Thursday, August 25, 2011

Nigeria: War on Corruption Hangs in the Balance

New Report on the EFCC

Human Rights Watch
25 August 2011

Urgent Need to Fix Key Anti-Corruption Agency

There were high hopes for the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission as Nigeria’s most promising effort to tackle corruption since the end of military rule. But its efforts have fallen short because of political interference, institutional weakness, and inefficiency in the judiciary that cannot be ignored.  Daniel Bekele, Africa director at Human Rights Watch

(Lagos) – The new administration of President Goodluck Jonathan should fix Nigeria’s key anti-corruption agency and refrain from political interference in its work, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. Endemic government corruption has undermined the basic rights of millions of Nigerians, Human Rights Watch said.

The 64-page report, “Corruption on Trial? The Record of Nigeria’s Economic and Financial Crimes Commission,” analyzes the record of the commission, Nigeria’s most important anti-corruption agency. Since the commission was established in December 2002, it has publicly challenged the longtime ironclad impunity of Nigeria’s political elite – an accomplishment without precedent in Nigeria. The agency has arraigned 30 nationally prominent political figures on corruption charges, including 15 former state governors. But many of those cases have made little progress in the courts, Human Rights Watch found, and not a single politician is serving prison time for any of these alleged crimes. The commission has secured four convictions of senior political figures, but they have faced relatively little or no prison time. Other politicians widely implicated in corruption have not been indicted.

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