Nigeria ranks third in bribe-taking among 55 nations
Fines on institutions exceed $11b since 2012
Nigeria is again in the web of corruption-related rankings among 55 nations studied by the global assurance, tax, transaction and advisory services company- EY, as haven for bribe-taking and emerging the third spot.
The development, which appears like a defiance to regulatory and enforcement efforts across the world, has cost the defaulting entities more than $11 billion in financial penalties since 2012.
Although the regions in which corruption risks were higher than the global average were Central and Eastern Europe (47 per cent), the Middle East (62 per cent) and Latin America (74 per cent), the perception for Nigeria must have been enormous for it to be ranked third among the 55 individual nations.
More worrisome is that about 38 per cent of Nigerian executives and their counterparts in 54 other countries still say that bribery and corrupt practices remain prevalent in business, despite the introduction of new corporate criminal liability laws.
The 15th EY Global Fraud Survey noted that the level of bribery and corruption in emerging markets is twice that of developed markets, with one out of five people under the age of 35 justifying cash payments to win or retain business.
EY Global Fraud Investigation and Dispute Services Leader, Andrew Gordon, said the lack of improvement in global levels of corruption over the last six years shows that unethical behavior in business remains a daunting challenge, despite intensified global enforcement.
“While corruption remains so prevalent, businesses remain vulnerable to significant financial and reputational harm. Management teams must identify and address the root causes of unethical conduct in their organisation.
“Compliance programmes need to keep pace with the impact of rapid technological advancements and the increasingly complex risk environment on business operations. More robust risk management should be considered a strategic means of improving business performance.
“The encouraging news is that with today’s advances in forensic data analytics, companies can leverage new technologies to increase the effectiveness and efficiency of their efforts as they seek to improve investigation and compliance outcomes.”
While Nigeria is followed by Kenya, South Africa is ranked sixth, as Brazil and Colombia took the first and second positions respectively.
EY Nigeria Forensic/ Fraud Investigation and Dispute Services Leader, Linus Osita Okeke, also noted that the high level of fraud and corruption occurring in businesses underscores the need for businesses to be more committed about their anti-fraud and anti-corruption initiatives.
An Abuja-based public affairs analyst, Jide Ojo, said the report is a reinforcement of earlier findings by Transparency International and the United States comments on corruption, impunity and human rights abuses in the country.
“The fight against corruption is far from being over. In fact the journey may not have adequately started. The government is only beating its own drum. The administrative criminal justice system is still teething. Suspects buy lawyers and frustrate the case. Tell me why corruption will not persist.
“The leadership itself has a challenge. It harbours those who are fingered in the name of party. Even law enforcement officers are indicted. There is poverty in the rank of civil service and many are still owed. The end to negative findings against the country is not in the foreseeable future,” he said.