Estimated N9.4billion bribes exchanged hands in the judicial sector between 2018 and 2020, a survey by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences has shown.
According to the report, the level of corruption in the justice sector has been heightened by the “stupendously high amounts of money offered as bribes to judges by lawyers handling high electoral and political cases.”
The 84-page survey entitled, ‘Nigeria Corruption Index: Report of a pilot survey 2020,’ disclosed that the private sector ranked next to the judicial sector in corruption levels, noting that the graft in private business sector contributed greatly to the national level of corruption.
The report explained that the methodology was experience-based rather than perception-related questions of corruption, as measured from a scale of 0 to 100, with 0 representing “Absolutely not corrupt” and 100 indicating “Absolutely Corrupt.”
The index also featured data collection on corrupt practices based on monetary and non-monetary offers from officials of the Ministries, Department and Agencies who took part in the survey.
Of the 901 respondents in the justice sector, 638 making 70.81 per cent were lawyers. Judges were 124 judges or 13.76 per cent, and 25 respondents at 2.77 per cent were court staff (clerks and registers).
The report stated that 9.9 per cent of lawyers admitted paying N5.7b bribes in connection to mostly electoral cases they were handling.
The survey added that about 78 of the 901 justice sector respondents reported experiencing offers or payment of bribes to influence the judicial process.
It stated, “The money involved in the high-level corruption in this sector was categorised into money demanded, offered or paid. Demands are made by court officials including judges, while bribery offers and payment are made by lawyers and litigants.
“The total amount of money reported by the justice sector respondents as corruptly demanded, offered and paid between 2018 and 2020 was N9.457b.”
The report also found that 55.2 per cent of private businesses experienced diversion of public contract funds to personal use, adding 8 per cent of businesses reported paying government dues into private accounts.
It disclosed that the executive and legislative sectors had overall corruption scores of 42 and 41, respectively, noting that in monetary terms, the executive with a score of 33 had a higher level of corruption than the legislative sector which had a score of 27.
Women affairs minister, Tallen, tests positive for COVID-19
Minister of Women Affairs Dame Pauline Tallen has contracted COVID-19 and gone on self-isolation.
The Minister made this known in a statement signed by her, saying she is asymptomatic.
The statement read, “Following interaction with individuals that later show asymptomatic sign of COVID-19, I was advised by my medical team to undergo the test and self isolate for observation over the past few days.
“This is to inform the general public that after undergoing a test carried out on myself and members of my family, my result returned positive while that of members of my family tested negative.
“Currently, I am asymptomatic and have gone into isolation during the period of treatment. Please keep me in your prayers and I implore you all stay safe and observe all COVID-19 protocols as we grapple with this pandemic.
“Please keep me in your prayers. I implore you all to stay safe and observe all COVID-19 protocols as we grapple with this pandemic. I urge you all to please take responsibility for yourself and your family in order to protect our dear country even more at this time.”
The Nigeria Centre For Disease Control reported 829 new infections of COVID-19 outbreak in the country on Saturday.
Data on the NCDC’s website showed that since the beginning of the outbreak in February, more than 925,215 samples have been tested in the country.
The NCDC said the new infections bring the total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the country to 83,576 which includes 70,495 discharged cases and 1,247 deaths.