By Babatope Babalobi
A Nigerian Anti corruption activist, Mr.Chibuzo Ekwekwuo, has propounded a three prong anti corruption theory to curtail corrupt practices in Nigeria’s public and private sector, saying that the menace can be effectively curtailed if measures are initiated to increase the costs of corruption, reduce the benefits of corruption, and increase the risks of corruption.
Nigeria presently ranks 121th out of the 178 countries ranked in the Transparency International http://www.transparency.org Corruption Perception Index (TICPI).
Delivering a paper on ‘Causes and Taxonomy of Corruption’ at a 3 day Capacity Training Workshop for Civil Society Organisations involved in the fight against Corruption, Lagos, last Thursday, Mr Ekwekwuo said:
“To prevent corruption in any specific form, you need a strategy or plan that has the right mix of variables for that situation, you need to undertake a cost- benefits analysis of corruption and implement measures which must be able to address three issues. The anti corruption measures should be able to:
– increase the cost of corruption, material and otherwise;
-reduce the benefit of corruption; and
-increase the risk of corruption”
Chibuzo Ekwekwuo who works as the Executive Secretary, Zero Corruption Coalition, a National Network of anti -corruption civil groups in Nigeria defines the costs of corruption as the punishment or punitive measures that should be meted on those guilty of involvement in corrupt practice, what a corrupt person stands to loss by engaging in corruption and the consequences of getting involved in illegal enrichment.
The benefits of corruption, according to Ekwekwuo are the gains of getting involved in corrupt practices or the rewards that accrues to a corrupt person.and the task is how do you make what the corrupt person has gained illegally useless to him?; while the risks of corruption is the possibility of being caught…what are the things that have to be put in place to increase the possibility of being caught.
Participants in the workshop comprising trade unions, Non governmental organisations, and youth groups later discussed Ekwekwuo’s anti corruption thesis and came out with practical measures to implement it.
The workshop participants opined that the costs of corruption can be increased by stigmatisation of corrupt persons, banning of corrupt persons from holding offices, full enforcement of existing anti corruption laws, and increased media exposure of corrupt activities.
The benefits of corruption can be reduced by the eradication of plea bargaining and negotiation with corrupt officials and forfeiture of assets of those found guilty of corruption; while the risks of corruption can be increased thhroug openness and accountability by public and private sector institutions.
Speaking at a Press Conference that rounded up the workshop, the Chair of the Zero Corruption Coalition, Mr. Auwal Rafsanjani said the tempo of fighting corruption has slowed down since the inception of the President Umaru Yar’Adua administration, calling on the Government to reverse this trend by strengthening the anti corruption agencies through increased funding, and amending any legal provisions that impedes their effective functioning