(5th May, 2016) Corruption undermines growth, erodes trust in governments, fuels support for extremism and hinders the fight against poverty and inequality. Governments have a special responsibility to prevent, detect and punish corruption.
The basis of Nigeria’s fight against corruption lies in its domestic legal and policy instruments such as the Code of Conduct for Public Officers which include Asset Declaration and Verification, the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission Act, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Act, Advance Fee Fraud Act and Money Laundering Prohibition Act, the Public Procurement Act setting up the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) and the Nigerian Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI). In Decemebr 2003, Nigeria ratified the UN Convention Against Corruption which commits Nigeria to taking necessary steps in the fight against corruption as shown by the various domestic laws enacted.
We, the representatives of the government of Nigeria, representatives of civil society and the media met on 5th May 2016 in Abuja and are committing to implement critical measures that will ensure that the space for corruption to flourish will be curtailed.
- Cross Cutting Issues
Flowing from the presentations and discussions, the need to address a number of gaps relating to the present effort at fighting corruption was highlighted. The gaps include:
- The present effort at fighting corruption should not only pay attention to legal and institutional issues but also to the sociological issues which are the root cause of corruption.
- There is need to approach the fight with a greater sense of urgency, including creating an effective partnership between the government, business and civil society.
- Defining an overarching vision and strategy for the anti-corruption fight that takes into account the importance of society wide attitudinal change as a way to ensuring the sustainability of the fight.
- Devising effective means of communicating this vision and strategy to the citizens, including those in the rural communities. This is to ensure that citizens are not disconnected from government efforts, thereby securing their continued support.
- The need to fast-track efforts at legal and institutional reforms, including the enactment of the Money Laundering (Prevention and Prohibition) Repeal Bill, 2016 and the Mutual Assistance in Legal Matters Bill, 2016, which seeks to ensure effective prosecution of corruption, financial crime, kidnapping, trafficking in persons and trafficking in drugs, kidnapping, oil theft cases and all other forms of crimes referred to as “Predicate Offences” as long as it has a financial implication and that it eventually leads to the laundering of the stolen funds.
- The need to strengthen anti corruption institutions and make them independent and less prone to political manipulation.
- The role of the Auditor General of the AGF and the Public Accounts Committee of the National Assembly should be more proactive in generating reports of the financial dealings of the government in a timely manner and making these reports publicly accessible to enable citizens interrogate the financial dealings of the government.
- Stolen Asset Recovery
People who benefit from corruption need somewhere to put the money. All too often they want to spend that money in global cities – making use of secrecy in the global financial system to do so with impunity. We need robust steps to assist in the recovery of corrupt assets. Countries where these assets are held should expedite the process of repatriating these assets, without penalties, where they originate in low or middle income countries. There is also need to address the high legal cost of recovering and repatriating these assets. The countries to where these assets are being returned could commit to invest these assets in, among other things, healthcare, basic education, etc. To do this we should:
- Support the enactment of the Nigeria Financial Intelligence Center (NFIC) Bill, 2016 and the Proceeds of Crime (POC) Bill. The NFIC bill seeks to empower the FIU currently located within the EFCC with additional powers of receipt, analysis and dissemination of intelligence to all law enforcement and security agencies.
- Identify priorities for spending on public goods and ensure this spending is made transparent.
- At the London Summit on 12 May 2016 , to commit to increase transparency in the management of returned stolen assets, to ensure ease of access in the recovery of stolen assets, to ensure that “illicit enrichment” or non-explainable wealth can be used as the basis for recovery of stolen public assets.
- Support the President of the federal republic of Nigeria’s commitment to hosting a Global Forum on Asset Recovery in May 2017.
- Requiring companies to disclose who owns and profits from them
Anonymous companies, trusts and similar legal instruments play a central role in money laundering, concealing the identity of corrupt individuals and irresponsible businesses involved in activities including the trafficking of arms, drugs and people, the theft of public funds, and tax evasion. This robs governments of resources that could otherwise be invested in improving public services and stimulating inclusive economic growth. Public disclosure of beneficial ownership information would enable law enforcement, journalists, and citizens to easily access and use this information to follow the money and root out corruption and would help businesses know who they are trading with. To do this we should:
- Support the passage of the Money Laundering (Prevention and Prohibition) Repeal Bill, 2016 and the Mutual Assistance in Legal Matters Bill, 2016 which has incorporated the definition of ‘beneficial owner’ that captures the natural person(s) that ultimately own(s) or control(s) a company or trust.
- Implement publicly accessible central registries of beneficial ownership of legal entities including bulk access to open data.
- As a first step this should be taken forward for the extractives sector as already committed under EITI.
- Advance these issues at the London Summit, including securing a commitment from Prime Minister Cameroon to enforce Public Registers for the Beneficial Ownership of companies throughout UK’s Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies.
- Ensuring budgets are available for anyone to view in a way that is easy to read and re-use, so that citizens can see how public funds are spent
Budget transparency is critical for enabling citizens to hold their governments to account for the use of public resources in order to ensure that funds are managed efficiently and effectively on things that citizens want and need, such as quality health care, education, infrastructure and social services. We will work to ensure that budgets are publicly available and easily accessible so that citizens can see how public funds are being allocated and spent. To do this we will:
- Support the publication of key budget documents in standard open data formats and creating accessible interfaces to display budget information, including but not limited to the Executive’s budget proposal, the enacted budget, a year-end report on budget outcomes including all off-budget revenues and expenditures, and an end-year audit report.
- Work to link budget, project planning, procurement and spending data.
- Increase public participation in budget formulation and execution, including holding public hearings during the budget process.
- Work to disclose budget data at the federal, state and Local government level.
- Opening government public procurement and contracting and publishing contracts
Public procurement is critical to economic growth and development. It is also government’s number one corruption risk. It sits at the nexus of revenue generation, budget planning, resource management and delivery of public goods. Openness in contracting also encourages entrepreneurship, a fairer business environment, and a thriving small business sector. We will ensure that all our public contracts are awarded and managed openly and fairly, supporting business & civic oversight and providing open data on public contracting activities. To do this, we will:
- Support the disclosure of information across the entire chain of government contracting and procurement from planning to tender, to award and to the contract itself (including publishing contracts by default) to implementation to closure.
- In particular, disclose all existing oil and mining sector contracts between the government and companies, including those governing exploration and production activities as well as other important deals, e.g. the crude oil for product swaps.
- Share all this information as open data with unique identifiers to aid analysis, sharing, reuse and interoperability (using the Open Contracting Data Standard).
- Adopt tools and methodologies for market analysis and monitoring to fix problems and ensure better solutions for public problems, across government, business and civil society and throughout the contract cycle.
- Require that the beneficial owners of companies bidding or receiving government contracts be publicly disclosed.
- Work together to establish common information set for contract debarment.
- Extractive Industry Transparency
In Nigeria, it is estimated that over $400 billion has been lost to ‘oil thieves’ since the country gained independence in 1960. All-too-often, opacity enables corrupt actors to divert these funds away from development promoting activities. Transparency of payments would enable citizens to hold governments accountable for the effective use of natural resource revenues. Commodity trading contributes substantially to state revenues. In recent years, up to 70% of Nigeria’s total government revenues came from sales from the state oil company, largely to oil traders. To remedy this situation, we will:
- Seek to improve transparency and oversight in the sales of crude oil by the state-owned Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) by publishing sale-by-sale data.
- Follow up and international cooperation: The Open Government Partnership
- Strongly urge the Nigerian Government to follow through with its publicly declared commitment to join the Open Government Partnership without further delay. Joining the OGP will help Nigeria improve transparency in the management of natural resources, and public funds as well as citizen participation in governance.
- Federal Ministry of Justice
- Office Of The Head Of The Civil Service Of The Federation
- Min Of Finance
- Nigeria Drug Law Enforcement Agency
- Securities And Exchange Commission
- Central Bank Of Nigeria
- Bureau For Public Procurement
- Nigeria Extractives Industries Transparency Initiatives
- Code of Conduct Bureau
- Office Of The Vice President – Rule Of Law
- Ministry Of Foreign Affairs
- Of Budget & National Planning
- Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption
International Partners and Embassies
- Department For International Development – Nigeria
- African Development Bank
- European Union
- The World Bank
- Ghana High Commission.
- High Comm. Of Canada
- Australian High Com.
- Us Embassy – INL Office
Civil Society Organizations
- Open Society Initiatives Of West Africa (OSIWA)
- Freedom Of Information Coalition, Nigeria
- Natural Resource Governance Institute
- Socio Economic Rights Initiative
- Centre For Public Private Cooperation
- Human Rights Writers Association
- Federal Public Administration Reforms
- PANAC STRAG
- Centre For Leadership And Strategic Development
- Publish What You Pay, Nigeria
- Civil Society Network Against Corruption
- West Africa Non Government Organization Network (WANGONET)
- Africa Network for Environment and Economic Justice (ANEEJ)
- Enough Is Enough, Nigeria
- Amplified Radio
- West Africa Civil Society Forum
- Center For Social Justice
- Center For Women And Children
- Amplified Radio
- Public Private Development Center
- Connected Development
- Trust Africa
- Center For Democracy And Development
- Open Society Justice Initiative
- Say No Campaign/YIAGA
- Action Aid, Nigeria