Corruption: An Albatross Around Our Necks

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A loaf of bread placed on a table in a room without preservation gets mouldy within 48 hours. Options available to us are to cut off the moldy portion and still leave it on the table or keep the bread in the fridge ab initio. The temperature in the fridge provides a conducive environment that is kept constant which preserves the whole bread. This process demands extra effort from the provision of a fridge to the constant power supply that creates that enabling environment/temperature that preserves the whole bread. It therefore follows that decay (and thus corruption) happens naturally, except definite/specific interventions are introduced to control it. Continue Reading

The 5th Annual Christopher Kolade Lecture on Business Integrity!

The 5th Annual Christopher Kolade Lecture on Business Integrity!

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The 2008 global financial crisis re-emphasized the importance of compliance and risk management but perhaps a tale of the fall of Britain’s Oldest Bank, Barings, could further buttress the point. Even though, the fall of Lehman Brothers and numerous banking scandals after Barings by far incurred losses of greater magnitude, there remains a story to be told with the fall of Barings Bank hence the apt theme for this year’s event:

“Prevention is better than cure, even on the issue of Corruption”

Special Guest of Honor

Guest of Honor

Keynote Speaker

Nick Leeson

Nick Leeson, the infamous ‘rogue trader’ at Barings Bank whose dealings led to the collapse of one of Britain’s oldest Banks.
The fall of Barings was a wake-up call for financial Institutions all over the world. 


Thursday, 29th June, 2017
Time: 17h00


For Confirmations please contact: YINKA JOHNSON –; CYNTHIA APKOMUDIARE – +234 8182003952, +234 8023012704

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

Time to Clean the Augean Stables in the Private Sector

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The ravages of bribery and corruption is a topic that has obviously attracted a lot of scholarly comments and opinions but very little action. This short article is aimed at examining the claims that corruption risks in the corporate sector are measurable. It aims at identifying the common forms of corruption in the corporate sector and how to eliminate same. The closest paradigm of such exercise is the OECD’s Good Practice Guidance on Internal Controls, Ethics and Compliance which works by identifying certain “corporate red flags” including bribery, kickbacks, facilitation payment, charitable and political donations (sponsorship, travel, and promotional expenses), collusion, cartels, patronage, Illegal information brokering, and tax evasion. 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)

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