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Nigerian Lawyers Gave N9.4bn As Bribes To Judges In 2 Years – ICPC

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A survey by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences (ICPC) has put the judicial sector of Nigeria as the second most corrupt sector in Nigeria after the private sector.

The anti-graft agency in its report, disclosed that a figure of about N9.4 billion exchanged hands as bribes in the judicial sector between 2018 and 2020.

The ICPC blamed the high level of corruption reported in the judicial sector on the “stupendously high amounts of money offered as bribes to judges by lawyers handling high electoral and political cases.”

The figure was arrived at based on data collection on corrupt practices derived from monetary and non-monetary offers from officials of the Ministries, Department, and Agencies who took part in the survey.

The 84-page survey report titled ‘Nigeria Corruption Index: Report of a pilot survey 2020,’ explained that the methodology was experience-based rather than perception-related questions of corruption, as measured from a scale of 0 to 100, with 0 representing “Absolutely not corrupt” and 100 indicating “Absolutely Corrupt.”

It explained further that a total of 901 respondents from the justice sector participated in the survey broken down as 638 persons (70.81 percent) who were lawyers, 124 Judges (13.76 percent), and 25 respondents at 2.77 per cent were court staff (clerks and registers).

It read in part, “The money involved in the high-level corruption in this sector was categorised into money demanded, offered or paid. Demands are made by court officials including judges, while bribery offers and payment are made by lawyers and litigants.

“The total amount of money reported by the justice sector respondents as corruptly demanded, offered and paid between 2018 and 2020 was N9.457b.”

The report submitted that the level of corruption in the nation’s judicial sector and the private sector contributed in no small measure to the national corruption level as 55.2 percent of private businesses experienced diversion of public contract funds to personal use, adding 8 percent of businesses reported paying government levies into private accounts.

Also, in the public sector, the executive with a score of 33 had a higher level of corruption than the legislative sector which had a score of 27 according to the report.

Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari and state governors have been asked to disclose the security votes for their states in 2021.

Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) made this known in a statement issued on Sunday by its Deputy Director, Kolawole Oluwadare.

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