An Analysis of Grand Corruption and Anti-Corruption Institutions in Nigeria and Kenya; 1960-2015
Adelabu, Nenpomingyi Sarah Gowon
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Unlike in the past when it was perceived as a political issue, corruption is now considered as a global threat and a major obstacle to development. While corruption is a global problem, it is one of the greatest challenges that Africa is grappling with. With ratings as the most corrupt country in 1996, 1997, and 2000, Nigeria has been infamously popular for corruption. Although Kenya has not been rated as the most corrupt country like Nigeria, it has equally performed dismissably on global corruption perception surveys. Owing to international and local demands for national governments to take punitive actions in fighting corruption, the two countries like their African counterparts have established arrays of national anti-corruption institutions as antidotes to tackling the problem of corruption. In spite of the foregoing, new corruption scandals are continually reported. The study seeks to interrogate the role of anti-corruption institutions Nigeria and Kenya in fighting grand corruption with particular focus on the EFCC of Nigeria and Kenya’s EACC. The parliament in Nigeria and Kenya passed the anti-graft laws in 2003 thereby justifying the basis for the comparison. Apart from being both multi ethnic ex-colonies of Britain that gained independence during the 1960's, Nigeria and Kenya also occupy strategic socio-economic positions in their respective regions. The utility of this study is to unravel how the institutional frameworks in both countries have curbed grand corruption and identify lessons that could be learnt from their experiences. The study examines the manifestations of grand corruption in Nigeria and Kenya and political forces that abate the perpetuation of corrupt practices in both countries. It interrogates the measures that have been put in place by EFCC and EACC to tackle grand corruption and the challenges encountered by the institutions. The Study was guided by the Neopatrimonialism Theory and the Structural Functionalist Theory. Both primary and secondary data were used in the survey with a qualitative approach. An analytical research design was applied in the study. Purposive and snowballing sampling techniques were used in selecting the research participants. The findings indicate that Nigeria and Kenya manifest similar forms of corruption by government officials using similar rent-seeking and money-laundering practices. While the range of opportunities for corruption is broader in Nigeria than in Kenya because Nigeria’s main economic asset petroleum is state-owned, the processes of converting public to private assets are largely the same. The findings also maintain that donor pressure and the need for international funding was central to the establishment of anti-corruption institutions in post-colonial Kenya and Nigeria’s present democratic dispensation. The public awareness and education initiatives of the institutions have the most significant impact as a large segment of the society is now aware of the bane of corruption. It concludes that the EFCC has been able to achieve more in prosecution because of its prosecutorial power, broader mandate and political support in its early years of establishment. This led to an improvement in Nigeria’s profile in the corruption perception index. However, prosecution of senior public officials is minimal. Both commissions are faced with challenges that include poor funding, weak legal framework, lack of independence and low political will in fighting corruption. The study thus recommends the development of strong and independent institutions such as the judiciary, and courts, a vibrant civil society, political commitment and ethical change in attitude towards corruption.