The Independent Corrupts Practices Commission (ICPC) was one of the Guest Speakers who presented a paper at a one day workshop on Anti- Corruption and Prevention of Revenue Leakages in Nigeria’s Maritime and Oil sectors, organised by the Association of Maritime Journalists of Nigeria ( AMJON) and Chaired by the Chairman House of Representatives Committee on anti corruption, Hon. Akinloye Babajide.
The ICPC which delivered a paper with the topic “Implementation of Nigeria’s Revenue Leakage Laws: How Effective?” in this chat with journalists at the event in Lagos, shed more lights on what the Commission is doing to tackle corruption cases and also implementing the laws to reduce the graft in the polity.
Q: Can we meet you sir?
Ans: My name is Adenekan Shogunle a Deputy Director, Legal Adviser Independent Corrupts Practices Commission (ICPC) headquarters, invited to deliver lecture on ways to block revenue leakages in Nigeria Maritime and Oil sectors.
If everyone present here today takes those words to heart and begin to look for ways and assume the position of leadership in their respective organisations, because what we need is leaders not just the political leaders that we are talking about, but everybody should be a leader. If you don’t begin to take responsibility for your actions nobody else will do that .
Q: How many suspects have you been able to put behind the bars for having deep their hands into the joint state account ?
Ans: I can assure you that we have persecuted several people because there is What we call ICPC laws report, there are about three volumes , the fourth volume is going to be published within the next one or two months.
The question is how many people have been persecuted , fully persecuted in courts, it’s not a matter of pre – bargaining or emergency whatever it’s done, but taken into the full process of the court, Of course you also agree with me that the judicial system in Nigeria is rather slow, but we belief that you don’t solve one problem by creating another. So we don’t cut corners, we follow the due process that’s why we are talking about the rule of law and then we have also been advocating for changes in the judicial system, part.of the advocacy is that we have work with so many stakeholders. It was what led for example to the promulgation of the additional new Act of Criminal Justice 2015. Under that provision now ICPC have been giving special recognition, it must take things more explicitly than we use to have, the ways in which we allows corrupt people to delay trial have been eliminated, there is provisions in that Act that allow for trivial trials. You will begin to see a lot more this year. For instance we have successfully persecuted about 17 people and we got them convicted this same year, so many of such has.also happened.
Q: Sir, pre- bargaining, what is the position of ICPC on pre- bargaining in Nigeria?
Ans: Pre – bargaining is a new concept in Nigeria, what happen in the past was that there were no regulations guiding how you carry out pre- bargaining, but like I say with the addition of Criminal Justice Act, it has now met specific position of pre- bargaining.
If you observed in the past, before the additional Criminal Justice that was made there was so much noise about pre- bargaining, then it was being done with all due respect without some regulations, but now that it has been regulated you find out there is hardly the talk of it because it’s considered as the conditions are very stingent to be met and ICPC for example has been in the forefront of insisting that due process must be followed in every aspect of it.
Q: I know sir that your Agency don’t have powers over corruption because it’s an human element, what I mean is that you can not say you are in total control to checkmate individuals , but I want to draw your attention to that, if we are to look at it from the angle of data, where do you intend to see anti -corruption drive in Nigeria in the next two years?
Ans: The problem of anti corruption in Nigeria has so many interpretation from different people, there are those who believes there is no corruption at all in Nigeria, they believe that to some what you are calling corruption in Nigeria is a symptom of competing needs between different ethnic and religious groups in Nigeria and that’s a political problem and for them corruption is a passing phase in Nigeria. In other words we are yet to reach that level of development where corruption will no longer be a factor, but we in ICPC believe that we are working towards bringing corruption to the bearest minimum.
Q: How would you appraise Nigeria’s fight against corruption ?
Ans: Nigeria is on the track fighting corruption. In the past, like I said in my presentation for the period of 15years 1985-2000 no evidence of corruption been formed, but from year 2000 when ICPC and other laws came up everybody is talking about it. One of the ways to fight corruption is by creating awareness to let people talk about it, corruption is now what everybody is conscious about, it’s no longer done in hush hush tone .
What it remains now is for people to summon the courage on their own to not continue to see it as it is the business of Mr President to fight corruption or the business of the National Assembly or the business of anti corruption agencies to fight corruption, but rather it is the business of everybody. So everybody must be involved and you must start from yourself.
Q: What is your impression about our rating as the poverty capital of the world with our enormous Maritime and Oil resources?
Ans: The rating that was done about poverty index in Nigeria, you want to first of all be sure that those that did the rating had the proper statistics because most of this ratings are based on perception.
They are not based on empirical data , when I say empirical data, I mean not based on hard facts, of course for anybody to have come across such a rating will know that it is disheartening for us in Nigeria been heard that we are rated in such a light and that is what must motivate government, motivate citizens to ensure we do the right things to take poverty away from our people, to reduce the incidences of the pressure that brings corruption in our system.
Q: Do you think we are winning the war against corruption and revenue leakages?
Ans: Obviously we are and the reason is also very very clear, for the fact that a seminar of this magnitude is been held with relevant stakeholders being invited to come and talk, it shows that somebody somewhere is aware there is a problem somewhere and have decided to mobilize those that can come and solve the problem,and the first thing to do is holding a conference like this. They say he that does not know and does not know that he does not know is lost.
But here we know there is a problem and we have identify the problem, how do we now solve this problem, that is what this gathering is all about so we are on the right track.
Q: Your assessment of Civil Servants and the Citizens complaints about the fight against corruption?
Ans: Civil Servants have been identified by so many people perharps unfairly to have been the ones responsible for corruption, but then as I say during my presentation it is very wrong for us to continue to point fingers against anyone because when you point a finger at someone the remaining four is pointing back at you. Today political office holders or those in private sectors will say is civil servants and the civil servants will tell you is those in authority, if those who come into office by virtue of political appointments do not put pressure on civil servants such a thing will not happened. The good news is that we at ICPC are doing a lot of sensitization for civil servants. We are doing a lot of innovations, the anti- corruption and transparent monitoring unit in all MDA’s had made a lot of responsibilities within the MDAs whose primary responsibility is to ensure that within their own specific domain they supervise them, monitor and ensuring that incidence of corruption are reduced to the bearest minimum.