IMPACT OF EFCC AND ICPC ON PUBLIC SERVICE ACCOUNTABILITY
The focus of this study was to bring to light the impact of EFCC and ICPC on public service accountability in Nigeria. EFCC and ICPC are two anti-graft agencies established in 2004 and 2000 respectively and charged with the responsibility of restoring accountability in Nigeria. Nigeria’s international accountability rating has been on the decrease and the extent to which these two agencies had delivered on their mandate had remained a subject of controversy. On this backdrop, this study sought (i) To determine the relationship between EFCC and ICPC and their role in achieving accountability, (ii) to determine the relationship between government funding and EFCC and ICPC activities. The study used questionnaire to gather data while chi-square statistic was used to test hypothesis. The study found that there is no significant relationship between EFCC and ICPC and their role in achieving accountability; there is a significant relationship between government funding and EFCC and ICPC activities. The study concluded that EFCC and ICPC need to do more to achieve their mandate. It was recommended that EFCC and ICPC should be given enabling environment in terms of autonomy, enabling laws and adequate funding in order to perform.
1.1 Background of the Study
In the global scene, countries and nations where good governance subsist, persons and institutions in such nations are known to exhibit high sense of accountability and transparency, there is also observation of rule of law, respect for human rights and a lot more. Among these features accountability stands out as the hall mark of good governance. Ezeibe and Iwuoha (2011:9) observed that accountability is the fundamental prerequisite for preventing the abuse of power and for ensuring that power is directed towards the achievement of efficiency, effectiveness, responsiveness and transparency in the business of government.
In every economy, both the public and the private sectors are saddled with the burden of accountability. Public service accountability is made more significant because of the enormity of responsibility which it (the public service) is charged with. Sokoya (2000:2) opines that economic development in the developing nations has been spear headed by the public services. To Suleimen (2009:3) the onus of implementing policy decision and delivering services which have value to the citizens lies squarely on the public sector.
Sometimes and in most cases (especially in the third world countries such as Nigeria), the issue of accountability remains an unsolved question. This brings to the fore the birth or creation of institutions such as the economic and financial crimes commission (EFCC) and the independent corrupt practices commission (ICPC) in Nigeria. It is evident that democratic governments and institutions are unable to solve all the social, economic and political problems facing them as explained in the self restraining theory of the political science discipline.
Nna and Jacob (2012:116) explain that the self restraining theory is home grown machinery which is directed on independent, non-elective specialized bodies of oversight. These bodies are autonomous institutions of accountability that are supposed to be free from the manipulations of powerful persons and the state.
In other words, these institutions can boldly oversee the activities of persons and other (institutions including those that created them) in the three tiers of government they are expected to present an unbiased and unquestionable report card free from any form of interference.
The Nigerian government in order to ensure that the system is operating at it bests apart from the regular institutions of the state; The judiciary, the legislature and the executive, created some agencies such as INEC, NAFDAC, EFCC and ICPC etc. to help maintain good governance and credible leadership.
It is on record that EFCC and ICPC have existed for more than five (5) years but there are claims and counter – claims as to what there two bodies have achieved. It is against this back drop that this study is set out to investigate how the creation of EFCC and ICPC has impacted on public service accountability in Nigeria. The findings of this study will proffer suggestions on the way forward.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
There is a general opinion that the public service has failed to achieve the purpose for which it was established, many have also have opined that the public service is an epitome of inefficiency, corruption and laziness, it also constitute a cog in the wheel of implementation of government policies. Esu and Inyang noted that the Nigerian nation has been beset with the problems of integrity, transparency and accountability thus the EFCC and ICPC were establish to drive Nigeria quest for transparency and accountability and well as overall good governance
Feature of good governance include, accountability, transparency (openness), maintenance of rule of law, non-violation of human rights etc. EFCC and ICPC are to fight social vices such as corruption especially bribery, gratification, misuse of official privileges, financial crimes such as advance fee fraud, money laundering etc. success in the fight against these vices will no doubt improve our rating in the global transparency index.
There are, however, conflicting opinions among the public and researchers as to what EFCC and ICPC have or have not achieved.
This study therefore intends to investigate the influence EFCC and ICPC have had on public service accountability; it will also investigate how the roles of the two bodies are perceived and finally proper suggestions on how their performance can be improved.
1.3 Objective of the Study
This study seeks to investigate the impact of EFCC and ICPC on public service accountability. It will pursue the following objectives.
1) To determine the public perception of the role of EFCC and ICPC in achieving public service accountability;
2) To highlight the impact of government funding on the activities of EFCC and ICPC;
3) To recommend strategies on how EFCC and ICPC can better achieve these set objectives.
1.4 Research Questions
The objectives stated above give rise to the following research questions which will guide data gathering.
1) How does the public perceive the role of EFCC and ICPC in achieving public service accountability?
2) What is the impact of government funding on the activities of EFCC and ICPC.
1.5 Research Hypothesis
In line with the objectives and research questions, the following research hypotheses are hereby formulated.
Ho: There is no significant relationship between EFCC and ICPC activities and public perception to their role in achieving accountability.
H1: There is no significant relationship between government funding and the activities of EFCC and ICPC.
1.6 Significance of the Study
This study is significant in the following ways:
1) The findings of this study will reveal the way the public perceive the role of the two bodies. This will enable government to evolve strategies to better strengthen or scrap them as the case maybe.
2) It will enable both the EFCC and ICPC to find ways to improve upon their performance.
3) It will enable government to revisit the laws establishing them to ensure that their functions are not duplicated.
1.7 Scope and Limitations of the Study
In terms of scope, the variable/element studied which is accountability is seen as an attribute of good governance. Other attribute such as integrity, openness, rule of law, respect for human rights etc were not studied. The organization for case study is ministry of finance Enugu State. The time period is 2012. For limitations, finance was the major factor. Sourcing for information from the internet, correcting and typing the work severally consumed reasonable fund. Sometimes, respondents were not willing to cooperate in answering questionnaire.
However, these constraints were overcome and the research was successfully concluded.
1.8 Definition of Terms
Human rights: These are fundamental rights available to every citizens as adopted by the United Nations. They include; right to life, right to freedom of worship, right to freedom of association etc.
Graft: Money obtained through illegal or unfair means in business, politics etc.
Gratification: Feeling of pleasure because ones desires are satisfied. Used in a negative sense especially in relation to corrupt practices.
Openness: Willingness to allow public to view or be part of activities and actions.
Transparency: A situation characterized by ability to disclose facts, allowing access to information, absence of unwarranted secrecy, readiness to face legal scrutiny etc.
Rule of Law: A situation whereby the law is seen as supreme. Government and persons alike accept and abide by what the law says.