The Chairman of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), Mr. Ekpo Nta, has stated that the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC) prescribed more of preventive measures in the fight against corruption.
Mr. Nta made the statement recently while hosting a team of the Anti-corruption Commission of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) who came to ICPC on a courtesy call. He said that if the institutions were working the way they should, “the huge sums we hear that have been stolen from government coffers would not have happened.”
He explained that instead of expending energy, time and other resources on investigative activities and the prosecution of corrupt individuals, it was better to design systems that would prevent corruption. He also noted that most of the issues tagged as corruption were actually system defects. To this end he said that ICPC has been involved in systems study and review in order to correct anomalies in government institutions.
Speaking about some of the challenges faced by ICPC, Mr. Nta, lamented that the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000 restricted the Commission to charging its cases in state high courts. This, he described as a setback to the anti-corruption fight because it often leads to political interference by sympathizers of the accused persons in their home state. He also identified inadequate funding as another hindrance to effective anti-corruption fight.
The Commission’s Chairman further expressed ICPC’s readiness to partner with the anti-corruption commission of NBA, revealing that ICPC was ready to give them access to the anti-corruption academy in Keffi for further training and retraining of their staff.
Earlier in his remarks, the NBA Anti-corruption Commission Chairman, Augustine Oyarekhua (SAN), who was represented by John Olusola Baiyeshea (SAN) stated that the purpose of the visit was to seek collaboration with ICPC in the fight against corruption which he said had deprived Nigeria the opportunity of an all-round development.
Mr. Olusola also revealed that the NBA was passionate and committed to the anti-corruption stance of the present administration and was ready to collaborate with ICPC in all relevant areas to ensure success.