The Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Prince Lateef Fagbemi, SAN, has emphasised that the fight against corruption should extend beyond the Federal Government and include the States.
During a Hybrid Sensitization Workshop on Revised Guidelines for Contract and Agreement Negotiation to Prevent Corruption and Illicit Financial Flows, organised by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), he underlined the need for states to be involved in anti-corruption efforts.
Fagbemi pointed out that corruption isn’t limited to the federal level, as contracts are also awarded at the state level. He encouraged finding ways to engage states in the fight against corruption, highlighting the importance of the revised guidelines initiated by the ICPC. He noted that some corrupt practices occur at the state level, but international laws often don’t recognise them, and suggested a means of involving states to appreciate the need for anti-corruption efforts.
The Justice Minister expressed the Federal Government’s support for initiatives aimed at transparency, efficiency, and corruption prevention by the ICPC and other government agencies. He stressed the importance of deterring corruption in government contracts through the revised guidelines.
Prof. Bolaji Owasanoye, SAN, Chairman of ICPC, highlighted issues like the lack of provisions for periodic review of long-term contracts, licenses, and waivers that contribute to capital flight and Illicit Financial Flows. He noted that contract laws and arbitration locations have often disadvantaged the nation, underscoring the necessity of the guidelines.
Mr. Taiwo Oyedele, Chairman of the Presidential Committee on Fiscal Policy and Tax Reforms, offered solutions to address issues encouraging capital flight in commercial agreements. These included standardising approaches with templates, involving specialists, assessing tax impact, using clauses to safeguard national interests, and ensuring local content in project execution to limit capital flight, among others.