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ECONOMIC AND FINANCIAL CRIMES IN THE PUBLIC SECTOR (MINISTRY OF FINANCE, LAGOS)
1.1 Background of the study
The public segment can be well-defined as all organizations that exist as part of government tool for implementing policy decisions and delivering services that are of value to citizens. It is a compulsory institution under the Nigerian Constitution of 1999. A section of the constitution provides for a public service at the federal and state levels of government (Suleiman, 2015). The Public Sector in Nigeria is made up of: (1) The Civil Service, which is often referred to as the core service and is composed of line ministries and extra-ministerial agencies; and (2) The Public Bureaucracy, which is composed of the enlarged public service, include; Services of the state and national assemblies, The judiciary, The armed forces, The police and other security agencies, Paramilitary services (immigration, customs, prisons, etc.), ‘Parastatals’ and agencies including social service, commercially oriented agencies, regulatory agencies, educational institutions, research institutes, etc. (ibid).
The Nigerian public service is a colonial inheritance of public administration during which the upper level of the civil service was dominated by the Europeans on whom were concentrated executive, judicial and legislative powers. Succeeding constitutional reviews increased the stake of Nigerians at the helm of the public service until the Independence in 1960. Independence was supposed to catalyze the evolution of the service as a national institution for spearheading the rapid transformation of the nation and ensuring continuity in administration. It has failed to do any of these.
Though the Nigerian public service has undergone changes and transformation over the years, unfortunately, successive reforms have not made significant impact to reengineer the public sector. Reforms were tailored towards achieving efficiency and effectiveness of the service because of the belief of successive governments that a thorough-bred public service was necessary for effective delivery of public good. Again, the public sector has continuously failed to deliver (ibid).
Crimes and corruption such as nepotism, bribery, theft, money laundering, oil bunkering, rituals, etc., over the years have eaten deep into the public sector of Nigeria.
Corruption deprives enabling environment for potential investors to invest; it distorts public expenditure, increases cost of running businesses, cost of governance and diverts resources from poor to rich nations. Corruption is misuse of entrusted power or a dishonest use of one’s office or position for personal gain. It is a cancerous global phenomenon, which has continued to cripple the developmental efforts of Nigeria (Ogbewere, 2015).
Nigeria’s worst problem; it is responsible for all kinds of woes, such as election rigging, failed promises, abandoned projects, poor quality of implemented projects, dilapidated infrastructure, nepotism, instability in the Niger Delta, and impediment to flow of foreign direct investment (Obuah, 2010b).
The federal government at a point had to set up a body to check and balance the rate of crimes and corruption in the public sector. The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission was established for this purpose. The body has proved itself a unit that can actually fight crimes and corruption in the nation. The level of economic crime and corruption really reduced as the body went into sporadic action. But as the years roll by, their credibility reduced and crime and corruption rate began to rise (Pauline, myproject.ng, 2016).
The situation of corruption in Nigeria has presented an anomic situation in which anybody can get away with his/her loots no matter the amount of money involved and the material costs to the nation. The ThisDay Newspaper reported that the level of leakages in Nigeria has attracted an annual rate of $25.76 billion loss to fraud related crimes in the last five years and that on a daily basis too; the country is losing about $70,575,342 to corruption and other related crimes (Salawu, 2007). Given its alarming rate, particularly because of its damaging implications, the phenomenon constitutes a national question which needs to be examined in all its ramifications. In other word, every effort should be exerted to stem its spread and growth. It must be tackled head log no matter whose ox is goosed. This ugly picture has become insurmountable since independence and every strategy fashioned to address or tackle the menace has not yielded the desire outcome. Most of the national earnings particularly from the oil sector since independence have been gulped by different forms of corruption. The level and rate of corruption and, lack of accountability have remained an impediment to Nigeria’s developmental drive and responsible for the increasing level of poverty in the country This unpalatable situation of corruption x-rayed above informed President Olusegun Obasanjo’s stern focus on corruption. To this end, the government established two agencies – Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission, (ICPC) and Economic and Financial Crime Commission, (EFCC) to achieving the purpose. The sentiment echoed by El-Rufai was that, corruption has reached an endemic level in Nigeria and that despite measures taken to stem its spread; it has continued unabated (Odekunle, 2006). He (Odekunle) stated further that every effort evolved at addressing the scourge have always been frustrated by the evolution of even more effective and sophisticated methods of corruption (ibid). In 2001 alone, Nigeria was said to have lost more than N23b (Alanamu et al, 2008). Oby Ezekwesili – Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to the President on Budget Monitoring and Price Intelligence Unit (BMPIU) was quoted by Newswatch (2004) to have said that “the unit (BMPIU) had saved N125b from over bloated contracts. The figure is considered an equivalent of 30 percent of the capital budget for fiscal year 2004” (Salawu, 2008).
1.2 Statement of the problem
Crime and corruption has greatly influenced Nigeria in a negative way. It has affected the nation both locally and internationally, hindering foreign investors from investing in Nigeria. The Nigerian economy has also suffered a great deal from economic crimes and corruption in the public sector. The dynamic impact of corruption in Nigeria is felt by every layer of the population. The most fragile social layer is poor households and small firms. Corruption in this sector of economy reduces any chances to increase human investment and capital. Cases of corruption in Nigeria are widely associated with poor public finance management. The increasing number of barriers from public provisions decreases the ability to do business. Effect of corruption in Nigeria hits the low layers of the population. People have to survive in the country where rules can be omitted if you have money. The distribution of financial resources in Nigeria is inadequate. It leads to the increasing growth of low-income families. The middle-class that should form the majority of the population has no significant effect on politics. The gap between the poorest and the wealthiest citizens is extremely wide. Instead of hiring good managers who could change the country – the government desires to dive into nepotism. It means that Nigerians get highly untrusted government representatives. No progress can be made in Nigeria with corrupted government. Bribery and corruption in Nigeria have a long history. From the very beginning of its independence, the government officials did not miss any opportunity to steal money from the budget of the country.
1.3 RESEARCH QUESTION
What are the causes of corruption and crimes in the Nigeria public sector
What is effect of corruption on the growth and development of Nigeria
What are the causes of crimes in the Nigeria public sector
What solution can be proffered to the problem of corruption in Nigeria
1.4 AIMS AND OBJECTIVE OF STUDY
The aim of this studies is to critically study the effects of economic crimes and corruption in the Nigerian public sector. The objectives are:
To find out the causes of corruption and crimes in the Nigeria public sector
To find out effect of corruption on the growth and development of Nigeria
To investigate the causes of crimes in the Nigeria public sector
To proffer solution to the problem of corruption in Nigeria
1.5 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
The idea of the research work is to study the economic crimes and corruption in the Nigerian public sector. It shall cover a range of civil servants in the public sector of Nigeria and also citizens that have one thing or the other to do with the public service in Nigeria.
1.6 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
There are a number of reasons for focusing on the effects of corruption and crimes in Nigeria public sector and the difficulties in dealing with it. Nigeria occupies a central place in Africa as the most populous country, with an estimated population of over 180 million. It is one of the continent’s richest countries and is blessed with a huge diversity of natural and human resources. It is also characterized by a multiplicity of different ethnic groups. Like many mono-cultural economies in Africa, its economy is heavily dependent on crude oil. Paradoxically, it is this important natural resource that sustains corruption in Nigeria.
The significance of this study is therefore to expose the acts of the few privileged ones who find themselves in high positions of authority and the ways at which they divert the profits gotten from these natural resources for personal uses instead of using them for public purposes and how this has hampered efforts made on development. Also to expose the effects of corruption on the growth and development of Nigeria.
This study will proffer some real life solution to the problem of crimes and corruption, and lastly this study will serve as a reference to others research work
1.7 LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
The issue of finance for the general research work will be a challenge during the course of study. Correspondents also might not be able to complete or willing to submit the questionnaires given to them.
However, it is believed that these constraints will be worked on by making the best use of the available materials and spending more than the necessary time in the research work. Therefore, it is strongly hoped that despite these constraint, its effect on this research report will be minimal, thus, making the objective and significance of the study achievable.
1.8 DEFINITION OF KEY WORDS
Crimes: this is an action or omission which constitutes an offence and is punishable by law.
Corruption: this is a dishonest or fraudulent conduct by those in power, typically involving bribery.
Public sector: this is the part of the economy composed of both public services and public enterprises.
Economic crimes: are crimes committed by public officials e.g. financial crimes committed by banks, tax evasion, illicit capital heavens, money laundering.
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