#BribeandDie; Is the Liquidation Penalty too Radical For Nigeria?


Some argue that a law that liquidates companies for serious corruption is too radical for the Nigerian environment. If that is the case, then Nigeria is already a radical country, because the liquidation of companies for serious crime is already law in Nigeria.  S.19. of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011, for instance, provides that:

(2) Where a body corporate is convicted of an offence under this Act, the court may order that the body corporate shall thereupon and without any further assurances, but for such order, be wound up and all its assets and properties forfeited to the Federal Government

(emphasis ours)

This provision was used by Justice Liman of the Federal High Court recently to liquidate PML Nigeria Ltd for colluding to hide the corrupt origin of funds, contrary to s. 14 of the Act.

So the Bribecode does not introduce the Death Penalty for companies for the first time. What is does is to organize corporate corruption law into a SYSTEM which transforms Nigeria by introducing elements of ‘Privatisation of Information Gathering’ (everyone, including investigation agencies and journalists who file information leading to the conviction and liquidation of companies can earn up to 1% of the convicted company’s assets), Competition (any of Nigeria’s 37 attorneys general can bring action against a corrupt company to increase his/her government’s Internally Generated Revenues, so no one political functionary or party can protect any corrupt company), and Self-Regulation (the certainty of discovery and liquidation shifts the burden of compliance to the corporates themselves so that ethical behavior becomes the norm rather than the exception.)

Without these pillars of Information, competition and self-regulation, every law, including the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, is still ineffective against corruption, because it depending too much on the weak and often corrupt institutions to enforce the laws, which  guarantees that only scape goats and companies without godfathers get prosecuted.

Most of all, the Bribecode introduces certainty into the law. If a company is corrupt, it will be wound up (note PLC exception). There are no fine options. In the Justice Liman’s case for instance, under the Money Laundering Act, Michael Igbinedion got a fine of N3million for siphoning N25 billion while his co-conspirator, Egboigbodin got 2 years in jail. With the Bribecode there is no judicial discretion to look forward to, or to scheme to manipulate.

The Bribecode guarantees that the only protection from liquidation is for corporates to self-regulate and STOP corruption. That immediately impacts on the public sector, and the rest of society.

To add your name to a letter to the 8th National Assembly to enact the Corporate Corruption Act (the Bribecode), please visit www.bribecode.org/signup and… signup!

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How can poor people fight corruption? Contemporary ‘good governance’ policies of development agencies stress the relationship between an open official information regime – particularly transparency in official development expenditure accounts – and government accountability. However, many governments are very secretive and to obtain information demands resources that socially marginalised groups often simply do not have: organisational strength to stand up to local elites, access to official information, technical skills to analyse accounts, and legal resources to prosecute violations. This was the Overview of an Indian research project on the Corruption theme. It seems there are a lot we can learn… Read more »


Here is another interesting link