It’s definitely indeniable that within the battle towards the menace of corruption in Nigeria since 1999, the concern of the Financial and Monetary Crimes Fee (EFCC) has for many of the time been the start of knowledge for key workplace holders in each the private and non-private sectors of the economic system. The identical factor can’t be mentioned of its sister anti-graft company, the Unbiased Corrupt Practices and Different Associated Offences Fee (ICPC), which, by the way, commemorated the 20th anniversary of its formation on July 13. Whereas the EFCC has stamped its imprint on the general public consciousness via its very energetic, even when usually controversial chairmen, the varied heads of the ICPC through the years have tended to be largely nameless due evidently to the relatively somnolent and docile disposition of the latter.
Giving an account of the ICPC’s efficiency over the past 20 years, its present chairman, Professor Bolaji Owasanoye, mentioned the company obtained 19, 381 petitions in the course of the interval, efficiently investigated about 5,000 of those and prosecuted nearly 1,000. That the fee secured convictions in about 20 p.c of the circumstances is a sign of its inexcusably under par efficiency.
It may be argued, it’s true, that past investigating, and the place mandatory prosecuting corruption and associated offences, the ICPC additionally has the mandate to check private and non-private sector organisational methods with a view to devising measures to stop corruption in addition to educating and enlisting the assist of the general public towards corruption. Maybe if the fee had delivered successfully on the latter two targets, its efficiency within the space of investigating and prosecuting acts of corruption would have been pardonable. However neither in serving to to plug avenues for corrupt practices nor mobilising public assist towards corruption has the ICPC made significant influence.
Satirically, the ICPC is even in a greater place to extra boldly confront corruption than the EFCC as a result of its management has a safer tenure and is extra insulated from the hazard of arbitrary and punitive truncation of tenure. Not like the EFCC whose chairman and board members will be eliminated on the whim of the President, Part 3(7) of the ICPC Act supplies that the fee’s chairman will maintain workplace for 5 years and members for 4 years within the first occasion. Moreover, Part 3(8) of its Act states that “However the availability of Part 3(7) of this Act, the Chairman or any member of the fee might at any time be faraway from workplace by the President performing on an tackle supported by two-thirds majority of the senate praying that he be eliminated for incapacity to discharge the capabilities of his workplace (whether or not arising from infirmity of thoughts or physique or another trigger) or for misconduct”.
Whereas we don’t advocate misguided adventurism or disruptive activism on the a part of the management of the ICPC, we imagine they’re sufficiently protected by its enabling legislation to behave with larger braveness and decisiveness within the discharge of their mandate. It’s not typically recognized, as an example, that Part 52 of the ICPC Act empowers the fee to take steps to examine corruption even by public workplaces coated by immunity. The Part states that “Every time an allegation of corruption is made towards the President, Vice President, Governors and their deputies, although they get pleasure from constitutional immunity whereas nonetheless in workplace, the Fee can provoke investigation of such political workplace holders and thereafter apply to the Chief Justice of the Federation to authorise an Unbiased Counsel to analyze the allegations of corrupt practices made towards such officers. Such an Unbiased Counsel will make a report of his findings to the Nationwide or State Legislatures because the case could also be. The Fee is anticipated to cooperate with the Unbiased Counsel in the middle of the investigation”.
Beneath its present chairman, nevertheless, there isn’t any doubt that the ICPC has grow to be extra seen and proactive whereas additionally stepping up efforts to reinforce its forensic capability in addition to modernise its operations. It additionally deserves commendation for establishing a coaching arm that has educated 13, 739 public officers through the years, in addition to developed the Nationwide Values Curriculum built-in into the educational course of in main and post-primary colleges throughout the nation.
We urge the Nationwide Meeting to utilise the event of the 20th anniversary of the ICPC to strengthen the legal guidelines establishing the anti-graft businesses with a view, specifically, to enhancing their organisational autonomy, safeguarding larger safety of tenure and deepening professionalism amongst their functionaries.