Why EFCC, ICPC Corruption War Is Futile
By Umoh-Obong Kingsley
A former Member of the House of Representatives, and Chairman of the Anti-corruption Committee of the House, Chief Ndueso Essien, has issued out some positive revelations on why the anti-craft agencies of the federal government have not been able to win the fight against corruption in the country.
Chief Ndueso made the revelation in an interview Inspiration FM in Uyo on Saturday, saying that “The ant-corruption drive of the federal government was well-intentioned, but on coming into office, President Muhammadu Buhari found the anti-corruption situation to be enormous. But he could not tackle all at the same time. He had to start from somewhere.
“In the process of starting from somewhere, it appeared as if some people who are known to be corrupt are not being touched; but to some extents, they have avoided tackling those who belong to the same party with them.
“Particularly, people who were in government before and have now crossed over to the opposition, are not being pursued by the anti-corruption drive. Because of that, a number of other people run to the government party now as a means of getting protection to themselves. That is when people begin to feel that it is selective.
The former Minister for Land, Housing and Urban Development noted that the anti-craft agencies have tried, but are handicapped owing to the fact that “Corruption is usually stronger than the agencies, and so when the agencies try to control them, corruption fights back because it has larger resources. And this takes to the point that the anti-corruption agencies are not well-funded.
“I was a Chairman of the Anti-corruption Committee of the House, and we saw that some very good cases that could have been handled successfully by the agencies were stalled because the people being prosecuted were on a stronger pedestal than the organisation. They were able to hire more proficient lawyers which the organisations could not, and so the process they would lose in court. So there is still need to fund the anti-corruption agencies to make them stronger.”
Chief Ndueso who is a Chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) further stated that he proposed a 3%-expenditure of the budget to fight corruption but was swept under the carpets. “My proposal as at that time, between 2003 and 2007, was that we should spend up to 3% of the budget on fighting corruption but this was not taken seriously.
“In fact, I would say that the attempt to reduce corruption really had more impact between 2002 and 2007 when Nuhu Ribadu was the Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), and the other people were in the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC). Thereafter, there was a drop in the attack on corruption.”