Laws on Corruption
Nigeria is one of the countries which has perennially battled corruption. As a result, there are several laws which deal with corruption. This article discusses a few of the main ones
1. The 1999 Constitution
The Constitution is the most important law in the country. In the Fifth Schedule to the Constitution (the Code of Conduct), it prohibits public officers from accepting property or benefits of any kind for him/herself or any other person on account of anything done or omitted to be done by him in the discharge of his duties.
2.The Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) Act
The EFCC Act is the Act which established Nigeria’s anti-fraud agency. Section 46 of the Act defines “economic crime” as a – nonviolent criminal activity committed with the objectives of earning wealth illegally. The Act mandates the EFCC to combat financial and economic crimes and empowers it to prevent, investigate, prosecute and penalise economic and financial crimes. Apart from establishing the agency it has several sections which deal with financial crimes and corruption, and provide penalties for breach of those sections.
3. The Corrupt Practices & Other Related Offences Act
The act seeks to prohibit and prescribe punishment for corrupt practices and other related offences. It established the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) vesting it with the responsibility for investigation and prosecution of offenders thereof. The Act generally prohibits the various perceived acts of corrupt practices arising from interactions or transactions involving public/government officers and the general public or private individuals. The main aim of the Act is prohibition of corrupt practices and bribery; however it also seeks to curb corrupt practices in private business transactions and inter personal relationships among individuals and persons.
The Criminal Code is applicable in most of the States in Southern Nigeria, and has several sections which deal with corruption and unjust enrichment, specifically by public officials. For instance, Section 98 of the Criminal Code deals with the offence of corruption by defining what it is and prescribing an offence for corruption and its related offences.
5. Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act
Money laundering according to the Act is when any person in or outside Nigeria directly or indirectly conceals or disguises the origin of; converts or transfers; removes from the jurisdiction; acquires, uses, retains or takes possession or control of; any fund or property, knowingly or which he/she should reasonably have known that such fund or property is, or forms part of the proceeds of an unlawful act. In a nutshell, it is when an individual intends to legitimise proceeds from criminal activities. The Act prescribes penalties for money laundering related offences.
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