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PROJECT TOPIC- ECONOMIC AND FINANCIAL CRIMES COMMISSION AND CHALLENGES OF PUBIC ACCOUNT ABILITY IN THE FEDERAL CAPITAL TERRITORY, 2003-2010

 PROJECT TOPIC- ECONOMIC AND FINANCIAL CRIMES COMMISSION AND CHALLENGES OF PUBIC ACCOUNT ABILITY IN THE FEDERAL CAPITAL TERRITORY, 2003-2010

 

CHAPTER ONE
1.1 INTRODUCTION

The concept of financial crime covers a very broad aspect of human endeavors such as social, political and economy. The promises of early years of independence had corrupt practices that have driven many people below the poverty line. Financial crime in Nigerian context in the public sector is basically based on corruption. The nature and extent of corruption on Nigeria was fairly limited in the good old days when public administration did not extend to all aspects of life. In the past, only a handful of officials who were required to collect taxes and enforces law did misuse their direct powers in
the absence of written laws. However, with the dawn of independence and the emergence of welfare states, the activities of government increased. The officials were assigned new and unfamiliar tasks. This resulted in the emergence of new opportunities for corruption.
The issue of corruption and its effect on good governance is of particular and growing concern to the international community and to many citizens. Moreover, from economic perspective, financial crimes burden the private sectors and deter foreign and domestic investment. It drains money from the required development projects and this affects their quality. It undermines value of society and breads cynicism. The cost of corruption often fall
disproportionately on the poor, who are unable to pay bribes and thus may be denied essential services.

The report of the Political Bureau of 1986 recognized the existence of corruption in the following words, “corruption has become a household word in the Nigeria society, it pervades all strata of the society from the highest levels of political and business elites to the ordinary person in the village” (Report of the Political Bureau 1987:215). In the light of the above, it has become so bad that many people equate the name “Nigeria” with the word “corruption.
Presently, almost every discourse about Nigeria centers more on the high rate of corruption in our public life. There is the very strong perception that corruption is institutionalized in Nigeria and it is not that officials are corrupt but corruption is official.

Government institutions had decayed to an unprecedented extent as opportunities were colonized by the powerful. The situation has several negative consequences to the economic growth of the country. This research work seeks to examine the problem of financial crime and show that financial crime is so harmful and wrong that its prevention demands strong support. It is against this background that this study seeks to examine the impact of Economic and Financial Crime Commission [EFCC] in combating financial crime and ensure public accountability in Nigeria. On the other hand the challenge of public accountability has become a cog in the wheel of national development.

Huge amount of money which would have accelerated national development has gone down the drain as a result of poor public accountability. Since the inception of democratic regime, there has been a lot of challenges facing the government on its pursuit of rapid development which many of if can be largely attributed to poor public accountability. This canker worm that is eating and milking government treasury has necessitated the formation of different agencies to tackle, this ugly syndrome. These agencies include, EFCC, ICPC etc. recently EFCC has succeeded in apprehending some ministers who fail to give account of their unspent fund allocated to their various ministries.
This study appraises EFCC with a view to determine whether it has achieved its objective of prosecuting financial criminals and enthrone accountability in Nigeria between 2003 and 2010

PROJECT TOPIC- ECONOMIC AND FINANCIAL CRIMES COMMISSION AND CHALLENGES OF PUBIC ACCOUNT ABILITY IN THE FEDERAL CAPITAL TERRITORY, 2003-2010

 

1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM

The history of corruption is as old as the world, because ancient civilizations have traces of widespread ‘illegality and corruption’. Thus, Lipset and Lenz 2000 note that ‘’corruption has been ubiquitous in complex societies from ancient Egypt, Israel, Rome, and Greece down to the present’’. Corruption is also believed to be endemic in modern government and it is not peculiar to any continent, region, or ethnic group. This does not, however, mean that the incidence and magnitude of corruption activities are the same in every society. Some countries are obviously more corrupt: yet others have better plans in managing corrupt activities. Apparently Nigeria is not one of those countries with a better handle on corruption, despite its unending corruption
commissions and all the noise made by every administration on the efforts to transform the nation into a corrupt-free society.
Many reforms and policies have been implemented and proposed yet the issue of corruption as regards proper accountability as to the funds recovered from the loot of corrupt politicians is always a thing thrown to mockery. The problem of corruption has been a major cog in the wheel of our national development.

The preponderance of crimes such as Advance Fee Fraud (419), money laundering, internet fraud, bank fraud, insurance fraud, telemarketing, identity theft, credit card fraud, contract scam, counterfeiting, embezzlement, bankruptcy fraud, kick backs, mail fraud, etc. have had severe damaging consequences on Nigeria, including decreased Foreign Direct Investment in the country and denting of Nigeria’s image. The menace
of these crimes and the recognition of the magnitude and gravity of the situation led to the establishment of the EFCC to tackle the problem of economic and financial crimes in Nigeria.

Our country has been adjudged corrupt and unsafe for foreign investment. We are said to have unleashed on the world the ‘’419 bug’’. Some people have now tagged Nigeria a ‘’financial terrorist’’ nation on account of the volume of economic and financial crimes that emanate from Nigeria. It was in these circumstances that the Financial Task Force of the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime threatened to impose counter measures on Nigeria in 2001 if she did not update her laws and take steps to check the perpetration of economic and financial crimes.

It is for this reason and the international dimension, which these crimes had assumed that the promulgation of the EFCC Act 2002 become inevitable. The EFCC as an anti-corrupt graft agency has been in operation for nine (9) years now, yet the issue of accountability, which is an offshoot of the inherent corruption in the Nigeria society, is still manifest. Thus, the problem which this work attempt to examine could be stated in the
following interrogative forms:
• Why has incidence of Economic and Financial Crimes in Nigeria persisted despite the existence of the EFCC?
• Has the EFCC’s effort in curbing corruption in political domain enhanced accountability in Nigeria?
• Is the non existence of special criminal court in Nigeria responsible for the high costs of investigation and prosecution of financial crimes by EFCC within the period under
study?

1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY

The cardinal objective of this research work is to critically examine the “EFCC and the Public Accountability: A case study of FCT. That notwithstanding as it has been stated earlier, EFCC was one of the major anti-corruption measures developed by the Obasanjo regime to tackle the hydra-headed monster called corruption. Specifically, the EFCC was saddled with the responsibility of controlling economic and financially crimes. Thus, driving from the above
context, these shall be the guiding objectives of this research work:
– To ascertain why the glaring incidence of economic and financial crimes in Nigeria persist even in the face of EFCC
– To determine whether the EFCC’s effort in controlling economic and financial crimes enhances accountability in Nigeria
– To establish if the non existence of special criminal court in Nigeria leads to increase in the costs of investigation and prosecution of financial criminals.

1.4 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY

This study has both academic and practical significance. The study will contribute immensely to academic field in the sense that any prospective researcher on EFCC will find it valuable and would serve as one of the foundations in this area of research which scholars have not written extensively.
Practically the study would stimulate consciousness in the public on the negative impacts of financial crime and poor accountability with the need for enhancing the code of ethic in governance, which could facilitate loyalty, discipline, integrity, cooperation, efficiency and accountability. The research would be of high importance to EFCC in its quest towards a corrupt-free economy. In addition, the study is aimed at promoting and strengthening measures to prevent and control corruption, economic and financial crime more effectively and efficiently and ensure accountability in public sector especially in FCT.

PROJECT TOPIC- ECONOMIC AND FINANCIAL CRIMES COMMISSION AND CHALLENGES OF PUBIC ACCOUNT ABILITY IN THE FEDERAL CAPITAL TERRITORY, 2003-2010

 

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