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June 2, 2023
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Corruption Radar

EFCC, ICPC Succeeding Only With Low-Level Corruption Cases, Says US Report

The government of the United States has stated that in terms of fighting corruption, Nigeria’s Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission, ICPC, and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, have succeeded largely with low-level cases in 2022.

This was disclosed in its 2022 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Nigeria, published on the US Department of State website.

The report noted the strides of the antigraft agencies but lamented that most high-profile cases it is prosecuting were still pending in court.

The US attributed the pending high-profile corruption cases to “procedural delays” in courts.

“The bulk of anticorruption efforts by the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission remained focused on low- and mid-level government officials, although both organizations brought indictments against various active and former high-level government officials.

“Many of the corruption cases, particularly the high-profile ones, remained pending before the courts due to administrative or procedural delays.

“In March, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission arrested the former governor of Anambra State Willie Obiano for misappropriation of public funds hours after he left office and thereby relinquished immunity from civil and criminal liability. As of year’s end, the case continued.

“In July, an appeals court in Lagos sentenced former Delta State senator Peter Nwaoboshi to seven years in prison for fraud and money laundering,” the report partly read.

Furthermore, the US repeated its earlier position on its 2021 country report on Nigeria, where it alleged “there was a widespread public perception that judges were easily bribed, and litigants could not rely on the courts to render impartial judgments. Many citizens encountered long delays and reported receiving requests from judicial officials for bribes to expedite cases or obtain favorable rulings.”

It maintained that the judicial branch of government “remained susceptible to pressure from the executive and legislative branches as well as business interests” in 2022.

However, the US government applauded the Nigerian government for taking steps to investigate and prosecute alleged human rights abuses and corruption by officials.

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