The Role Of Economic And Financial Crime Commission In Government Accountability
Despite the pervasive corruption in Nigeria, which led to the underdevelopment of its institutions and economy. There still some impediments on its effective administration and tackling of these menace. Which the economic and financial crimes commission (EFCC) is established to tackle it. The research work attempt to examine The Role Of Economic And Financial Crime Commission In Government Accountability Between 2004-2015, the research work was prompted by some major problems affecting economic and financial crimes commission in Nigeria such as poor administration corruption, political interference, etc, the objective is to evaluate the role of economic and financial crime commission in government accountability between 2004-2015, identify significant measures taken by the economic and financial crimes commission in combating corruption in Nigeria and implication for improvement. The study employed the survey method and data was obtained from primary source using questions, the analyses were based on simple percentages the findings revealed that the activities of economic andfinancial crimes commission (EFCC) have significantly reduce the rate of corruption in Nigeria. The study concluded that corruption will be reduced if economic and financial crimes commission is made effectively and efficiently in its activities. The study recommended that the economic and financial crimes commission from the executive, promptly prosecution of perpetrator of corrupt practices, adequate finding, independence of the judiciary should be available in addressing the issue of corruption in Nigeria.
1.1 Background of the Study
The main focus of the research study is the impact of EFCC in the public sectors accountability. Economic and financial crime commission is popularly known as EFCC. Crimes have been associated with man since his fall. Crime remain elusives and ever strives to hide itself in the most unlikely places.
Our Country has been adjudged as corrupt. We are said to have been in “419” bug. Some people have tagged Nigeria a ‘financial terrorist’ Nation on account of the volume of financial crimes that emanate from Nigeria. This crime is becoming a culture in Nigeria both in private and public sectors. But the crime is more on public sector because power corrupt and absolute power corrupt absolutely. They are more engaged in crime because of immunity clause covering them. That is why the formal and first chairman of Economic and Financial Crime Commission [EFCC] [Nuhu Ribadu] in his statement release by BBC news on Thursday, 28 September 2006 by 08:37 Nigeria time and GTM 09:37 UK that almost all of Nigeria’s State governors are being investigated for corruption, the anti-graft agency head said. Nuhu Ribadu told the Nigeria Senate that 31 out of 36 State governors were being investigated and that 15 of them would be charged in the coming weeks.
He also said that the world biggest thief was Nigeria but was prevented from naming him. Critics of the president Olusegun Obasanjo say that fight against corruption is being used as a political tool but Ribadu denies these charges.
He said that Nigeria governors enjoy immunity from prosecution while in office and the Country is regularly ranked as one of the world most corrupt Countries .He added, “if we all live in the us , all of us will be in prison by now, because the things we do here cannot be tolerated there . By this statement, Ribadu is implying that all of us are corrupt but I personally did not believe in that. What I believe is that about 90% of us are corrupt. He rated then Zamfara State Governor [Sanithmed Yerima]” as the worst case of corruption because it was direct stealing, no third party.
So many other public servants have been tried and convicted. These men are the people we respect and call honorable. They walk and drive around the country in serene with the purpose of building the Nation, but the question is what good have they done or have in mind for this Country? The police man stopping for search, is he doing it for the love of our Country or is he doing it for the sake of his own satisfaction interest of extortion? Likewise, other public servants.
In our Country Nigeria, we have about 43,953 Lawyers call to bar, 707 high court and shariah court judges, 47 federal high court of justices, 46 court of appeal justices and 15 justices of the Supreme court of Nigerian. Nigeria spend about N350,000,000 annually on this people. Apart from that, many are being called to bar annually. Despite all these things, I am painfully aware of the fact that crime is increasing instead of decreasing. While we now have legislation to regulate the conduct of public sectors for corrupt practices, the vices are still very much with us. Bank frauds are in upsurge, abuse and manipulation are still the stock in trade of many banks. 419 still looms large, money laundry from corrupts proceeds is visible. It is this circumstances that us threatened to impose councilor measure on Nigeria in 2004. If she did nothing to update her looms and take pains to fund the perpetrators of economic and financial crimes.
Infact, it is for this reason and the international dimension which this crimes had assumed that the promulgation of the EFCC act 2002 becomes inevitable. The act which was reenacted in 2004 is revolutionary in many respects. For the first time, power of co-ordination and enforcement of varied but related economic and financial crime laws are vested in one body. The definition of economic and financial crimes in section 46 of the money laundry Act is all about encompassing. 2nd, because the nature of the crime handed by the commission is at the heart of the economy, all stakeholders like security agents, law enforcement agent and other financial regulators are members of the commission.3rd, apart from the offences created by the EFCC Act itself, the commission has responsibility of specifically enforce the provision of other principal laws ordering on economic and financial crimes which includes the following;
- The money laundry Act 2004
- The advanced fee fraud Act 1995
- Failed Bank [malpractice in bank Act 1991, as amended]
- The bank and other financial institution Act, 1996
- The miscellaneous offences Act 1985
- Any other law or regulation relating to economic and financial crimes including penal code and criminal code.
[Section 7 of EFCC Act].
We can now see that it is not the law but its enforcement to make sure that they are adhered to. In other to do this, there must be men of integrity to see to it enforcement. This will help to reduce economic and financial crime in our Country (Nigeria) most especially in public sectors of the economy.
The issue of economic and financial crime is a national issue affecting our economy. In as much as there are is no accountability in public sector, our economy cannot grow because both local and Foreign investors are scared of investing in the Country
When we talk of accountability, accountability has dearly manifested itself as a principal to be pursued if the status quo is to be perpetrated. Accountability as contained in long man Dictionary contemporary English is the condition or quality of being able to give an explanation for one’s action. Accountability is also defined as the tendering off return on stewardship relating to the management of funds and other assets of which individuals or institutions had been custodians.
The economic and financial crime commission is established by economic and financial crime commission Act 2003, as a body co-operates to enforce and administer the provision of the Act. It is designated financial and intelligence unit [FIU] in Nigeria with the power to co-ordinate the various institutions involved in the fight against money laundering and enforcement of all laws dealing with economic and financial crime in Nigeria.
EFCC was established to play a major role which includes the following:
- Investigation of all financial crime such as advance fee fraud (other wise known as 419) money laundering, fraudulent terfeity, illegal charge transfer, market fraud, fraudulent diversion of fund, computer credit card fraud, contract scan, forgery of financial instrument, issuance of bounded check, etc.
- Adoption of measures to eradicate and prevent the commission co-operate group or individual involved.
- Adoption of measures to identify, trace, freeze, confiscate or seize proceeds derived from terrorist activities, economic and financial crime related offences or properties.
- The collection of all reports relating to suspicious financial transaction, analyze and disseminate to all relevance government agencies which maintain liaison with office of the Attorney-General of federation i.e Nigeria custom service, immigration and prison service board, Nigeria deposit insurance co-operation, National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) etc, in other to eradicate crime in public sector.
1.2 Definition of Problem
Despite the adoption of EFCC, public sectors have being experiencing a lot of economic and financial problems. They include;
a. The major problem that imposes the enforcement of economic crimes i.e the influence of corruption that took over the control of the Nation. All the while, since our independence in 1960 and more especially from 1985 to 2003, corruption become manifestly entrenched and institutionalized into our politics.It ruled our lives as it was the major considaration in the governance in our affairs as Nation. There was and became no need for due process but the highest bidder on bribery and corruption. The rule of law therefore gave way to the selfish rule of man. While the rest of the world progressed, we headed back to the hobbersion state. Fraudsters and criminals took advantage of the situation and the problem became where to enforce, how to enforce and on whom to enforce the economic and financial laws.
b. Another problem is the failure of law enforcement agencies. Today we have over 500,000 law enforcement personnel working in our various enforcement agencies in Nigeria. Nigeria spends on average of N300,000,000,000 on the law enforcement agencies including the judiciary annually. Besides, we have about 43,953 lawyers called to bar, 707 high court and shariah court judges, 47 federal high court of justices, 46 court of appeal justice, and 15 justice of the supreme court of Nigeria. There are still men and women, in short, thousands of them begin called to bar annually. But all these agencies has done little or nothing in preventing crimes.
c. Another problem facing economic and financial crime commission in crime control is that the investigating units working on economic crimes are not dealing with very complex areas of the law, both criminal and civil. On the criminal side which is the most area of focus, understanding and differentiating among such concepts as embezzlement, larceny by tricks, and obtaining times of value by false pretenses have played generation of law students and even some lawyers let alone the enforcement agents. Some states have attempted to simplify this area of their law of merging these offenses into an offence of theft but court continues to have problems with the interpretation of those crimes. Finally, statues prescribing different kinds of fraud have become many, varied and complicated. For instance, economic crimes have five components as follows:
- A wrongful intent.
- Disguise of purpose.
- Reliance on victim’s ignorance and carelessness.
- Voluntary victim-operation.
- Concealment of the violation.
1.3. Objectives of the Study
The objectives of this research study are as follows:
- To determine the efficiency and credibility of economic and financial crime commission and its contribution to public sector accountability.
- To review the containment of economic and financial crime commission through determined investigation and enforcement or relevant laws.
- To determine the role of rule of law in the control of economic and financial crime in our public sectors.
- To determine what the law enforcement agencies should do to reduce economic and financial crimes. That What other enforcement agents should do to aid economic and financial crime commission in crime control.
- To determine the areas of law that will help the investigating unit and other enforcement agents in their investigation.
- To examine the funding of economic and financial crime commission and its efficiency.
1.4 Research Questions
- To what extent does the objective of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) help in combating corruption in Nigeria?
- To what degree has Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) so far reduced the rate of corruption in Nigeria?
- To what degree does corruption affect the commission while carrying out its statutory role?
- To what degree of proportion does Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is more effective in fighting corruption?
1.5 Significance of the Study
Researchers and general administrations are expected to benefit from this study as it adopts a pattern of presentation of facts that may provide the need impetus for further research on the topic or other related ones.
Also, it will serve as a source of material to practitioners in both private and public organization as a means of making a complete raid on institutionalized or corporate economic and financial crimes.
This work is expected to contribute towards tackling corruption which has been seen as a major problem of Nigeria and outline measures in which Economic and Financial Crimes Commission can adapt.
Finally, the recommendations made should serve as a means of enlightening the policy makers and general public about the causes and evil of corruption in our society thereby helping to build an economic system or come out with a policy devoid of crimes.
1.6 Scope and Limitations of the Study
The scope of the study will focus on the viability of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in combating corruption in Nigeria an implication for improvement, with more emphasis on public sector. The reason for this study is to have a critical analysis of the commission as a perceived number one anti-corruption fighter in Nigeria.
This research is committed for the period of eleven (11) years (2004- 2015) and was limited to the headquarter office in the Federal Capital Territory (F.C.T) Abuja. The reason for choosing this time frame is to have a proper assessment of the commission and because of high rate of corrupts practices that were experienced during the period.
Of course, some factors really serve as hindrance to the research on the basis of sourcing materials. Since some materials are not accessible because of the confidentiality of the information and fear of being quoted.
1.7 Definition of Terms
The following are the key terms that will be used most often in this work. Therefore, it is very necessary to defined them;
Operationally, corruption means action that is perceived to be contrary to public opinion, against the law and against the public interest.
Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (E.F.C.C).
3. Economic Crime
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission Act of 2004 defines economic crime as that non-violent criminal and illicit committed with the objectives of earning wealth, illegally either individually or in a group thereby violating existing legislation governing the economic activity of government and its administration.
4. Financial Crime
Financial crime as defined by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission Act of 2004 is any conduct as malpractices or a criminal act, which is detrimental to the interest or development of the financial sector of the economy which are prohibited and are punishable by laws of the nation.
Ogunsakin, A (2006) defined crime as any conducts acts or omission prohibited by law and backed by punishment or punitive sanctions. This work however, sees it to mean any deviant and as offence by any societal or legal definition punishable by such authority.
It is unlawful acts of using the computer as tool or target or both. Those acts are engaged through network of computers (internet) with different technologies that operate beyond the traditional territorial boundaries (cyberspace).
7. Money Laundering
Money laundering (prohibition) Act 2004, defined it as a process of passing (or transferring) illegal acquired money through a legitimate business or bank account in order to disguise it illegal origins. It is used in this work to mean the process of criminal activities, by concealing their true origin and ownership and introducing them into the stream of legitimate commerce and finance.
Summary, Conclusion and Recommendations
It has been an interesting, though challenging to conduct a research on the role of economic and financial crime commission in government accountability between 2004-2015. This last chapter then summarizes the major finding of the research as well as recommendations on how to effectively strengthen the commission in order to perform more efficiently and given herein to precede the conclusion.
This research work is aim at examining the viability of economic and financial crimes commission in combating corruption in Nigeria and implication for improvement. The research is divided into five chapters, chapter one dealt with introduction, background of the study, statement of research problems political interference, poor administration and findings, the objective of the study which is to look at the viability of economic and financial crimes commission in combating corruption in Nigeria and its implications for improvement. Also the factors that bring about corruption in Nigeria and solution through which EFCC activities can be enhanced. The chapter also dealt with hypothesis, significance and other important part of the study which emphasizes the possibilities and capabilities of the research in future researches.
In our literature review which is our chapter two we look at the concept of corruption by different scholar observed and overview of economic and financial crimes commission. It can be also put forward that the use of some of the human behavior theories can be immensely important to the issue of corruption in Nigeria.
In chapter three the research focused on the method of collecting the various data for the purpose of qualifying the validity of research. It is through the use of sample size, population of the study that we know the number of workers and general public and the samples that we used in distributing our questionnaires. Also the sampling procedure and instrument that we used for the collection of data are included in this study.
Chapter four of this study is the data presentation and analysis. In this chapter, the questionnaires collected in the field were analysed using sample percentage. Also the hypothesis put forward guide us in our research were tested and the results discussed.
Chapter five is the summary, conclusion and recommendations of the result discussed.
From the findings of the study, it can be concluded that though the activities of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) have significantly reduced the rate of corruption in Nigeria, it is ineffective on its combat against corruption and the punishments that exist for the perpetrators are inadequate to serve as a deterrent to those wishing to engage in the acts. Hence, the commission need to be reformed to enhance their operational and financial independence.
Based on the findings reported on this research, the following suggestions were offered as recommendations.
- It is imperative that more prosecution powers be granted to the commission so that it will be independent and not to be use for witch-hunting political opponents.
- The punishment for the perpetrators of corrupt practices should be commensurate with the degree of the offences committed, to serve as a deterrent to those wishing to engage in the acts.
- The challenge of the commission is inadequate funding of the commission, the government to legislate a law that would enable such commissions to source their funds directly from the Federation Accounts.
- The Nigeria judicial process/system should be restricted in such a way as to allow for a speedy but impartial administration of justice as regards criminal and corrupt cases.
- The crackdown on political office holder’s especially state governors by EFCC should be extended to other levels of government. Not only that, the EFCC’s search light should equally be beamed on top civil servants who aids the chief executives in looting public funds.
- The government must fine tune its machinery with the view of looking into those factors and the leadership must demonstrate the willingness to track and punish corrupt officials and citizens should help in providing the commission with useful information.
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