Independent Corrupt Practices And Other Related Offences Commission

THE ICPC ACT AT 20! – OVERVIEW OF THE ACT 

 

  1. The Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act 2000 is exactly 20 years old today. Let us examine the highlights of the Act pointing out its unique features and provisions. 
  1. It was the first executive bill, “Anti-Corruption Bill”, presented to the National Assembly in June 1999 on assumption of Chief Olusegun Obasanjo’s administration. The bill was later passed by the National Assembly and assented to by the President as the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act 2000, coming into effect on 13th June, 2000. The Act set up the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission which was inaugurated on 29th September 2000.
  1. Section 1: The short title and commencement – The Act is cited as the “Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act 2000” and came into force on the 13th day of June, 2000.
  • The ICPC Act 2000 is not retroactive thus offences committed before this date cannot be prosecuted under it.   
  • The Act seeks to prohibit and prescribe punishment for corrupt practices and other related offences.
  1. Section 2 deals with the interpretation of certain words used in the Act such as agent, corruption, dealing, false pretence, gratification, public officer, official, amongst others. 
    1. The Act defines Corruption “to include bribery, fraud and other related offences”
    2. “Public Officer” means a person employed or engaged in any capacity in the public service of the Federation, State or Local Government, public corporations or private company wholly or jointly floated by any government or its agency including the subsidiary of any such company whether located within or outside Nigeria and includes Judicial officers serving in Magistrate, Area or Customary courts or Tribunal.
    3. “An official” means any director, functionary, officer, agent, servant, privy or employee serving in any capacity whatsoever in the public service or other public body, or in any private organisation, corporate body, political party, institution, or other employment, whether under a contract of services or contract for services or otherwise, and whether in an executive capacity or not.  
  1. Section 3(1) establishes the INDEPENDENT CORRUPT PRACTICES AND OTHER RELATED OFFENCES COMMISSION (ICPC), (hereinafter referred to as “the Commission) as an independent statutory body vested with the implementation of the provisions of the Act.
  1. Section 3(3): The Commission comprises a Chairman and twelve other Members, two of who come from each of the six geo-political zones of the country.
  1. Section 3(14) on the  Independence of the Commission:  The Commission in the discharge of its functions under the Act is not subject to the direction or control of any other person or authority. 
  1. Section 5(1) of the Act confers on an officer of the Commission when investigating or prosecuting a case of corruption, all the powers and immunities of a Police officer under the Police Act and any other laws conferring power on the Police or law enforcement agents. 
  1. Section 6 (a) – (f): Duties of the Commission include:
  1. To receive and investigate complaints from members of the public on allegations of corrupt practices and in appropriate cases prosecute the offenders.
  2. To examine the practices, systems and procedures of public bodies and where such systems aid corruption, direct and supervise their review.
  3. To instruct, advise and assist any officer, agency or parastatal on ways by which fraud or corruption may be eliminated or minimized by them.
  4. To advise heads of public bodies of any changes in practices, systems or procedures compatible with the effective discharge of the duties of the public bodies to reduce the likelihood or incidence of bribery, corruption and related offences.
  5. To educate the public on and against bribery, corruption and related offences.
  6. To enlist and foster public support in combating corruption.
  1. 10.Section 8 prohibits demand, receipt for or agreeing to receive gratification for one’s self or another on account of any past/future official action: Attracts a 7 years imprisonment.
  1. 11.Section 9 prohibits offer or promise of offer of gratification to a public officer or another for any past or future act by a public officer: Attracts 7 years imprisonment.
  1. 12.Section 10 prohibits demand, receipt for or agreeing to receive gratification for self or another on account of past/future acts  by a public officer: Attracts 7 years imprisonment.
  1. 13.Section 12 prohibits use of office as public officer to acquire direct interest in contract, agreement or investment emanating from his office: Attracts 7 years imprisonment.
  1. 14.Section 16 prohibits making of false statement or returns by any person charged with the receipt, custody or management of public revenue or property: Attracts 7 years imprisonment. 
  1. 15.Section 19 prohibits a public officer from using his office/position to confer corrupt or an unfair advantage on himself, relation, associate or another public officer: Attracts 5 years imprisonment.
  1. 16.Section 22(3) prohibits the inflation of cost of goods or services beyond the market rate or professional standards: Attracts 7 years imprisonment and a fine of N1 Million.
  1. 17.Section 22(4) prohibits the award of contract by a public officer without budgetary provision, approval and cash backing: Attracts a jail term of three years and a fine of N100, 000.
  1. 18.Section 22(5) prohibits transfer of money from one project or service to another without requisite approval: Punishable with one-year jail term or a fine of N 50,000. 
  1. 19.Section 23(3) criminalizes failure to report bribery transaction to the Police or ICPC officer: Attracts 2 years imprisonment or a fine of N100, 000 or both.
  1. 20.S.26 (2), S. 61 (3) provides for specially designated Judges of the High Court to try only corruption cases.
  1. 21.Section 27(1) Power of ICPC to receive any report in written or oral form. 

 

  1. 22.Section 27(3) empowers ICPC to investigate report or information ‘otherwise received’ by its officer. Information from other sources acceptable.
  1. 23.Section 28(1) Power of any officer of  ICPC conducting investigation to Order any person to appear before him for examination and to produce document etc.  (3months Imprisonment for failure).
  1. 24.Section 29 Power of  ICPC to issue Summon inviting any Suspect or any other person for the purpose of aiding investigation. It is an offence to refuse to sign a Summon under the Act.
  2. 25.Section 42(1) provides that: ‘Every offence under this Act shall be a bailable offence for the purpose of the Criminal Procedure Act or Code’, subject to reasonable surety with bond.
  1. 26.Section 46: Where the Chairman of the Commission is satisfied that any property which is the subject-matter of an offence of corruption is held outside Nigeria, he can make an application prohibiting the person in whose name it is held from dealing with it.
  1. 27.Section 47: The Chairman of the Commission is vested with the power to give notice or order for seizure of movable property including any monetary instrument or any accretion thereto subject to investigation under the Act.  Also power is granted to the court to order forfeiture of any property, which has been proved to be the subject matter of the offence or to have been used in the commission of the offence.
  1. 28.Section 52: whenever an allegation of corruption is made against the President, the Vice-President, the Governors and their deputies, though they enjoy constitutional immunity while still in office, the Commission can initiate the investigation of such political office holders and thereafter apply to the Chief Justice of the Federation to authorize an Independent Counsel to investigate the allegations of corrupt practices made against such officials.  Such an Independent Counsel will make a report of his findings to the National or State Legislatures as the case may be.  The Commission is expected to cooperate fully with the Independent counsel in the course of his investigation.
  1. 29.Section 53: Presumption of corrupt receipt of gratification
  2. 30.S.60: Evidence of Custom Inadmissible 
  1. 31.Section 64 (1)Protection of Informants: Information received from an informant by an officer of the Commission as well as the source of the information, its circumstances, the place it was received and the identity of the informant shall not be disclosed or ordered to be disclosed in public except to the trial judge and defence counsel in court.  
  1. 32.Section 64 (3) prescribes a jail term of 10 years plus a fine of N100, 000 for a person who comes forward to the Commission with false information.
  1. 33.Section 71 of the Act provides that persons convicted of an offence under the Act can exercise their right of appeal as entrenched in the Constitution.
  1. 34.Conclusion: ICPC is empowered by the Act to fight corruption but it cannot do the job alone.  Every citizen has a role to play and we invite you to join us in this worthy cause.