Corruption Index: Data Missing In Areas Where Nigeria Performed Well – Lai Mohammed

A file photo of Information Minister, Lai Mohammed.
A file photo of Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed.

 

The Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed, has faulted Nigeria’s rating in the Transparency International Corruption Perception Index (TI-CPI), saying it does not truly reflect the great strides by the country in its fight against corruption.

The Minister also believes that there are missing assessments for Nigeria in the data entries where the country has performed well in previous CPI calculations, which has now affected the overall rating of the country over a period of time.

He made this known in a statement issued in Abuja on Sunday while assuring Nigerians that the country’s anti-corruption agenda, which has placed great emphasis on corruption prevention measures and the building of integrity systems, remains on course.

In the 2020 index released on Thursday, Nigeria scored 25 out of 100 points, dropping to 149 out of the 180 countries surveyed.

The country also went three steps down from the 146 scored in 2019, making it its worst rating on Transparency International’s (TI) Corruption Perception Index since 2013.

While the Information Minister highlighted a number of efforts being made on the part of the government to curb the corruption in the country, he also lamented the “under-reporting of our ongoing corruption reduction measures”.

Read Also: Corruption Index Not Accurate Portrayal Of Nigeria’s Situation – Presidency

He said having analyzed the 2020 TI-CPI rating for Nigeria, the Federal Government is interrogating a number of issues and discrepancies that have been observed in the rating process, including some data sources in which Nigeria’s scores have remained flat over the past 10 years, reflecting no improvement, decline or fluctuation.

“This is very improbable given the nature of behaviour of variables, which are normally influenced by a variety of factors (which is the reason they are called ‘variables’). In this case, the corruption scores would have been affected by changes in the size and structure of the public sector over the past 10 years, changes in policies and personnel and systems over the period including, for instance, process automation, etc. There is therefore a need to verify that there is no transposition of figures from year to year due to absence of current
data,” the Minister said.

Also, he said, different assessments on the same indicators (for instance corruption in the bureaucracy) by different rating institutions have generated different scores and different rankings across the ranking agencies

“There is a need to understand why these variations occur, and consequently the robustness of the methodology and validity of data,” Mr Mohammed said, adding that there are missing assessments for Nigeria in the data entries where the country has performed well in previous CPI calculations, like the African Development Bank Country Policy and Institutional Assessment.

“There is a need to understand why scores for this assessment have not been recorded for Nigeria for the past two years, which has had the effect of reducing Nigeria’s cumulative score and ranking relative to countries with those scores included in their CPI for both years,” he said.

The Presidency had earlier reacted to the report, saying it is not an accurate portrayal of the facts on the ground.

Presidential spokesman Garba Shehu, who signed the statement last Thursday, had also said the Muhammadu Buhari administration deserves credit for reducing corruption in the country.

EFCC Slams Transparency International Over ‘Poor’ Rating On Nigeria

 

 

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has vehemently condemned in strong terms, the 2019 Corruption Perception Index, CPI recently released by Transparency International, TI, which ranked Nigeria 146 out of 180 countries analysed.

The Commission further faulted the poor rating as baseless and described as appalling, the ‘bogus and ambiguous’ criteria used by TI to arrive at what the agency described as a ‘jaundiced and illogical rating’.

According to the EFCC, the rating is a far cry from the evident strides and achievements so far accomplished by the anti-graft agency in the fight against corruption, particularly under the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.

“The claim and inference by TI that Nigeria ranks the fourth most corrupt country in West Africa is totally unacceptable, as it is evidently not supported by any empirical data, especially when placed side-by-side with the remarkable achievements of the Commission in the past years,” EFCC stated in a communique on Thursday.

READ ALSO: Why Nigeria Was Ranked Low In Corruption Index – Transparency International

The EFCC further stated that it is quite ironic that the report by TI posits does not show real incidences of corruption, yet it claims that the report is a reliable indication of the perception of the Nigerian public and the international community about the state of corruption in the country.

Still reacting to the report, EFCC stated that in 2019 – the year under review by TI, was particularly a remarkable one for the EFCC as the Commission secured unprecedented record of 1,268 convictions, including that of a former state governor and a serving senator who was convicted for defrauding his state to the tune of N7.65billion.

It was a landmark in the fight against corruption never achieved across the West African region, indeed, Africa at large. This is among several high profile cases, which were successfully prosecuted during the year with many of them currently serving various jail terms.

Over the past years, billions of naira, millions of dollars and other foreign currencies were recovered from corrupt persons in the country, including securing the forfeiture of assets of their illegal and fraudulent activities. So far, the EFCC has evidently altered the narrative that there are some persons that are untouchables in the country.

It is on record that three former state governors are currently serving different jail terms in prison for defrauding their states and stealing from the treasury to enrich themselves and their cronies.

The EFCC has also spearheaded the Nigerian angle of prosecuting those involved in the Malabu Oil Fraud, and in partnership with the INTERPOL, was able to secure the repatriation of a former Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice implicated in the fraud, who has been on the run. Charges have already been filed against him at a Federal Capital Territory, FCT High Court and he has just been arraigned today.

The Commission has also not given up on its unrelenting efforts to ensure that a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, is made to answer for the various malfeasance perpetrated under her, in spite of the obvious reluctance of the United Kingdom to repatriate her to Nigeria.

The onslaught against perpetrators of internet fraud, infamously known as yahoo-yahoo, has also intensified with several of them now serving jail terms.”

The EFCC claimed that it is obvious that TI seems to have decidedly decided to look the other way, overlooking all these achievements all of which are not hidden.

According to the antigraft-agency, it is unfortunate that the body has never acknowledged the achievements of the EFC, adding that “it is obvious that the body has its own hidden agenda”.

The Commission said it will not be distracted by a body that has been consistent in its ‘biased rating’ of Nigeria and will continue in its mandate of fighting corruption.

Corruption Index: No Evidence Supports Transparency International’s Findings – FG Reacts

 

The Federal Government has said there is no evidence to back the report by Transparency International which places Nigeria at 146 out of the 180 countries on the 2019 corruption perception index.

In an interview on Channels Television’s LunchTime Politics, the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami said the facts on the ground do not correlate with the information dished out by Transparency International.

As far as Mr. Malami is concerned “the empirical evidence” does not support  Transparency International’s report.

READ ALSO: Transparency International Scores Nigeria Low On Corruption Perception Index

The Attorney General said in terms of the government’s fight against corruption, more has been done.

“In terms of the fight against corruption, we have been doing more, we have done more and we will continue to do more out of inherent conviction and desire on our part to fight against corruption devoid of any extraneous considerations relating to the rating by Transparency International.

“Our resolve to fight corruption is inherent and indeed devoid of any extraneous considerations, we will continue to do more and we will double efforts.”

Speaking from the perspective of performance, Malami said there is nothing that has not been done as a nation in the fight against corruption.

“In terms of legislation, we have done more, in terms of enforcement we have done more, in terms of recovery of looted assets we have done more, and in terms of political goodwill, we have demonstrated extra-ordinary political goodwill,” Malami stated.

The Senior Advocate challenged Transparency International to provide indices and statistics from which the organisation adjudged that Nigeria is not doing enough in its fight against corruption, adding that for a conclusion to be legitimate, then there has to be specific facts and figures to establish a position.

Corruption Index: SERAP Asks Buhari To Take Ranking As A ‘Wake-Up Call’

Corruption Index: SERAP Asks Buhari To Take Ranking As A 'Wake-Up Call'
File photo: President Muhammadu Buhari

 

The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to see the Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index (CPI) as a wake-up call.

Deputy Director of SERAP in Nigeria, Timothy Adewale, made the appeal on behalf of the organisation in a statement signed by him on Sunday in Lagos.

Transparency International (TI) had said in its report published last week that the perception of corruption has worsened under President Buhari.

READ ALSO: Buhari Asks Transparency International To Focus On Facts

The report showed that the perception of corruption in Nigeria worsened between 2016 and 2017, but the Presidency criticised the global watchdog for publishing “fiction”.

In its reaction, SERAP urged the Federal Government to renew its oft-expressed commitment and raise its game to fight both grand and petty corruption, as well as end the legacy of impunity rather than simply dismissing the survey as ‘fiction’.

“While TI’s index only measures perceptions of corruption, their findings correspond substantially with the reality of impunity of perpetrators, as demonstrated by the low conviction rate, the authorities’ slowness to adopt and implement critical reforms, appearance of selectivity in the anti-corruption fight, apparent complicity of key officials and cover-up, as well as unaddressed alleged corruption against several state governors,” the statement said.

The organisation asked the government to take the report seriously and use it as an opportunity to up its game to rid Nigeria of corruption and underdevelopment.

They noted that Nigerians know corruption when they see it, stressing that government must accept the fact that its commitment to fight corruption has not gone to plan.

 

Devastating Effects Of Corruption

The statement read in part: “The CPI may not be perfect, and in fact no index is. The CPI may not show actual evidence of corruption in the country, but perceptions are commonly a good indicator of the real level of corruption. In any case, the devastating effects of corruption in virtually all sectors providing essential public services are too glaring for Nigerians to ignore.

“While the government may have blocked some leakages in the systems and reduced the level of impunity witnessed under the previous administrations, it has not done enough to address longstanding cases of corruption, and the appearance of selectivity in the prosecution of corruption allegations, especially when such cases involve those close to the seat of power. Today, corruption still constitutes one of the greatest threats to the country’s sustainable and equitable development.

“Almost three years after taking office, and promising to fight grand corruption, no ‘big fish’ suspected of corruption has yet been sent to jail. The situation has not significantly improved, and it seems unlikely that many of those facing grand corruption charges will be successfully prosecuted. Nigerians need to see real commitment and heavy investment in promoting a culture of clean government, and total obedience to the rule of law.

Corruption In Nigeria Getting Worse – Transparency International

 

Tough Anti-Corruption Laws

“Possessing the political will to fight corruption is not in itself enough if it’s not sufficiently demonstrated. Buhari should take the CPI to heart and initiate and actively facilitate the passing of tough anti-corruption laws, strengthening the capacity and independence of anti-corruption agencies, substantially improving the criminal justice system, obeying decisions and judgments of our courts, and ensuring the passing of the Whistle-blower Bill.

“Buhari can’t fight corruption successfully without significantly improving on the tools used by his predecessor former President Goodluck Jonathan. The government should as a matter of urgency implement governance reforms to advance effective functioning of government institutions, strengthen the quality of democratic institutions and rule of law, and reducing corruption if Nigeria is ever going to improve on its global anti-corruption ranking.

“Public officials still use political power to enrich themselves without considering the public good. Selective application of the law is a sign that the law is not being followed strictly enough, and that the fight against corruption is not maximally prosecuted.

“In several states of the federation and federal ministries, corruption is taking place every day and every hour, especially in the power sector, the education sector, the water sector, the health sector and other important public sectors. Corruption continues to directly affect the lives and well-being of millions of Nigerians across the country, and to erode public trust in public institutions and leaders, threatening the foundation of our democracy.

“There is uneven implementation of the rule of law and democratic processes, limited citizen participation in policy processes, and deliberate disobedience of court orders and judgments, such as the judgment of Justice Mohammed Idris of the Federal High Court obtained by SERAP, which ordered the government to publish widely how recovered stolen funds since the return of democracy in 1999 have been spent.

“The best measure of a country’s progress toward transparency and accountability is a total obedience to the rule of law.  The law ought to command the highest levels of respect by, for example, the government immediately obeying orders and judgments of competent courts. The fight against corruption won’t succeed if the government continues to selectively adhere to the law or refuse to rectify any disobedience. No country in which official position and orders claim a place in people’s minds higher than the law can truly be said to fight corruption.

“Democracy works only if the people have faith in those who govern, and that faith is bound to be shattered when high officials and their appointees engage in activities which arouse suspicions of malfeasance and corruption.”

The Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) is one of the most respected international measurements of corruption trends.

It was established in 1995 as a composite indicator used to measure perceptions of corruption in the public sector in different countries around the world. The CPI draws upon many available sources which capture perceptions of corruption.

SEC Intensifies Anti-corruption Efforts In Financial Sector

secThe Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in Nigeria, is intensifying efforts to entrench transparency and accountability in the capital market, by a strict monitoring of financial operations to curb corrupt practices.

Senior Manager in the office of the Director-General of the Commission and a member of the Monitoring Unit, Bridget Emakpor, said in a statement that Nigeria’s status in the corruption index is a serious cause for concern which must be rectified.

The Commission noted that a new Anti-corruption Transparency and Monitoring Unit (ATMU) has been set up in collaboration with the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC).

It also added that the ATMU in collaboration with ICPC, has the task to ensure proper ethics and traceable growth in the Nigerian financial sector in line with global standards.