From Maiharaji Altine Gusau
The President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria does not have the power to pardon nor commute the sentence of any public official convicted of corrupt practices in government.
The Chairman, Code of Conduct Bureau, Professor Mohammad Isah, made this revelation during a two-day Workshop on fighting corruption, organised by the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, for its management staff in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
In his presentation on “Asset Declaration: A Viable Tool for Corruption Prevention”, Professor Isah stated that the constitution recognises corruption in public service as an unpardonable crime and admonished the officials to avoid unwholesome practices while in government service.
He also revealed that corruption does not offer double jeopardy to the convicted, stating that an officer convicted for corrupt practices could be retried on the same offence.
Professor Isah confessed that corruption was a worldwide phenomenon and regretted that Nigeria was usually presented as a country with a high incidence of corrupt practices in government, adding that Nigeria had established institutions meant to check corrupt practices in the public service.
He said that as societies were becoming sophisticated, it was important for these institutions to focus on specialized ways of fighting corruption, noting that there was need for more sophisticated institutions to address the new challenges.
These evolving trends, he remarked, led to the establishment of the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission, ICPC, and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, in addition to the Code of Conduct Bureau which was already existing.
In his own presentation, the Zonal Commander, EFCC Port-Harcourt, Mr. Aliyu Naibi, representing the Chairman of the Commission, Mr. Abdulrasheed Bawa, defined corruption as abuse of public office for private gain. He detailed various forms of corruption in public service.
He stated: “There are economic and social costs of corruption that hamper national growth. Deterrence is now the norm in fighting corruption, not prevention. Deterrence means improving organizational procedures and internal control to reduce fraud and corruption.”