CORRUPTION PERCEPTION INDEX 2017
Nigeria slipping further down in international ranking: No progress in the fight against corruption
The Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC), the National Contact of Transparency International (TI) is seriously worried about the new but unfavorable trend in the fight against corruption in the country, as buttressed in the newly published Corruption Perception Index (CPI) 2017 which shows that Nigeria is slipping further down in the international ranking in the fight against corruption.
In the update of the CPI, Nigeria ranks 148 out of 180 countries assessed in 2017 on the perception of the state of corruption in the country. Out of 100 points signaling maximum transparency and no corruption, Nigeria scored 27 points.
These results show a slight deterioration in the scoring of the perception about corruption in public administration compared to 2016. In 2016, Nigeria scored 28 points and ranked 136th in the ranking of countries Despite one-point reduction in the score, Nigeria has slipped in the country-ranking by 12 positions in 2017. This shows that, as the rest of the world has improved in the perception on corruption, Nigeria slips further down as the fight against corruption stagnates.
On the African continent, Nigeria ranks 32nd position in Africa out of 52 assessed countries in 2017. While Botswana leads the continent with the record of competent and largely corruption-free public administration, Nigeria hopelessly falls behind with 27 points. In West Africa, Nigeria is the second worst country out of 17 countries leaving only Guinea Bissau behind.
The Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) is one of the most respected international measurement 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 a number of available sources which capture perceptions of corruption. CPI is computed by the Transparency International Secretariat in Germany and is published in Nigeria exclusively by the Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC), a Transparency International contact in Nigeria.
CORRUPTION FIGHT IN NIGERIA STALLED
This fresh setback in the fight against corruption confirms that grand-corruption, political corruption, nepotism, favoritism and bribery persist in Nigeria at all levels. It is CISLAC’s view that the negative perception is mainly a consequence of the inability to combat grand corruption and astronomical plundering of public coffers costing the Nigerian tax payers around 25% of annual GDP. Since the current administration has come to power on the anti-corruption ticket, no significant politically exposed person has been duly sentenced on anti-corruption charges.
CISLAC notes that anti-corruption agencies have accelerated the rate of convictions on anti-corruption charges. Economic Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) for example has brought 286 cases to
undertaken. However, little has been done to put the strategy in motion. Such half-way abandoned projects are unlikely to convince the Nigerian public and the international community about the seriousness to fight corruption.
On a similar note, Nigeria has made numerous international commitments to tackle corruption and lack of transparency. 14 commitments were made as part of the Open Government Partnership effort. In some cases, a modest progress has been made. The World Bank Doing Business Index has improved due to concerted effort of the government and the civil society. However, the majority of the 14 commitments stay unfulfilled. 20 commitments were also made by the Buhari administration in London 2016 during an anti-corruption conference. One and half years later, not a single commitment has been completed. 50% of anti-corruption commitments are underway while 25% are inactive. 25% of commitments are in progress.
Public contracting is shredded in chaos and lack of transparency. Beneficial Ownership register is nowhere near completion and crucial asset recovery legislation such as the Proceeds of Crime Bill has been hopelessly stalled in the National Assembly. The pledge to work towards full implementation of the Open Contracting Data Standard has not resulted in tangible actions and much needed public procurement reform is stalled as key appointments for National Procurement Council have not commenced.
Furthermore, the National Assembly has delayed the confirmation of 60 nominees for leadership of various institutions, including agencies vital to fighting corruption. The failure to screen and confirm nominees from the executive is undermining governance and complicating the ongoing fight against corruption in the country.
In above mentioned failures contribute to the deterioration of the public patience and perception about the ability to fight corruption in Nigeria. Unless the Justice system expedites politically exposed cases and forfeits meaningful amounts of recovered assets; unless the National Assembly stops political boycott of key appointments and passes much needed legislation and unless there is a tangible strategy of the government to damage-control shocking plundering of public resources, public perception on anti-corruption is unlikely to improve.
We recommend the following steps to re-galvanize public engagement and secure cooperation of international community in the fight against corruption:
- Make the 2017 anti-corruption strategy known to the grass-root level, assign responsibilities for its implementation and prepare a detailed and costed action plan monitored by civil society organizations,
- Prioritize anti-corruption courts and nominate judges with proven record of high integrity and no controversies,
- Prioritize international cooperation and usage of international agreements to repatriate Nigerian assets abroad and use foreign jurisdictions’ legal instruments such as recently passed Unexplained Wealth Order in UK to expose Nigerian illicit financial flows,
- Strengthen the functions of supreme audit institutions such as the Office of the Auditor General and hold National Assembly accountable for an oversight or lack of it;
- Get rid of absurd privileges for elected public officials and senior civil servants including insisting on the public submission of asset declarations of the executive, legislative and judiciary officials;
- Immediate appointment and prompt inauguration of the National Procurement Council as provided in the Public Procurement Act to curb continued systemic corruption in the nation’s procurement process and persons essential for smooth functioning of anti-corruption institutions.
- Strengthen anti-corruption institutions, adequate protection and encouragement for whistle-blowers, and intensifying media and public consciousness in demanding transparency and accountability in governance.