Frequently Asked Questions

Why don’t we Just Elect a Good Man?
Other Anti-Corruption Laws are not Enforced, how will the Bribecode be any Different?
A ‘Death Penalty for Companies? Is that not too Draconian?
Won’t a Bribecode cause Capital Flight and all that?
Will a Bribecode and a liquidation penalty for Companies not cause Job Losses?
Will our Lawmakers ever pass this Bribecode into Law? Isn’t this a Waste of Time?
Won’t Companies be Victimised and ‘Set up’ by their Enemies?
Why a ‘death penalty’ for companies only? What about the corrupt public officers who demand and receives bribes?
Bad Governance is also due to Inefficiency, Impunity and Incompetence…
You’ve Convinced me! What can I do now to help?

Why don’t we Just Elect a Good Man?

There is nothing that a good president achieves in 4 years that a bad successor cannot destroy, 4 weeks after taking over. It takes a long time to save a billion dollars, a very short time to blow it. Good leaders are important, but good systems are the critical issue in Nigeria. The Bribecode is about making a systemic change that will help good leaders perform excellently, while keeping potentially bad leaders from doing much damage.

Other Anti-Corruption Laws are not Enforced, how will the Bribecode be any Different?

The difference between the Bribecode and the other anti-corruption laws in Nigeria lies in the design of the law. The appointment of a corrupt inspector general or Director General at the E.F.C.C. or I.C.P.C.¬† shuts down the effective operation of the police force or agency for the duration of the corrupt officer’s tour of duty. The Bribecode is a system, as opposed to an agency. It is not an attack dog for the ‘enemies’ of a party in control. Even a president cannot protect a corrupt company, because any of 37 attorneys general from the federal and state governments can independently bring an action to liquidate a company guilty of serious corruption.

Besides, companies are Economic Intelligence. Fines are a business expense and no matter how high a financial penalty, the profits in the Nigerian business place makes the ‘risk’ worth taking. Liquidation is another matter. Even if you get away with corruption 99 times, the 1% risk of liquidation forces financially prudent companies to clean up their act. This means that the law is SELF-ENFORCING. It does not depend on a corrupt government to enforce it by bringing lawsuit. Even if a corrupt government is in power, companies have to think about the liquidation actions that will come after the government leaves office. The self-regulation of the private sector will impact on the public sector, making it better able to supervise the private sector effectively.

A ‘Death Penalty’ for Companies… is that not too Draconian?

In very corrupt societies, fines don’t discourage corruption. Prosecutors, policemen, judges and politicians can be easily bribed and even a hundred ‘open-and-shut’ charges can be dismissed with the stroke of a pen. Even when a company is convicted, a ridiculous fine can be imposed, and it can often be passed on to the customer in higher prices. That means that the citizen is cheated twice over.

Currently, under Nigerian law, humans can be executed for serious offences like murder and armed robbery. The punishment by fines of companies whose actions cause the death of thousands of people is an anomaly that is addressed by the Bribecode. Grand Corruption causes death every day. Corruption in the Ministry of Health for instance contributed to a 2013 maternal mortality rate of 560 deaths per 100,000, compared with, say 170 per 100,000 in Botswana. Corruption in the Ministry of Works keeps our roads bad and contributes to the 162 road deaths per 100,000, which is the second highest death rate in all 193 countries of the world.

There is therefore nothing immoral or illogical with a liquidation penalty for serious corruption for companies, if it will save lives and truly transform Nigeria.
Won’t a Bribecode cause Capital Flight and all that?
Hopefully, many companies will just pack up and leave Nigeria once the Bribecode comes into force, including

  • companies selling obsolete software and technology, or totally incompetent services, which could never get a contract unless they were offering the biggest kickbacks to decision makers.
  • companies which are really not in business. Their ‘business’ being to take advance payments, share the loot with public officers and move on. They are responsible for many of the up to 20,000 abandoned contracts recently identified by a minister.

However, companies which do not have corruption in their ‘DNA’ will prepare for a period of public sector transparency and efficiency. Right now, companies that refuse to pay kickbacks are facing extinction in the Nigerian public sector. The Bribecode changes that the other way around. In the medium term, ethical corporates who have shunned the Nigerian marketplace will find the environment more attractive for investment.

Will a Bribecode and a liquidation penalty for Companies not cause Job Losses?
On the contrary, the fact that a greater proportion of abandoned projects (20,000 at Federal Government level alone) are completed will already result in greater employment and better infrastructural support for self-employed entrepreneurs who are the backbone of any economy.

Besides, the Bribecode does not prescribe the liquidation of public companies; only directors and top managers responsible for policy direction in convicted public companies will lose their jobs under the proposed law. As for viable private companies, the liquidator will – as a rule – sell the companies as going-concerns to secure better value for the treasury and preserve both jobs and stakeholder value.

Overall, the Bribecode should put many unethical companies out of business, but the net effect of an ethical political economy where things work the way they ought will translate into better growth, development, and sustainable job creation.

Will our Lawmakers ever pass this Bribecode into Law? Isn’t this a Waste of Time?
Lawmakers who join the 9th National Assembly with the intention of taking kickbacks such as the Farouk Lawan US$3 million payday from Femi Otedola’s Zenon Petroleum & Gas Ltd will certainly not be keen on passing¬† the Bribecode into law, because it puts them out of business.

But it is not up to them. It is up to YOU. As a voter, S.69 of Nigeria’s constitution gives you the power to remove your representatives when they cease to represent your interests. When you SIGN UP to support the Bribecode, you can also give us the right to start Recall Proceedings on Representatives who oppose the Bill.

With your support, the 9th National Assembly will pass the Bribecode into Law.

Won’t Companies be ‘Set up’ and Victimised by Enemies?

The Bribecode is actually pro-corporation. Recognising the critical role played by companies in national development, the law frees them from the extortion of the bad eggs in the public sector. The Bribecode also has the following safeguards to protect companies from internal and external victimisation:

  • Only serious offences are punishable by liquidation or expropriation under the Bribecode. Corruption involving less than a million naira is punishable under existing laws.
  • The Bribecode has no retroactive force and nothing done prior to its enactment will result in the liquidation of any company.
  • Enough lead time – 12-18 months after enactment – will give corporates the opportunity to re-engineer their operations, retrain and re-orient staff, and change their corporate cultures to be Bribecode-compliant.
  • A ‘whistleblower’ who brings maliciously false information either to damage a company or to profit from its liquidation is guilty of an offence under the Bribecode.

Why a ‘death penalty’ for companies only? What about the corrupt public officers who demand and receives bribes?

They don’t go scot-free. The rest of Nigerian law as it stands quite adequately punishes corrupt public officers. The only problem is with proper enforcement, which will come with the Bribecode, because Corporates will be prosecuted side-by-side with their public service co-conspirators. Also, the Bribecode punishes people who act as middlemen between companies and public officers with Total Asset Forfeiture. But by focusing on corporates, what the Bribecode does is to approach Public/Private sector Grand Corruption from the Supply Side and create a self-regulatory environment that is hostile to corruption. This cleans up corruption by

  • strengthening corporations against corrupt public officers,
  • reducing corruption opportunities and temptations for public officers, and
  • reducing the number of abandoned contracts (public officers will approve projects in the public rather than personal interest, and they can better supervise and hold companies accountable for their projects where no kickbacks were taken).

Bad Governance is also due to Inefficiency, Impunity and Incompetence…

…But the root of incompetence and impunity is always corruption. The chief tragedy of corruption is that it bankrupts the state’s treasury AS WELL AS its human resources. Public agencies, telecoms providers, private universities, electricity generators, garbage collectors and other agencies will deteriorate in the standard of services offered to the public if their supervising regulators are immobilised, or motivated, by corruption. The Bribecode is a ‘silver bullet’ to address these problems.

You’ve Convinced me! What can I do now to help?

  • Support the Bribecode by signing up HERE. If you hold a voters card, be sure to tick Yes and enter your Local Government Area.
  • Make sure all your friends and acquaintances sign up too.
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Laudable…Our country is populated by an overwhelming bunch of illiterate adults. in fact some are even well educated. As long as tribalism prevails, I am afraid that this effort is wasted. Not even when the whistle blowers scheme is still in abeyance. Well done.


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[…] such signings. These will be eliminated by the Bribecode, which will punish serious corruption with corporate liquidations and total assets forfeiture for individuals. In post after post after post, in speech after speech, I have campaigned for the […]