BreakingNews 20/8/15 - Approaching Anti Corruption With Dirty Hands & Institutional Bottlenecks In Nigeria

[ Masterweb Reports: Intersociety reports ] - (Onitsha Nigeria, 18th August 2015)- Crimes globally are divided into two major categories of “mala inse” (crimes with global application such as murder, armed robbery and rape) and “mala prohibita” (crimes defined differently by different countries such as adultery and some categories of white-collar crimes). “Corruption” as a crime appears to fall under “mala inse” because of its global reprehension leading to the adoption of the United Natios’ Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) by the member-States of the United Nations including Nigeria in 2003. The UN Anti Corruption Convention entered into force on 14th December 2005 with 176 signatories and 140 full State-Parties. Nigeria signed it on 3rd December 2003 and ratified it on 14th December 2004.

 

Corruption”, globally is a complex social, political and economic phenomenon that evades a universally accepted definition. It involves misconducts in public and private sectors for the purpose of obtaining material and non material illicit gains or favors. To be punishable, it must pass through the process of criminalization by a written and known criminal law. Corruption, on its own, cannot constitute crime or an offense, except aided by its agents such as bribery, fraud, kickbacks, extortion and embezzlement. The general invisible crimes are called “white-collar crimes”, which corruption is an integral part of. “Invisible crimes” are so called because of difficulties in detecting them. They are very common in “white-collar” society or civil service or pen-culture society, dominated by government and corporate entities. The opposite of “white-collar crimes” are “blue-collar crimes” or “street crimes” (stealing, robbery, auto theft, burglary, youth crimes, etc), usually common in “blue-collar society” or commercial areas. To Prof Edwin Sutherland (1949) of the Chicago Criminological School, “white-collar crime” is a crime committed by a person of respectability and high social status in the course of his or her occupation. It arises from fraud, embezzlement, (computer crime), bribery, insider trading, kick-backs, contract inflation, over-invoicing, identity theft, forgery, etc. The concept of white-collar crimes was popularized by Prof Sutherland in 1949.

 

Recognizing hefty challenges and difficulties associated with detection and punishment of crime of corruption, the United Nations strongly recommended “Prevention” as the most effective approach at curbing it. The United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) strongly recommended as follow: Corruption can be prosecuted after the fact, but first and foremost, it requires prevention. An entire chapter of the Convention is dedicated to prevention, with measures directed at both the public and private sectors. These include model preventive policies, such as the establishment of anticorruption bodies and enhanced transparency in the financing of election campaigns and political parties. States must endeavour to ensure that their public services are subject to safeguards that promote efficiency, transparency and recruitment based on merit. Once recruited, public servants should be subject to codes of conduct, requirements for financial and other disclosures, and appropriate disciplinary measures. Transparency and accountability in matters of public finance must also be promoted, and specific requirements are established for the prevention of corruption, in the particularly critical areas of the public sector, such as the judiciary and public procurement. Those who use public services must expect a high standard of conduct from their public servants. Preventing public corruption also requires an effort from all members of society at large. For these reasons, the Convention calls on countries to promote actively the involvement of non-governmental and community-based organizations, as well as other elements of civil society, and to raise public awareness of corruption and what can be done about it. Article 5 of the Convention enjoins each State Party to establish and promote effective practices aimed at the prevention of corruption. The UNCAC also recommended domestic criminalization of agents of corruption, international cooperation, technical cooperation and information exchange among Member-States.



 

We had in the first part of this all-important public statement condemned the corruption and bastardization of anti corruption policies by successive governments in Nigeria. To prevent and fight corruption, hands and characters of the country’s political office holders must be remotely and immediately clean and upright. Unfortunately, the present government in Nigeria has in its political camp dominated by “captains of corruption” and it is immorally capable to rid the country of the scourge of corruption. The general aim of our publication is to open the eyes of Nigerians and expose attempts by the present government to take them for granted using anti corruption mantra. The statement is also aimed at opening the eyes of ordinary Nigerians and their political leaders alike to the effect that “corruption” has several dimensions and agents or triggers.

 

Dimensions Of Corruption: Corruption is simply defined as the abuse of bestowed power or position for the purpose of acquiring personal gain or benefit. Corruption includes many agents such as bribery, embezzlement, manipulation of electoral process and abuse of office. Government or Political Corruption: This occurs when a public office holder or other government employees act reprehensively in an official capacity for personal or material gain. It is also official misuse of powers or public resources for personal gain.

 

Political Corruption is divided into electoral corruption, legal or legislated corruption, grand political corruption and petty political corruption. Legislated or legal corruption is the use of legislated powers by government officials for illegitimate private gains such as outrageous allotment of public funds for overheads and allowances for the maintenance and sustenance of public offices and officials. Manipulation of permanent voters’ cards and use of millions of child or under-age voters during elections are all components of political corruption; likewise non public declaration of assets and non composition of the fede

 
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