INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION INITIATIVES
Memorandum of Understanding (MOUs)
In furtherance of its international cooperation initiatives, the Commission has signed Memoranda of Understanding with the following organisations:
- Anti-Corruption Commission of the State of Palestine
- International Anti-Corruption Academy (IACA)
- Coalition for Dialogue on Africa (CoDA)
Participation in Multi-Stakeholder Capacity Building Programmes
The Commission’s officers regularly participate in programmes aimed at strengthening cooperation with organisations and law enforcement agencies in other jurisdictions. These include:
- Inter-Governmental Action Group Against Money Laundering (GIABA)
- Cross-Border Cooperation to End Corruption (GLOBE Network)
- International Centre for Asset Recovery (Basel Institute on Governance)
- International Law Enforcement Academy (ILEA)
- Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI)
- United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC)
- Department of Justice, United States of America
- British High Commission, Nigeria
- Italian Embassy, Nigeria
- National Crime Agency (NCA), United Kingdom
- International Police (INTERPOL)
- Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH
- International Anti-Corruption Academy (IACA)
- Commonwealth Africa Anti-Corruption Centre (CAACC)
- Ford Foundation
- Network of National Anti-Corruption Institutions in West Africa (NACIWA)
- Association of Africa Anti-Corruption Authorities (AAACA)
STANDARD OPERATING PROCEDURE
Section 6 of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000 encapsulates the tripod mandates of the Commission. These mandates are investigation and prosecution of corruption and related offences, public enlightenment and education against the ills of corruption and system study and review.
Corruption is no longer local, it has become international and extra territorial. Corrupt individuals do not only keep stolen asset within the country but also launder or transfer them outside the jurisdiction of the victim state or country of origin. This is particularly so in Nigeria in that vast quantity of proceeds of corruption have been transferred outside the jurisdiction of Nigeria and are yet to be repatriated or recovered.
Where investigation is extra-territorial or stolen asset are kept outside the jurisdiction, successful investigation cannot be achieved or such asset cannot be recovered without international cooperation.
International cooperation has increased in scope in modern times. It is no longer limited to Mutual Legal Assistance (MLA) in the investigation and recovery of stolen asset but has also extended to technical assistance to increase the capacity of states to fight corruption and related offences.
To underscore the importance of international cooperation in the fight against corruption, Chapter 4 of the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) is devoted to international cooperation. The convention also set up a working group on international cooperation to advise and assist the convention on the implementation of the provisions on international cooperation.
A number of resolutions on international cooperation have also been adopted by the convention and its subsidiary bodies to enable State Parties take full benefit of the international cooperation provisions of the Convention
In other words, the importance of international cooperation cannot be over accentuated in the fight against corruption, fraud, money laundering, illicit financial flows and related crimes.
In the light of the foregoing, for a State to optimize the advantage of international cooperation, it is imperative to develop a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) that will guide the competent authorities and their staff on international cooperation.
The purpose of this SOP is to guide the Commission and its staff on international cooperation.
It is a step by step document aimed at enhancing the efficiency and effectiveness of the operatives and other staff of the Commission on international cooperation
It coordinates the operations and activities of the various Departments and Divisions of the Commission on international cooperation.
It is also designed to save the time and resources of the Commission on international cooperation and enhance its performances.
The document will make the Commission gain public trust and meet the expectations of international organizations on international cooperation.
This SOP covers all issues relating to international cooperation in the Commission. The document is applicable to all the Departments and Divisions that carry out investigation of corruption and related offences
The document is also applicable to International Cooperation Division of the Commission as well Legal Services Department when rendering legal opinion and drafting or vetting legal documents on international cooperation and related issues
Any other Department or Division that generates technical assistance for and by the Commission including capacity building involving competent authorities or law enforcement agencies of foreign jurisdictions shall also comply with this SOP.
However, this SOP may not be applicable to donations or aids facilitated by the Commission and the Chairman may also exclude it in any matter of international cooperation where in the opinion of the Chairman, it is in the public interest to do so.
- On no account should any Department or Division initiate MLA request or any request at all directly to the Central Authority Unit (CAU).
- Where any Department or Division generates or initiate MLA request in the process of on-going investigation, such Department or Division shall immediately inform Director, Operations (DOPS) who shall forward the MLA request to the Chairman for his information and approval.
- Any MLA request initiated from the Department or Division shall be tagged “URGENT” to enable DOPS act promptly on the request
- DOPS shall also maintain the same “URGENT” tag when forwarding the MLA request to the Chairman so that the Chairman can act on the request timeously.
- As soon as MLA request is forwarded to DOPS, the officer in the Department or Division that generated or initiated the MLA request shall draw the attention of DOPS to it or remind him that an MLA request has been forwarded to his office.
- The officer may also communicate the information referred to in the preceding paragraph to DOPS by visiting him in his office or by telephone or WhatsApp.
- Where the Chairman does not act on the request within 5 days of receipt in the Chairman’s office, DOPS shall quickly remind the Chairman.
- The Chairman may seek legal opinion from the Department of Legal Services before approving or disapproving the request.
- The Director of Legal Services shall give priority to the MLA request and shall render legal opinion within 5 days of the receipt of the Chairman’s directive
- 10. Where the Chairman approves the request, he shall forward his approval to DOPS who shall quickly forward the approval to the focal officer on MLA request.
- 11. As soon as the focal officer receives MLA request from DOPS, he shall forward it to CAU without delay and inform DOPS in writing that the MLA request has been forwarded to CAU.
- 12. It shall be the duty of the focal officer to write a reminder to CAU every month until the Commission receives a response to the MLA request.
- 13.However, where the Chairman disapproves the MLA request, he shall forward his disapproval to DOPS who shall send the disapproval to the Department or Division that initiated the request.
- 14. An MLA request disapproved by the Chairman may be re-opened and re-processed in line with this SOP
Investigation of the alleged crime that generates MLA Request
- When making a request to CAU, the best practice is to furnish CAU with adequate information, otherwise CAU may be unable act on it.
- Where the CAU acts on the MLA request devoid of adequate information such a request may not be acted upon by the requested State or its competent authority.
- Therefore, any Department or Division that generates MLA request shall carry out thorough investigationbefore making an MLA request. They are expected to check the website of the requested country’s law enforcement agencies for any possible guide(s).
- The report of the investigation including ALL relevant documents or exhibits shall accompany the MLA request that will be forwarded to DOPS.
Nature of MLA request
- An MLA request is a specialized request made to a foreign jurisdiction for assistance. It is usually made in a particular format or form.
- CAU has developed a model or template for MLA requests.
- When making an MLA request, the Commission shall conform substantially with the model or template developed by CAU.
Focal Officer for MLA Request
- The Commission shall always have a focal officer for MLA requests who shall be liaising between the Commission and CAU on MLA requests. Such an officer shall not be below Grade Level 15.
- The name and other details of the focal officer for MLA request shall be communicated to the Attorney General of the Federation and the Minister of Justice.
- Any officer appointed as the focal officer for MLA shall visit the CAU for the purpose of introducing himself to the Head of CAU and seek for collaboration, cooperation and synergy between the Commission and CAU to facilitate quick response to MLA requests.
- The focal officer shall have regular meetings with CAU at his instance or the invitation of CAU
- The focal officer shall attend capacity building on MLA or international cooperation organized by CAU and/or any other national competent authorities.
- The Commission shall also appoint one officer that will assist the focal officer in the discharge of his duties.
Case Management on MLA request
- The Commission may develop a case management system on MLA requests and may share it with CAU
Response to MLA request from CAU
- Where information either verbal or writing is received from CAU that the Commission should furnish more information or evidence on an MLA request or an MLA request be reviewed, amended or represented, the Department or Division that initiates the MLA request shall be promptly informed to comply within five (5) days.
- Where the response from CAU is a response from a foreign jurisdiction indicating that the MLA request has been executed, the response shall be forwarded without delay to the Department of Division that initiated the MLA request and the said Department or Division shall quickly take steps to make use of the response
- The Commission may receive technical assistance from foreign competent authorities.
- The Chairman shall approve the technical assistance referred to in the preceding paragraph.
- The Department of Legal Services shall draft or vet Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Commission and the foreign competent authority on technical assistance as soon as possible.
- The International Cooperation Division shall coordinate the technical assistance agreed upon between the Commission and the foreign competent authority.
Commission– The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission
SOP-The Standard Operating Procedure
MLA-Mutual Legal Assistance
Convention-The United Nations Convention against Corruption
DOPS –Director of Operations
AGF&MJ-Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice
CAU –Central Authority Unit in the Federal Ministry of Justice