The Nigeria judicial sector topped the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) corruption index released on Wednesday.
In a report titled: “Nigeria’s ICPC Corruption Index: Report of a pilot survey,” carried out by the Anti-Corruption Academy of Nigeria, the research and training arm of the ICPC, the anti-graft agency said a total sum of N9,457,650,000 was corruptly demanded, offered and paid as bribe in Nigeria’s judicial sector between 2018 and 2020.
ICPC said bribe for judgment is one of the most egregious forms of grand corruption as it operates to undermine the very essence of judicial dispute resolution.
According to the report, lawyers were most responsible for offering bribes for favourable judgment with 27.17 percent followed by litigants with 21.96 percent.
Court staff (clerks, registrars etc) account for 21.54 percent; judges 16.88 percent, and government’s Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) 7.37 percent.
ICPC said: “A large percentage, 73 percent of justice sector respondents did not experience a situation of outright demand or offer of bribe. Nevertheless, it remains alarming that 16 per cent of respondents had experienced such blatant demands or offers of bribes.
“Follow up discussions indicated that the cases of outright demand and offer of bribes are mostly linked to election matters.
“In the ICPC corruption index survey, it was also discovered that money involved in the high-level corruption in this sector was categorized into money demanded, offered or paid. Demands are made by court officials including judges, while bribery offers and payments are made by lawyers or litigants
“The corruption index survey further revealed that a total amount of money reported by the Justice sector respondents as corruptly demanded, offered and paid between 2018 and 2020 was N9,457, 650,000.00 (N9.457 billion).
“In the corruption index survey, 78 respondents constituting 8.7 percent of all justice sector respondents reported offers or payments of bribes to influence the judicial process.
“Out of the 78 justice sector respondents that reported amounts of money offered or paid, 63 were lawyers. This number makes up 9.9 percent of all lawyers surveyed in the justice sector. The 63 lawyers that reported payments were mostly male being 69.8 percent, while their female colleagues constituted 30.2 percent of that population.
“In all, the total amount of money reported by lawyers was N5,733,986,000.00. The amount reported by female lawyers was N918,045,000 while male lawyers reported N4,815,941,000(N4.8billion).
“These amounts made up 9.71 percent and 50.92 percent respectively of the total amount reported by justice sector respondents. Lawyers reported 60.63 percent of the bribes offered and paid by justice sector respondents.
“The amount of money offered to judges was next in volume to payments made by lawyers. In all, N3,699,664,000 (N3.699billion) was reported by 11, that is 8.9 percent of the 123 judges surveyed. Six (54.5 percent) out of the judges that reported the offers were female, while five (45.5 percent) were male.
“Although the females were just slightly more in number than the males, the females reported a substantially higher amount of money.
“The total reported by the six female judges was N3,307,444,000 while the five male judges reported N392,220,000.00. These amounts made up 34.97 percent and 4.15 percent respectively of the total amount reported by justice sector respondents. Judges reported 39.12 percent of the bribes offered and paid by justice sector respondents.
“The court staff reported the lowest amount of money offered as bribe to influence the outcome of a judicial process. The total amount of money reported by court staff was N24,000,000.”
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