Stealing is Not Corruption – ICPC Boss Finally Clarifies Terms

Chairman of one of the two anti-graft agencies in Nigeria has made a final clarification on the highly debated terms of stealing and corruption occupying the media space over years.

Mr. Ekpo Nta
The Independent Corrupt Practices Commissions (ICPC) Chairman, Mr. Ekpo Nta, has reiterated his view that “stealing is not corruption.”

Speaking to The Nation over the weekend in Lagos, Nta explained that his commission would fare better if there was a proper understanding of the word corruption.

According to him, the controversy emanating from the definition of corruption is as a result of a long entrenched misunderstanding of the vice.

“If you don’t know what you are fighting then you might be busy fighting other things and thinking you are addressing the problem,” he stated.

The ICPC chairman, who has been criticised in the media for saying “stealing is not corruption”, stated that from the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (ONCAC) and the ICPC Act, the first item that falls under corrupt practices is bribery in public and private offices.

He backed up his views with Articles 15 and 16 of UNCAC and sections 8, 9 and 10 of the ICPC Act. He listed what is considered as corruption under Article 19 of UNCAC and Section 19 of the ICPC Act as: illicit enrichment, trading in influence etc.

Explaining what he says constitutes corruption, the ICPC chairman said: “If I walk into your office and I say that I have been sent by the president that this contact you are about to award must be awarded to me and now drop his card or the president’s card on the table. This is also an offence under corrupt practice.”

Nta reiterated that the major function of the ICPC is to check abuse of office by public office holders and government officials. Stealing, he said, falls under the criminal code and should be reported to the police.

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