|Dr. Wilfred Mamah|
corruption will kill us.”
Presidential statement would continue to resonate for various reasons: It
captured the mood of the nation and rightly placed anti-corruption at the
centre of national survival.
obvious: it clearly identified the subtle nature of the fight: it is a fight
against portent and desperate enemies who have conspired against the State,
with a view to capturing and decimating her people.
winning a war, like this, requires a clear understanding of the enemies and
weapons at their disposal.
understand the physiological and psychological make-ups of these people who
have conspired to keep this country, perpetually improvised through massive
stealing of development funds.
corruption cases, past and present, points inexorably to one fact: those who
steal public money are not ordinary people.
of power, authority and trust. They are always very enlightened people. They
are usually wealthy and very class conscious.
to the teeming majority they lord over, they stand out, because of their power
of wealth and propaganda. Their unique taste and consumption styles are quite
eye-catching. Their political philosophy is usually market -oriented.
celebrate classical capitalism, in which the ‘haves’
are privileged to have more, and the ‘have-nots’
are grouped as disposable people.
lose even the little they have to the aggressive, deregulated market in which
the conspirators dominate.
Strategy: Grand alliance with the Oppressed
require a President that identifies with the oppressed majority, the ‘have-nots’,
who have been dispossessed by the corrupt elites.
austere President who has what it takes to lead a successful fight against the ‘caterpillars
of our common wealth.’
utterances, demeanor and action since his inauguration, it could be stated that
there is now a strong political will for fighting corruption in Nigeria.
succeed, however, this strong political will must translate to coordinated and
effective legislative actions that upgrade the current institutional framework
and empowers a grand coalition of the people in order to lay solid bedrock for
decapitating chronic corruption and the impunity that goes with it.
is the very weapon that the conspirators despise: regulation.
that consigns the role of government to that of a ‘night watchman’,
so that they can muzzle the poor and whip them into slavish submission.
their corrupt practices, recover their loot and deny them their cherished liberty
for epicurean profligacy.
pro-people strategy. Institutions are critical because they set the rules of
the game, without which we cannot separate corrupt from non-corrupt, neither
can we trace and recover proceeds of corrupt acts.
causative and historical antecedents and peering through the crystal balls to
see whether the unprecedented stealing of public funds is a result of our
nature or nurture, but we will make no progress until we take the pragmatic
institutional steps to stop it.
ensure that EFCC and ICPC; the key anticorruption bodies, do not have
overlapping and conflicting duties.
the institutions may not be as powerful as taking a second look at their roles
to ensure that issues of duplication are settled.
dreaded enemy with two or multiple hands, provided that each weapon thrown at
the enemy achieves a clearly defined and desired role.
redundant in the face of a dreaded foe. A major task here is to interrogate who
is doing what and come up with clearly delineated functions for each of the
the lumping of investigatory, prosecutorial and asset tracing role on one
institution cannot be justified especially as it flies in the face of
international best practice.
action is required in order to review the EFCC and ICPC laws, with a view to
reforming and refocusing the agencies to achieve better results. Insulating the
agencies from political interference will also require a constitutional effort.
are constitutionally insulated from interference, by securing their
independence and financial autonomy. A key criticism of the anti-corruption
efforts in Nigeria has often revolved around ‘witch-hunting’
of political enemies.
by the conspirators to distract attention, it is important to note that
perception is critical here as every serious student of justice knows that wrong
perception could be fatal to the course of justice.
justice must not only be done but must be seen to have been done. Taking a
constitutional step to insulate the anti-corruption bodies from any form of
executive/legislative interference would go a long way in promoting effectiveness
of the anti-graft bodies and silence the conspirators.
hindered by complicated laws, like the Anti-Money Laundry Act that requires not
only proof of laundering but proof that the money laundered came from illegal
Nigeria was as result of the inelegant drafting of the Anti-Money Laundry Law,
which made it possible for a brilliant defense lawyer to raise series of
doubts, which as we know, would ultimately count in favour of the accused in
any adversarial criminal justice system.
proven otherwise and the burden of proof in criminal trials is the highest
level proof beyond reasonable doubt. Legislative reforms aimed at simplifying
these overarching laws would be needed.
need for a more effective Asset Declaration Framework. The Code of Conduct
Bureau/Tribunal, as recent events throw up would need to be looked into to
ensure that their provisions do not conflict with the Constitution.
gap with regard to the process of disclosure. The Constitution currently does
not require public disclosure of assets and liabilities. This is a
discomforting omission because the public cannot monitor what they do not know.
aid accountability through public scrutiny. The opaque nature of the Constitution
with regard to declaration of asset in a public manner has meant that public
asset declaration has been elevated as a testimonial of a magnanimous/ good
than mere compliance to what should be expected in any decent society. Public
asset and liability declarations should be a given in a democracy worth its
Ethics in Government Bill, proposed by Olisa Agbakoba to the First National
Assembly in 1998. It is strongly urged that there is need for promulgation of
Ethics in Government Bill to put pay to whether Assets should be declared
publicly or not.
crucial areas that are often lost sight of as the pursuit of retribution often
diverts attention to where the focus should lie.
our jurisprudence could be too mechanistic.To achieve a more enduring impact
on societal growth, it stands to reason that that Criminal Law must have to
interact with Criminology, the science of criminal behavior.
and recovery of stolen funds are the most beneficial stages of the
anti-corruption efforts. The Criminologist may further posit that recovering
both the stolen funds and thief (offender) ought to be the focus of the
honest to state that the EFCC’s mandate
to trace and recover assets has not been very successful. It could be argued
that for a country desperate for development, recovery of stolen assets may be
more important than incarceration of the offender.
celebrated conviction of James Ibori in the UK, Nigeria is yet to recover the
stolen assets. Abacha‟s
assets are still outstanding.
relies on the Mutual Legal Assistance Programme, with countries like, US, UK.
This programme has not been very beneficial. There is a need for a political
decision to ensure that all trials take place in Nigeria.
system to meet the standard required internationally. Developing expertise of
lawyers and law firms in this regard will also be fruitful.
in asset-tracing and recovery becomes more compelling when one takes a close
look at billions of African Stolen wealth abroad.
participant asked a Swiss prosecutor, what do you do when you recover Nigeria’s
money? He responded that they set up a Trust Fund and nominate a prominent
Nigerian into the board.
stolen wealth, abroad, whilst many are dying at home because of lack of money?
Clearly, the current system of asset-tracing and recovery, which generally
separates the real owners of the asset from it, until certain stringent
conditions are met, is not good enough and risks recovered asset remaining
Treaty and related international law instruments should provide the bases for challenging
the current practice.
aid development in a country like Nigeria that is still struggling with basic
needs of life. Nigeria ought to demonstrate readiness to be on the driver seat
of this effort by strengthening and creating impregnable institutions and
improving speed of free, internationally-compliant criminal justice system.
corruption is a class war. It is a war between the forces of good and evil;
between crude/short-sighted egoism and enlightened/ far-sighted self- interest.
all, especially the oppressed generality of our people stand up in unison
against the very few people that are keen to rock the ship of our nation
through massive stealing.
President pursues the institutional pathway to combating corruption. Carrying
Civil Society Organisations and the Nigerian people along would be critical to
powerful, privileged class of Nigerians. To demobilize the seemingly confounding
weapons of propaganda and wealth, they wield, the President must align with
CSOs and Nigerian people.
be just but must be seen to be just.
Development Law, Olisa Agbakoba Legal.