The swearing-in of Chief Olusegun Obasanjo on 29 May 1999, as the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces was a political watershed for Nigeria after several years of military rule and it marked a new dawn for Nigeria in more ways than one, not least in the fight against corruption. At the time the civilian administration came into power, corruption in Nigeria had indeed become a full blown cancer. In 1999, Transparency International Corruption Perception Index rated Nigeria the second most corrupt nation in the world.
Although corruption is a global malaise, the extent of its reach in the country was tragically stupendous. All indicators showed that the spread of this cancer had become frightening. It pervaded private and public institutions and overwhelmed all levels of government.
The price of corruption has been extremely high. The economic, political, social and moral bases of the country have been severely eroded and degraded. It has brought us near the brink and almost rendered us helpless and hopeless. Even religious institutions, the gate keepers of the nation’s moral conscience, were not immune to the ravages of the cancer. It became imperative that something drastic had to be done to arrest the rot. This impelled the commitment of the President to tackle corruption head-on.
The ICPC Act 2000 brought a fresh and decisive perspective to the fight against corruption in the form of a holistic approach encompassing enforcement, prevention and educational measures. It captures in a single document, a host of corrupt offences in their old and sophisticated guises. It sets up the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission with wide-ranging powers. The Act brings under its purview all Nigerians, in the private and public sectors and even those public officers with constitutional immunity.
Independent Corrupt Practices And Other Related Offences Commission was inaugurated on September 29th, 2000 by the Nigerian President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, GCFR.
The commission is at the hub of Nigeria ‘s fight against corruption. The main duty of the commission is to receive complaints, investigate and prosecute offenders. Other duties include education and enlightenment of the public about and against bribery, corruption and related offences. The commission also has the task of reviewing and modifying the activities of public bodies, where such practices may aid corruption.
The Chairman and Members of the Commission are as follows:
- Mr. Ekpo Nta – Chairman
- Dame Julie-Onum Nwariak - Member
- Barr. Bako Abdullahi - Member
- Alh. Abdullahi Ado Bayero - Member
- Prof. Olu Aina - Member
- Alh. Isa Ozi Salami - Member
- Mr. Oglafa Ebipamowei Elvis – Secretary to the Commission
Barrister Ekpo Una Owo Nta-Chairman Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC)
Membership of the Commission
The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences th Commission was inaugurated on the 29 of September, 2000 by President Olusegun Obasanjo. As provided for in Section 3(3) of the Act 2000, the Commission consists of a Chairman and twelve (12) Members, two of whom represent each of the six geo-political zones of the country. The membership is drawn from the following categories of Nigerians as spelt out by the Act:
- A retired Police Officer not below the rank of Commissioner of Police;
- A legal practitioner with at least 10 years post-call experience;
- A retired Judge of a superior court of record;
- A retired Public Servant not below the rank of a Director;
- A woman;
- A youth not being less than 21 or more than 30 years of age at the time of his or her appointment; and
- A chartered accountant.
The Act provides that the Chairman and Members of the Commission, who shall be persons of proven integrity, shall be appointed by the President upon confirmation by the Senate and shall not begin to discharge their duties until they have declared their assets and liabilities as prescribed in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The tenure of office for the Chairman is five (5) years while that of the Members is four (4) years in the first instance.
The Act also provides for the position of a Secretary to the Commission who is to be appointed by the President. The Commission is granted the powers to appoint, deploy, discipline and determine the conditions of service of its staff. Section 3 (14) of the Act enshrines the independence of the Commission by providing that “the Commission shall in the discharge of its functions under this Act, not be subject to the direction or control of any other person or authority”.
To rid Nigeria of corruption through lawful enforcement and preventive measures.
A Nigeria free from all forms of corruption and corrupt practices.
The ICPC Mandate
To prohibit and proscribe punishment for corrupt practices and other related offences.
Duties of the Commission:
Section 6 (a-f) of the ICPC Act 2000 sets out the duties of the Commission as paraphrased in the following:
- To receive and investigate complaints from members of the public on allegations of corrupt practices and in appropriate cases, prosecute the offenders.
- To examine the practices, systems and procedures of public bodies and where such systems aid corruption, to direct and supervise their review.
- To instruct, advise and assist any officer, agency, or parastatal on ways by which fraud or corruption may be eliminated or minimized by them.
- To advise heads of public bodies of any changes in practice, systems or procedures compatible with the effective discharge of the duties of public bodies to reduce the likelihood or incidence of bribery, corruption and related offences.
- To educate the public on and against bribery, corruption and related offences.
- To enlist and foster public support in combating corruption.
With respect to the prosecution of cases, the ICPC Act provides that every prosecution for offences under it shall be deemed to be done with the consent of the Attorney-General. Furthermore, it is provided that the Chief Judge of a State or the Federal Capital Territory shall designate a court or judge to hear and determine all cases arising under the Act. Presently, there are two such designated Judges in each State of the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory
Relationship with other organizations
In 2003 the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) was established as a law enforcement agency to investigate financial crimes such asadvance fee fraud (419 fraud) and money laundering. While the ICPC targets corruption in the public sector, especially bribery, gratification, graft and abuse or misuse of office, the EFCC investigates people in all sectors who appear to be living above their means, and is empowered to investigate and prosecute money laundering and other financial crimes. The EFCC tracks illicit wealth accruing from abuse of office, especially attempts to integrate such wealth into the financial system. There have been tensions between the two commissions. The ICPC chairman, Justice Emmanuel Ayoola, has complained about duplication of the functions of ICPC by the EFCC, particularly overlap between the ICPC Anti-Corruption and Transparency Monitoring Units and the EFCC Anti-Corruption and Transparency Committees.
The Association of Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialists (ACAMS) is a global organization of professionals dedicated to controlling and preventing money laundering and terrorist financing. In June 2009 ACAMS established a Nigerian chapter in Lagos. The Chairman of the ICPC, Justice Emmanuel Ayoola, said the ICPC was looking forward to a fruitful partnership with ACAMS in the campaign against corruption and all other related crimes. The commission works with other international bodies such as the United Nations Committee on Anti-Corruption (UNCAC), Transparency International and theAfrican Union (AU) Convention Against Corruption.
In September 2009 a Federal High Court judge refused a request to issue a mandamus order compelling the ICPC and the EFCC to investigate and prosecute the FCT Minister, Senator Adamu Aliero, over alleged diversion of N10.2 billion public funds while he held office as Kebbi State governor. The court explained it did not have authority to compel the agencies to act.
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