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Highlights from the 5th Annual Christopher Kolade Lecture on Business Integrity

Highlights from the 5th Annual Christopher Kolade Lecture on Business Integrity

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The 5th edition of the annual Christopher Kolade Lecture on Business Integrity took place on the 29th of June, 2017 at the Landmark Events Center, Lekki. The event which was themed “Prevention is better than cure” was attended by captains of industry from the private sector, as well and key figures from the public sector.

 

A Strategic Approach Against Corruption

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In this first two years of the Buhari presidency, the government has basically tried to defeat corruption through public mobilisation, and enforcement by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and to a lesser extent, the Police, Department of State Security (DSS), Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) and the Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF).

When the government constituted a Presidential Advisory Committee on Anti-Corruption (PACAC) chaired by Professor Itse Sagay (SAN) with another Professor, Bola Owasanoye as Executive Secretary, the conception may have been to use this committee as an intellectual and strategic anchor for the anti-corruption effort. Indeed I am aware of some of the quiet efforts of Owasanoye and others on the committee, but its loudest public advocacy led by its chairman has often complemented the information-based anti-corruption rhetoric of the EFCC and other government officials and agencies rather than a strategic and institutional approach to combating corruption, which is where I believe the focus should be. Two years on, it is now time to review the government’s anti-corruption strategy, and adopt a more fundamental and enduring approach. Continue Reading

That We May Continue to Blow the Whistle

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The current administration has since coming to office made the whistleblowing programme a major tool for fighting corruption. It is aimed at encouraging the public to buy-in, own the anti-corruption war and persuading them to provide useful information on individuals and organisations that have violated government financial regulations, procurement procedures, mismanaged or misappropriated public funds and assets, financial guidelines, acted fraudulently or stolen public assets among others. To incentivize the public the government offers a reward of 2-5% of monies recovered to the whistleblower. The pertinent questions here are: Has this been successful? And if so, how can this be sustained?

It is worthy of note that the initiative has led to recoveries of staggering sums of monies such as $50 million found at an apartment at the Osborne Towers, Ikoyi and about $9.8million recovered from the ex- NNPC GMD Andrew Yakubu (see press for details). In addition, according to newspaper reports, it is estimated that in the last 3 months about $151 million and N8 billion has been ‘found’ through whistleblowing. In fact whistle blowing has become the major buzz word and pastime for Nigerians young and old wanting to join the army of informants. The government should therefore be commended on its success in recovering these huge sums presumed to have been looted from the national coffers, especially in these lean, austere times when the 3 tiers of government are in dire need of funds to execute much needed, high impact, development projects in critical sectors such as health, education, and agriculture.

However, for the government’s fight against corruption to be sustainable and complete it must institutionalize transparency and accountability especially as it pertains to recovered loot, stating how and for what they are used. This is very important in order to avoid the mistakes of the past where there was further diversion/re-looting of the recovered loot as was the case with Abacha recovered loot under Abdulsalam and Obasanjo regimes. Recently the World Bank said there is very scanty information on the actual amount recovered from Abacha and what is was used for. Another example is the accusation leveled against Lamorde on misuse of the recovered funds as EFCC Chair. These among others have created mistrust by the public of the agencies and personnel charged with fighting corruption. Efforts should therefore be made to ensure that the anti-corruption drive does not inadvertently incentivise another form of corruption. President Buhari and his APC party adherents during elections promised to make transparency and accountability the foundation of governance so it is therefore surprising that this regime is yet to fully disclose to the general public how much has so far been collected, from whom and what has been the cost of these recoveries. To fulfil its promise the government should hasten to put in place institutional arrangements and platforms for disseminating such information which should be easily accessible to the general public. It is equally important that the government clearly informs the general public on  how it plans to spend these monies on what projects  and in which sectors. The recovered funds should be channeled towards projects that would directly benefit the masses and assuage the expectations of the low income bracket in the country which would lend credence to the change mantra being preached by this current administration..

The war against corruption cannot be won without cooperation and participation of the public. Major objectives of the whistle blowing initiative therefore are public buy-in and ownership of the initiative and thus its sustainability. Some have pointed out that the seeming success recorded so far through whistleblowing has been because of the reward and not because the public believes it is their civic or societal duty or based on their personal conviction of the need to fight corruption. Some have also attributed it to revenge/retaliation by relatives and close aides of highly placed government officials against perceived sense of neglect or being shortchanged by these officials. If these assertions hold true then to make the war sustainable there is strong need for attitudinal and behavioral change by the public towards whistleblowing on looting of the public coffers. There is need for new initiatives targeting behavioral change especially of our youth that will greatly make people move towards a zero tolerance for corrupt practices.

Dr. Bala Magaji is a political-economy analyst and commentator. A member of the board of directors of the Integrity Organisation Ltd. (Gte)

Clapping with One Hand – A Review of Past Strategies at Fighting Corruption

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That corruption is a major challenge to the socio-economic development and progress of Nigeria is well established and documented.  According to the former UNODC Executive Director, Antonio Maria Costa, close to $400 billion was stolen between 1960 and 1999 in Nigeria. He noted it is “an amount of money that if you were to put dollar bills end-to-end, you could make 75 round trips to the moon!” According to the Inter-Governmental Action Group Against Money Laundering in West Africa (GIABA), half of Nigeria’s $40 billion annual oil revenue is stolen or wasted. The cumulative effect of these according to Xavier Sala-i-Martin and Arvind Subramanian is that oil revenue accumulated over the 35-year period between 1960 and 2000 did not add value to the standard of living of Nigerians. Continue Reading

Despite Knowing Its Roots, Why Does the Corruption ‘Beast’ Still Live Here?

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You’ve heard the joke about the Chinese, Indian and Nigerian public officials. No? Well, they’d known each other for years but had only met at conferences. They decide to visit each other starting with the Chinese public officer. They fly to Beijing’s modern airport and on to a provincial city, then head down a pristine six-lane highway to a large suburban house. “This is a really nice house,” the Nigerian says. “How did you afford it on your salary?” “Well, you see that new highway we drove on? Should’ve been eight-lanes. I just took some money from the project and spent it on the house.” The other two nod, obviously impressed. Next, it was Delhi, then on to a little provincial town and a jolt down a potholed road until they get to the Indian’s large mansion. The Chinese officer asks how the Indian could afford it. “Well, that highway we drove on? I removed a bridge and some drainage from the project to pay for my house.” Finally, they headed to the Nigerian’s. Continue Reading

Nigeria: The Origins of Her Disgrace

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No one doubts the challenges that Nigeria currently faces. According to the World Bank, Nigeria is blessed with 708,000 Sq. Km of agricultural land, the second largest in Africa yet research suggests less than half of this has been exploited to produce crops and livestock to stave off hunger and poverty. Food imports into Nigeria are estimated to have grown at the rate of 11% p.a. since 1980 yet Nigeria remains the country with the largest percentage of Small holder farmers in Africa. The impact of this food deficiency is seen in Nigeria’s protein gap. 40% of the body’s dry matter is protein however, intake of animal protein is at present 4.82g/head/day as against the minimum of 35g recommended by FAO. According to the British Council, about one fifth of the world’s 60 million out-of-school children are in Nigeria and children fortunate enough to be in school do not learn much. Continue Reading

Mr Soji Apampa Discussing Anti-Corruption Trends on Focus Nigeria

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Mr. Soji Apampa, the Executive Director of Integrity Organization, discusses current developments in the war against corruption on Focus Nigeria, including the Senate’s 2nd rejection of Ibrahim Magu as EFCC Chairman, and the lack of involvement of the public in tackling corruption – 22 March 2017 Continue Reading

RFP – Corruption Risk Management Information System

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 Integrity is currently seeking the services of an IT firm or a team of IT professionals to develop an IT based information system to track, analyze, map and expose (TAME) corruption risks within the Nigerian environment. The final system is envisioned as an App running on smartphone based mobile devices and accessible to key stakeholders in the Nigerian economy. Continue Reading

Mr. Opeyemi Agbaje Takes Over the Mantle of Leadership as He is Appointed Chairman of the Governing Board

Mr. Opeyemi Agbaje Takes Over the Mantle of Leadership as He is Appointed Chairman of the Governing Board

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MR. OPEYEMI AGBAJE TAKES OVER THE MANTLE OF LEADERSHIP AS HE IS APPOINTED AS CHAIRMAN, GOVERNING BOARD OF THE INTEGRITY/THE CONVENTION ON BUSINESS INTEGRITY ORGANISATION

LAGOS, AUGUST 23, 2016. The Governing Board of Integrity organization appoints and ratifies the appointment of Board members.

At the meeting of the Governing Board of Integrity Organisation (consisting of Integrity and The Convention on Business Integrity, CBi) which held on Tuesday, August 23rd, 2016, Mr. Opeyemi Agbaje who had in the past year acted as the Vice-Chairman of the Board was appointed as the new chairman of The Integrity Organisation; taking over the mantle of Chairmanship from His Excellency, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, GCON, Vice-President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Over the years, Mr. Agbaje who is the Chief Operating Officer of RTC Advisory Services Limited (formerly Resources and Trust Company Ltd) has distinguished himself as a selfless and committed member of the Governing Board, he has also made invaluable contributions to the growth of the organization during this period. He would be ably assisted by Mr. Soji Apampa as the Executive Vice-Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the organization. In his previous role as The Executive Director, Mr. Apampa had steered the ship of the organization from 2007 till date. The appointment takes effect immediately.

INTEGRITY ORGANISATION LIMITED GTE is an anti-corruption, research and advocacy organization concerned with the issues of accountability and transparency in Public and business life. It was founded in 1995 during the Abacha regime as a direct reaction to the corruption and poor governance of Nigeria represented by that era. INTEGRITY has had a history of credible involvement in high profile issues and it has built a reputation for tactful, high profile, high impact handling of engagement with supply side actors on various issues. As a result of the need to have a specific arm that would deal with issues arising in the private sector while still focusing on the Public domain, it gave birth to the establishment of The Convention on Business Integrity.

THE CONVENTION ON BUSINESS INTEGRITY (CBi) is a company limited by Guarantee. The organization was established in 1997 with the mission of promoting ethical business Practices, transparency and fair competition in the private and public sectors. Signatories of the Convention undertake to observe the values of the Code of Business Integrity, both within their own organisations and in their dealings with customers and partners. The Code includes both sanctions and incentives for the organisations involved.

The Convention currently has twenty (20) Corporate signatories which includes, GT Bank Plc, Guinness Nigeria Plc, MTN, SAP, Lagos Business School and others.

Press Enquiries: For more information/clarification/questions, please get in touch with the contact person listed: Yinka Johnson, yinka.johnson@cbinigeria.com, +234 7013715571, www.integritynigeria.org, www.cbinigeria.org, www.egunje.info

As it Was in the Beginning – Parallel Thoughts

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If you do not know what happened in the past, then history will repeat itself until you learn from it.
Watch as we explore the origin of some of Nigeria’s problems and how they date back to times before our amalgamation. Continue Reading

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