#Legal Sense

Official corruption

By Funmilayo Olagunju

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There is a distinct line between generosity and palm-greasing with corrupt intent. The law prohibits the “motivation”, “appreciation” or “palm-greasing” of a public officer by any person (human being or corporate entity).The act of giving “gift” to a public officer is capable of clouding sound judgement of the receiver and granting undue advantage to the giver.

CORRUPT PRACTICES AND OTHER RELATED OFFENCES ACT, 2003 in Section 2 defines Public Officer to mean a person employed or engaged in any of the public service of the Federation, State or Local Government, public corporations or private company wholly or jointly floated by any government or its agency including the subsidiary of any such company whether located within or outside Nigeria and includes judicial officers serving in Magistrate or Customary Courts or Tribunals.

Corruption includes bribery, fraud and other related offences.

It is an offence for a Public officer to invite, ask or receive gift or any form of gratification in connection with the performance or omission of his/her public duty. Such request is an official corruption punishable with Seven years imprisonment. See Section 98 of the Criminal Code Act. Receiving gratification by a public official is equally proscribed by section 12 of

CORRUPT PRACTICES AND OTHER RELATED OFFENCES ACT, 2003.

It is equally an offence for any person to offer, confer, make attempt or eventually give any benefit to a public officer. Making corrupt offers to a public officer is an offence punishable with Seven years imprisonment.

Section 13 of the CORRUPT PRACTICES AND OTHER RELATED OFFENCES ACT, 2003 provides:

(1)Any person who corruptly-

(a) gives, confers or procures any property or benefit of any kind to, on or for a public officer or to, on or for any other person, or

(b) promises or offers to give, confers, procure or attempt to procure any property or benefit of any kind to, on or for a public officer or any other person, on account of any such act, omission, favour or disfavour to be done or shown by the public officer, is guilty of an offence of official corruption and shall on conviction be liable to imprisonment for seven (7) years.

New Year “celebration” should be channeled to the less privileged and dependent. It is lawfully meant for public officers.

“Do not accept a bribe, for a bribe blinds those who see and twists the words of the innocent”

Exodus 23:8 (NIV).

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