Nigeria's Economic and Financial Crimes Commission

A political tool or effective anti-corruption body?

Summary:

The Nigerian Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has been at the forefront of activist anti-corruption agencies in Africa. It has been instrumental in charging and prosecuting senior political leaders and businessmen with political links as well as recovering and repatriating significant stolen resources that belonged to the Nigerian state. It has also established itself as an agency with high levels of forensic capacity to lead investigations. Despite these successes, the commission is often seen as an arm of the incumbent government without an independent mandate. 

The corruption issue:

Senior level officials of the EFCC, especially the chairman, are not immune from political pressures and prosecution rates have been falling as a result. These political links have become an obstacle to the credible and efficient functioning of the EFCC.
In a situation where damaging rent capture is endemic, the EFCC has a major role in overcoming this. It has seen significant success, which must be built upon. We will analyse the political processes that can influence the workings of the EFCC and identify the most feasible ways of insulating it for policy consideration. The EFCC’s significant stature improves its chance to lead credible reforms.

Theory of change:

  • IF offences clearly defined in the law with burden of proof shifting from prosecutor to accused to make proof easier, with clearly defined time limits embedded in the laws to reduce delays, with specialist trained judges via tribunals or specialist courts who can dedicate time and have a clear understanding of the issues and
  • IF this is complemented alongside forensic capacity building on the part of donors,
  • THEN incidences of delays in hearing cases could come down
  • BECAUSE the more politically connected cases would not immediately be affected while capacity is being built in the background 

Research methods:

A combination of jurisprudence and political economy analysis with focus groups with lawyers.

Partners: Emilia Onyema (SOAS), Idayat Hassan (CDD)

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