Corruption is the abuse of public power for private benefit. The notion of corruption as the abuse of public power for private gain could be seen as a conflict between the obligation to exercise public power in the public’s interest, and the self-interest of an individual to use or exploit them for private gain.
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Corruption is a major societal and institutional challenge in Nigeria to both the public and private sectors. For decades, successive governments have made attempts to address the corruption problems in the country and have led to the enactment of laws and the introduction of policies on anti-corruption and public governance.
In this article, we will look at some of the laws that have been introduced to curb corruption in Nigeria.
Anti-Corruption Legislation In Nigeria
Recovery of Public Property (Specific Provisions) Act, 1983
This Act is targeted specifically at public officers who may have enriched themselves unjustly by virtue of their position in public service. The Act focuses on public officers and their activities in service and allows for the investigation and recovery of property acquired as a result of unethical conduct or corrupt practices in the course of public service.
Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act, 1991
This Act addresses the prevention and punishment of unethical conduct of public officials. It establishes a Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) and a Code of Conduct Tribunal which deal with complaints of unethical conduct of public officials. Again, the focus of the law is the public sector.
The Corrupt Practices and Related Offences Act, 2000
This Act defines and prescribes punishment for corrupt acts while also providing for institutional mechanisms for the execution of its mandate.
This Act establishes the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), an institution with legal personality which is charged with the responsibility for investigating and prosecuting offences committed in violation of the provisions of the Act.
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The commission is an independent institution, which is not under the control of any other institution or person.
Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (Establishment) Act, 2004
This Act established the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in 2002, with the primary responsibility of defining, investigating and prosecuting economic and financial crimes.
Amongst these are common corrupt practices such as bribery, embezzlement, intellectual property theft and illegal; oil bunkering.
The EFCC does not restrict itself to crimes committed in the course of public or even private duty, but rather with acts that are aimed at acquiring wealth in an unlawful manner.
Other Laws Introduced By Military And Civilian Governments To Fight Corruption In Nigeria Include
- Corrupt Practices Decree 1975
- Public Complaints Commission 1975
- The Public Officer Investigation of Assets Decree 1976
- Ethical Revolution 1981
- War against Indiscipline 1984
- Corrupt Practices Decree 1984
- Mass Mobilization for Social Justice and Economic Recovery (MAMSER) 1985
- Foreign Exchange Decree 1995
- Money Laundering Decree 1995
- Banks and Other Financial Institutions Act 1991
- National Orientation Agency 1992
- War Against Indiscipline and Corruption (WAIC) 1994
- Advance Fee Fraud and Other Related Offences Decree 1995
- The Corrupt Practices and Related Offences Act, 2000
- Advance Fee Fraud, Corrupt, Practices and Money Laundering Act 2004
- Advance Fee Fraud and Other Related Offence Act 2006
- Fiscal Responsibility Act 2010
- Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative 2010
- Money Laundering Prohibition Act 2011
As noted above, corruption has become a crime of increasing concern to state governments and the international community. While the definition of corruption used to cover only public officials, it has been broadened to cover private officials and foreign public officials, including officials of international organisations.
The responsibility of professional institutions and their members for the prevention of crimes related to corruption has also been increased, and everyone must be educated in order to avoid criminal liability.
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