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Transparency International faults Nigeria’s anti-corruption fight, says country still among most corrupt countries in the world

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The 2018 Corruption Perception Index was released by Transparency International on Tuesday, ranking Nigeria 144, tied with Kenya, Mauritania, Comoros and Guatemala out of the 180 countries surveyed and ranked by the Berlin-based anti-corruption group.

The report indicates that Nigeria still remains one of most corrupt countries in the world, undermining claims by the Federal Government that it is dealing with the menace.

Nigeria moved four places up the ladder – from 148 out of 180 countries in the 2017 to 144 out of 180 countries in 2018.

Speaking on the development,The Executive Director of the Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre, an intermediary of TI in Nigeria, Musa Rafsanjani, told journalists that factors such as inflated contract costs, abuse of security votes, impunity and the government’s recalcitrance to try certain corrupt persons affected the country in the global rankings.

“Nigeria scored 27 out of 100 points in the 2018 CPI, maintaining the same score as in the 2017 CPI,” Rafsanjani said.

He added, “If Nigeria’s democracy is to be the preserved, the origins of huge assets of Nigerian real owners needed be disclosed.”

Rafsanjani noted although Nigeria moved up four places in the rankings, it doesn’t mean Nigeria has improved, but only indicated that four other countries recorded lower scores in 2018.

He lamented that despite its current position, “Nigeria is still perceived as a highly corrupt nation.”

The group criticized the whistleblowing policy of the Federal Government, saying it does not guarantee immunity to persons with privileged information, in addition to the FG’s failure to inaugurate the National Procurement Council as provided in the Public Procurement Act.

The organisation also attributed the high corruption index in Nigeria to the secrecy in the allocation of oil and gas licences to individuals and companies.

Rafsanjani accused the FG of cover-up of money-laundering crimes and tax evasion in the country.

The TI chief said the FG had failed to investigate and prosecute individuals and companies involved in money laundering and tax evasion.

He said, “With the inability of the current administration to stop political boycotts of key appointments and pass the much-needed legislation such as the Proceeds of Crime Bill and to implement the recommendations given at the launch of the CPI 2017, it is no wonder that Nigeria’s score in 2018 is no different from the one of 2017.”

He added, “The public image of the anti-corruption campaign in Nigeria is tarnished domestically and internationally by the extremely slow progress to move on the numerous anti-corruption commitments made by the government.

“Public participation and active reporting of corruption is seriously hindered by the absence of the Whistleblower Protection Act that would ensure the protection of the whistle-blowers from dismissals, suspensions, harassment, discrimination or intimidation. Let us be clear, no country can make progress without insider reportage of corruption abuses.

“Corruption in the defence and security sector contributes significantly to the human despair and economic stagnation in Nigeria. While the Nigerian defence budget has soared more than 500 per cent in the last 10 years, insecurity and breakdown of the rule of law in some parts of the country continue unabated.

“Despite some indisputable evidence, many corrupt politicians and businessmen and women seem to be above the law. Recent corruption scandals, including the GandujeGate, ShemaGate, DasukiGate, IkoyiGate, among others, have not seen diligent investigations, prosecutions and convictions of these cases and other Politically Exposed Persons. The authorities need to understand that these acts deepen a sense of hopelessness among well-meaning Nigerians.”

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