Stop bribing officials for licences, passports, Osinbajo warns

Osinbajo

Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo  has warned against  giving  bribes to  government officials to  obtain driving  licences, passports or to clear goods at the ports, the News Agency of Nigeriareports.

Osinbajo spoke on Tuesday in Abuja while declaring open the anti-corruption conference tagged ‘Collaborative Approach to Eradicating the Evils of Corruption in Nigeria’.

The event  was organised by the Office of the Vice-President and Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption.

Quoting PricewaterhouseCoopers, Osinbajo said Nigeria’s 2030 Gross Domestic Product  could be up to $534bn  higher if it reduced corruption.

According to him,  no  matter how much revenue a country makes  or how transformative its plans   are corruption  can  ruin everything.

He said the Muhammadu Buhari    administration was intensifying its efforts  to  tackle  high-profile  corruption cases  to move the country forward.

He said the enforcement of Treasury Single Account, the Presidential Initiative on  Continuous Audit and ensuring that most civil servants were on the IPPIS electronic  platform had  helped greatly in  checking   theft of public funds.

The VP  said the judiciary  had also  helped in the fight against corruption.

Osibanjo said, “The Supreme Court in a lead judgment of Akaahs JSC  recently held that forfeiture under Section 17 of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Related Offences Act is a civil process which neither requires the criminal conviction of the property owner nor his innocence.

“This opens the door for the  forfeiture of assets that the purported owner cannot explain, whether or not an allegation of corruption is made.

“We are now poised to deal with the wider problem of systemic corruption, especially where the average person interacts with government.”

The VP added, “There is no reason why any Nigerian should have to give  a bribe to law enforcement agents to  obtain driving  licences or passports, or to clear goods at our ports.

“All the relevant government agencies have shown a serious commitment to eradicating these forms of corruption. Our next level is to create the environment for a collaboration between our agencies, civil society and other stakeholders.’’

He  said  it was in recognition of the enormity of corruption  in the country that  Buhari set up  the PACAC in 2015.

Osinbajo said the PACAC deserved commendation for   its contribution to the fight against corruption and setting agenda for important conversations on the subject.

The  chairman of  the  PACAC, Prof Itse Sagay, said information and intelligence sharing among anti-corruption and security agencies was critical  to  the fight against corruption.

He said  the  security agencies were blamed for the   September  11, 2001  attacks in  the United States  and the recent attack in Sri Lanka  because they  failed to act on or share intelligence.

Sagay  added, “Against the above background, the PACAC developed a protocol on information and intelligence sharing for anti-corruption and law enforcement agencies and intelligence community.

“The recommendations of that roundtable were not only apt, but were imperative for the successful collaboration and information sharing among the anti-corruption and security agencies.”ited by the foundation to sensitise  the children to  the need to conserve and train birds rather than hunting them.