News24

Graft: Nigerian watchdog jails 2

2012-10-05 15:02

Lagos - Two officers at the body which investigates corruption in Nigeria have themselves been jailed for five years for demanding a $640 bribe from a local government official, the watchdog said on Friday.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) said the two had been found guilty of "conspiracy and obtaining money under false pretence" for demanding the bribe from the chairperson of Bama local council in northeast Nigeria to terminate a case against him in 2010.

It added that they were not investigators, so did not even have the authority to do that.

"They were alleged to have asked Mr Kachalla to send them the money in order to bribe other investigators of the Commission to destroy a petition written to the EFCC, which indicted him for alleged mismanagement of public funds," the EFCC said on its website.

Since its inception in 2003 under former president Olusegun Obasanjo, the EFCC has convicted dozens of people for crimes ranging from smuggling to embezzlement, recovering millions of dollars in one of the world's most corrupt countries.

Yet critics say it has only successfully convicted relatively 'little' people, leaving the wealthy and powerful elites gorging on grand corruption largely untouched.

The watchdog is conducting an investigation into a multi-billion-dollar fraud in the administration of fuel subsidies, for which around nine fuel marketers have been named as suspects, with dozens more being investigated.

Decades of military rule and large incomes from oil reserves have bred a culture of corruption that has enriched Nigeria's political elite but left the majority of its 168 million people in poverty.