government that have been illegally diverted into private pockets by some dubious citizens. It is against this backdrop that this study seek to examine the anti-graft agencies and anti-corruption campaigns in Nigeria 2011-2015.
1.2 Statement of problem
Corruption crept into the Nigerian system immediately after independence in 1960 and even if themagnitude was nothing compared to the level it has now assured, it was prevalent, particularly among the government officials and politicians (and Edikan, 2008). When the war against fraud and corruption eventually started in 2000 and 2004 when ICPC and EFCC were established. Several Akpanarrests, prosecution and recovery of public fund and properties have been made and yet fraud and corruption is still increasing rapidly.
The major objective of government in the establishment of these anti-graft bodies is the issue of accountability and the fight against fraudulent practices (Momoh,2010). Some of the specific objectives of these establishments include:
- Fight corruption; minimize waste, dishonesty and extravagance.
- To apprehended dishonest corrupt civil, public servants and deter potentials ones.
- The co-ordination and enforcement of all economic and financial crime law.
- Taking charge of supervising, controlling, coordinating all the responsibilities, functions and activitiesrelating to the current investigation and prosecution of all offences connected with or relating toeconomic and financial crimes consultation with the Attorney General of the federation.
The biggest problem facing the campaign against corruption in Nigeria is its political connection, internal control system, poor accounting record keeping and qualify staff and the problems of plea bargaining and presidential pardon on fraudsters (Ameh 2007). (Akpan, 2008), posits that most Nigerians are of the view that the campaign against corruption is sometime selective, some believe that some people can carry out corruption without being noticed. Moreso, the Attorney General of the federation who is empowered with the constitutional right to institute criminal proceeding against any offender as enshrined in the 2011 constitution as amended section 174 and sec 211 for state do not want to exercise this constitutional right but rather prefer to enter NolleProsequi to free fraudsters. This undoubtedly is the most controversial power of the Attorneys General, to discontinue at any stage before judgment of a criminal proceeding. (Achua, 2009) posit that there is an urgent need to protect the common wealth from poor performance and fraud and also to protect individuals from lawless, arbitrary and capricious actions by the states surrogate administrators.
Nigerians and the government alike have expressed considerable worry about the state ofthe economy, poor growth, and development in all sectors due to the presence of hydra-headed monster called corruption, (Okoduwa, 2008:6).
Over the years, there have been studies and activities to stamp out corruption from all sectors in the country, but all to no avail. From 2000 onwards, ICPC and EFCC were inaugurated and the researcher deemed it fitto examine the anti-graft agencies and anti-corruption campaigns in Nigeria between 2011 and 2015.
1.3 Research Question
The following questions will guide this study
- Have the Anti-graft Agencies been effective in combating corruption in Nigeriabetween 2011 to 2015?
- What are the causes of ineffectiveness of the anti-graft agencies towards the anti-corruption campaign between 2011 to 2015?
- Does the government interferences have any effect on the anti-corruption campaign embarked upon by the anti-graft agencies?
- Have the political big wigs hijacked the anti-corruption campaign of the anti-graft agencies?
- What are the possible problems or challenges militating against anti-corruption crusade by the anti-graft agencies?
1.4 Objectives of the Study
The main objective of this study therefore is to seek to examine the anti-graft agencies and the anti-corruption campaigns in Nigeria between 2011 and 2015.
More specific objectives include:
- 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 between 2011 to 2015
- To ascertain the cause ofineffectiveness of the anti-graft agencies in the anti-corruption campaign between 2011 to 2015
- To examine theeffect of government’s interferences on the anti-corruption campaignembarked upon by the anti-graft agencies
- To ascertain if the anti-graft agencies anti-corruption campaign have been hijacked by the political big wigs
- To identify the possible problems militating against the effective fight against corruption by the two Anti-graft agencies
1.5 Significance of Study
The study is significant because of its usefulness to the captains ofbusiness organizations (both publicly and privately owned), the government regulatory agencies, research groups, the general public and for the survival of our country, Nigeria.
1.6 Research Methodology
In carrying out this study, both primary and secondary data will be utilized. Primary data will be sourced from the respondents through direct interview and administration of questionnaires. Furthermore, secondary sources of data to be utilized in this study will gotten from Text books, Journals, Magazines, Newspapers, Internet and so on.
1.7 Literature Review
According to Transparency International (2010), corruption is either the abuse of public office or misuse of entrusted trust for personal gains.
At micro level, it may be perpetrated to meet basic needs due to prevalent poverty while greed may be attributed to the abuse of public office and trust for personal gains. Meanwhile, its abhorring nature has lent credence to its popularity in the contemporary literature. Hence, “its conceptualization is intertwined with ideological, moral, cultural and political perspectives” (Otusanya, 2011b: 388). Financial crime has widely been entangled with politics as it is usually conceived in academic literature as either misuse of public office or breach of trust for personal gains by political elites (see Osborne, 2007; Camerer, 2007; Vermeulen, 2007). Hanna et al. (2011) define it politically to include “a situation where a bureaucrat overtly asks a citizen for a monetary bribe in order toperform a basic, but often illegal, service, such as providing someone with a residency card etc” (p.8). Intrinsic in its essence is the deliberate deprivation of or causing loss to another party for selfish gain. Public recognition and power are usually the instruments possessed by political elites to deprive people of their needs for selfish gains. More so, no any single sector has the monopoly of financial malpractices. Dye (2007) sees financial crime as a behaviour that can occur in both public and private domains. He then defines it to include: “fraud, bribery, political corruption, conflict of interest, embezzlement, nepotism, and extortion.
Examples of government operations particularly vulnerable to corruption are travel claims;collection of taxes and customs revenues; administration of procurement contracts; concessions of subsidies, permits, and licenses; hiring, administration of personnel, and payroll systems; privatization processes; petty cash abuse; and e-commerce andInternet credit card transactions” (p. 308)
Ideologically and culturally however, it is perceived in Africa that the sub-culture of corruption is the acceptable face of capitalism and any form of commercial transaction, especially with the West/Multinational corporations must necessarily involve an element of corruption as bribery is regarded as a petty cash (Oruene, 2007). Hence financial crime is inherent in any business transaction involving people and measured on cost/benefit analysis basis.
Several reasons have been adduced for the perpetration of financial crimes. Mobolaji (2012) believes that it is either induced by greed or need. It is considered greed when done by the elites to impoverish the vulnerables. Otusanya (2012) extends the discussion of greed to include the economic ties with the developed world, involvement of multinational corporations and top government officials, money laundering through offshore financial centres and other forms of abuse of Information Technology. The need-induced financial crime is perpetrated by the impoverished citizens as they are being denied of their basic needs. Poverty, lack of adequate health care and other basic facilities could also leave victims with no option than corruption. Corruption of this type takes the form of small size embezzlement, bribery, collusion to defraud organizations and other forms of mean opportunistic crimes. Though, there are no generally agreed reasons for the causes of financial crimes (Dye, 2007), they vary from country to country but majorly, unstable government and institutional faults, lack of good implementation of government programmes and policies, corrupt judicial systems and anticrime institutions, poor remuneration of workers and weak accountability and transparency structures are apparent causes in the developing worlds.
1.8 Theoretical Framework
This study will adopt the opportunity theory which moves the explanation of corruptionaway from focusing solely on the offender at a macroeconomic level. It identifies the need to involve a third party in the principal-agent relationship so as to serve as guardianship for the investments of the principal. It thus exposes the flaws of agency theory by contending that a premeditated connivance of a weak guardian and a motivated offender (agent) against a vulnerable target (principal) will result in a thriving corruption. This theory was popularized by Cohen and Felson (1979) to explain how routine activity could lead to the vulnerability to crime of an unsuspecting target in the hands of groups who have both inclination and ability to commit crime. The taking place of many activities outside the sight of a suitable target of his attractive valuables may be sufficient enough motivation for the connivance of the guardian (umpire) and the offender (agent). This may therefore necessitate the need for an appropriate sanction or threat by the society.
It is a commonplace practice for all societies to deter offenders by imposing or threatening sanctions on corruption, Sherman’s (1993) defiance theory contends that such sanctions may sometimes deter, but could also have no effect andsometimes could have the opposite of their intended effects. Corruption is more pronounced, even with impunity, among corrupt office holders who may want to outsmart the provisions of the law to protect his corrupt acts. They usually want tobe perpetuated in office or at least are enriched corruptly to protect their future (Mobolaji, 2012). Evidences were provided in Nigeria to suggest that the economic and political elites have dominated the state and other regulatory agencies, as a result of which many anti-social practices are not investigated and a number of investigative reports remain unpublished (Fawehinmi, 2004; Otusanya, 2012). Thence, even if sanctions are imposed on corruption, the dominance of the corrupt elites would deter its effects. Sherma (2003) theoretically prophesized this as his defiance theory believes that the effect of the sanction on corruption is a function of three factors namely; (1) the dignity of the alleged offenders, (2) societal bondage of the offender and (3) the shame implicit in the sanctions.
Therefore, the corrupt public officer or political elite would rather harness more benefits than cost of engaging in corruption to be well equipped against possible shame that may succeed his engagement in corruption.
Given the backdrop of the above theories, this study therefore, evaluates the potency and faithfulness of the EFCC as an anti-graft agent, in order to evaluate its guardianship strength with regards to its principal (the populace) against the capitalist and corrupt tendencies of motivated offenders (corrupt public officials) inline with the argument of the routine activity theory. Further, defiance theory offers a platform to test the effect of the sanctions meted out against corrupt officials by the anti-graft agency.
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Keywords: ANTIGRAFT AGENCIES AND ANTI CORRUPTION CAMPAIGNS IN NIGERIA (2011-2015)
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