Anti-Corruption and Transparency

Following the Vice-Chancellor’ directive on the memo from the National Universities Commission (NUC) as regards the setting up of Anti-Corruption and Transparency Unit (ACTU), a Desk office was established in the Quality Assurance and SERVICOM Office under the supervision of the Deputy Director.

Frequently Asked Questions

What you need to know about Anti-Corruption and Transparency Unit

Corruption is the abuse of entrusted power for private or personal gain. Corruption can be of three types; grand corruption, petty corruption and political corruption, depending on the amounts of money lost and the sector where it occurs.

Even though we cannot exactly point to one specific reason as to why societies are plagued by corruption, the following are some of the causes of corruption:

  • Impunity – This refers to the freedom from being punished for doing something wrong. This causes corruption as the perpetrators of corruption are not afraid to suffer the consequences of their actions.
  • Greed– selfishness and excessive love of material things – These are inner personal qualities that drive people to be corrupt. This is influenced by the desire to selfishly acquire more resources at the expense of more deserving people. It is caused by lack of values that considers the welfare of other people.
  • Nepotism– favouritism and tribalism – These are causes of corruption when individuals unfairly give preference to individuals or groups that they know or are connected to, thereby discriminating others who could be more deserving.
  • Abuse of power – This is improper use of public authority or position for illegitimate personal gain.
  • Lack of political will, transparency and accountability – This is as a result of the government not showing support for anticorruption by putting in place mechanisms and frameworks of punishing public officers involved in the vice, and institutions that are mandated to provide checks and balances on the government fail in their duty to do so
  • Grand corruption-These are acts committed at high levels of the government that distort policies or the central functioning of the State, enabling leaders to benefit at the expense of the public good.
  • Petty corruption -This refers to everyday abuse of entrusted power by low and midlevel public officials in their interactions with ordinary citizens in places like hospitals, schools, police departments and other public service agencies.
  • Political corruption– is a manipulation of policies, institutions and rules of procedure in the allocation of resources and financing by political decision makers, who abuse their position to sustain their power, status and wealth.

Corruption commonly manifests as:

  • Bribery – Bribery involves giving a benefit in order to influence an action or a decision. A bribe is meant to be an inducement, and it can be in many forms e.g. money, shares in a company, some useful inside information, sexual favours, employment among others. Bribery occurs when a person dishonestly gives or receives a benefit as an inducement or reward for omission or commission.
  • Fraud – Fraud refers to a situation where a person intentionally makes a false statement or manipulates information in order to benefit oneself or other person(s) through dishonesty, deceit or trickery. Fraud is a crime that involves cheating in order to get money or goods in an illegal manner. Examples of fraud: – Creating artificial or false expenses – Falsifying accounts records – False claims for goods, services or travel expenses
  • Embezzlement – Embezzlement includes: – Withdrawing and using, for private purposes, public money that one is responsible for – Using public funds to buy or improve private property. – Stealing or selling part of a relief donation that one is entrusted with – Using employment related property for private purposes. • Abuse of office – Abuse of office is when one uses public office to improperly award a benefit to him/herself or another person.
  • Conflict of interest and bid rigging in public procurement – A public official commits the offense of conflict of interest if he/she has a direct or indirect private interest in a decision that he/she is involved in making. The public official fails to disclose it and votes and still participates in decision making. This is more pronounced in the procurement of goods and services.

There are fears that the corruption that was experienced at the national government is being replicated at the other levels of government. Preliminary reports indicate lack of proper mechanisms to prevent corruption at the other government levels. Corruption may manifest itself through misuse of public funds, flawed tendering processes, abuse of power, blackmail and extortion by public officers.

Corruption slows down and impedes service delivery, and makes it more expensive to get basic services. Corruption also leads to wastage of resources meant for development projects and service delivery in the Society. Reports of corruption may also lead to a loss of public confidence in devolution.

The responsibility to eliminate corruption is a collective effort that includes you, the citizen. Among the institutions involved in anticorruption efforts include: Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), National Police Service, Office of the Director of Public Prosecution, Judiciary, Office of the Auditor General, the Executive, and the Legislature, the media, civil society and private sector. However, these institutions cannot be fully effective unless the citizens at all levels play their role by conducting themselves with integrity, report corruption wherever they witness it and demand accountability from those holding public office.

On the political front, corruption is an obstacle to democracy and the rule of law. In a democratic system, offices and institutions lose their legitimacy when they are misused for private advantage. This is harmful in established democracies, more so in newly emerging ones. It is extremely challenging to develop accountable, political leadership in a corrupt climate.

Economically, corruption depletes national wealth. Corrupt politicians influence the investment of scarce public resources in projects that can line their pockets rather than benefit communities, and prioritize high-profile projects such as dams, power plants, pipelines and refineries over less spectacular but more urgent infrastructure projects such as schools, hospitals and roads. Corruption also hinders the development of fair market structures and distorts competition, which in turn deters investment

Corruption corrodes the social fabric of society: It undermines people’s trust in the political system, in its institutions and its leadership. A distrustful or apathetic public can then become yet another hurdle to fighting corruption. Environmental degradation is another consequence of corrupt systems. The lack or non-enforcement of, environmental regulations and legislation means that precious natural resources are carelessly exploited, and entire ecological systems are ravaged. From mining, to logging, to carbon offsets, companies across the globe continue to pay bribes in return for unrestricted destruction.

Corruption affects everyone. Corruption causes:

  • Low quality of infrastructure and public services
  • Low investment and retards economic growth.
  • Distortion of the composition of government expenditure. Corruption may tempt government officials to choose government expenditure less on the basis of public welfare than on the opportunity they provide for extorting bribes. Large projects whose exact value is difficult to monitor may present lucrative opportunities for corruption.
  • Low investments from both foreigners and locals, with citizens being forced to pay for debts the country incurs as a result of economic crimes among others.

Corruption is most rampant in places where there is reluctance in the leadership to tackle it, and where institutional checks and balance of power are missing. Corruption = monopoly + discretion – accountability. This formula suggests that corruption tends to be high where public officials have monopoly on the exercise of power, with a high degree of discretion and limited accountability.

Receiving or offering a bribe constitutes an act of corruption. Both parties have contributed to corruption and hence they have committed a criminal offence in which they are all individually liable. An individual is deemed to be corrupt when he/she engages in corrupt conduct by colluding with a public official in undertaking corrupt conduct.

There are various methods used by anticorruption bodies to fight corruption. These include:

Oversight – This is the process of independently monitoring and investigating, internally or externally, the operations and activities of an institution to ensure accountability and efficient use of resources.

  • Civic education – This involves public awareness creation and training on how to act against corruption.
  • Prevention – This includes programmes and activities aimed at inhibiting corruption and could include research, policy formulation and reforms.
  • Enforcement – This involves investigation of corruption and corruption related matters, prosecution and punishment of those found guilty of corruption offences.

• Asset recovery – This involves recovering property that was acquired corruptly.

Some of the acts of corruption, for example giving and receiving bribes, are committed by members of the public. We as citizens should be ready to take responsibility for our actions. Also, the government conducts business with the private sector players, who may have a role to play in corruption incidents.

A perpetrator of corruption can be taken to a court of law, and fined or even imprisoned depending on the magnitude of his/her actions.

    Corruption has not decreased due to various factors. These include sabotage by the corrupt and influential individuals, and non-reporting of corruption incidents by the public. Apathy has also contributed to this situation since the public has developed a negative attitude that corruption is unbeatable.

    Young people in primary and secondary schools, and institutions of higher learning institutions should be taught about corruption, its effects and how they can be part of the fight against graft. Citizens also have a responsibility to instill values that negate corruption among children and the youth such as honesty, patience, compassion for other people and discipline in the management of resources.

    To report corruption, you can contact the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), National Police Service. The Commissions are mandated to carry out investigations concerning corruption cases. These investigations are aimed at collecting evidence to support corruption cases. You can also contact Office of the Director of Public Prosecution, Judiciary, Office of the Auditor General, the Executive, and the Legislature, the media, civil society and private sector to take the matter up on your behalf.

    No. The fight against corruption is a collective effort. Anyone can report acts of corruption. Reporting corrupt officials is not a responsibility of a selected few but belongs to every Nigerian. This is because Nigeria is our country and we should all aspire to make it a better place to live in.

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