Anti-Corruption Agencies (ACAs) are often still considered by most stakeholders to be the ultimate response to corruption.
It is important that an ACA must inspire public confidence to be able to effectively reduce corruption.
In spite of the proliferation of ACAs there are common principles and standards that are globally recognized and accepted.
One of these principles is that of ethical conduct and governance of the ACA.
ACA ought to adopt codes of conduct that set high standards of ethical conduct for their employees and have a solid compliance regime.
Investigative units of ACAs must operate lawfully and follow due process. In fact the European Partners against Corruption point to the importance of preserving the confidentiality of investigations to protect the interest of all parties involved (whistleblowers, suspects, witnesses etc).
Accountability of ACAs is therefore critical to ensure their credibility and to build public trust.
It is against this set background that there is deep disquiet brewing at an anti-corruption agency in Nigeria.
It is alleged that its top gun has received payment of salaries and allowances in the two years prior to his delayed confirmation by the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
If true, it simply means the boss was paid and accepted salaries and allowances for periods for which he was not working in the agency.
An insider at the agency who spoke exclusively to this reporter on condition of anonymity said paper evidence abounds in the Agency’s accounts Department that the said agency head (names withheld) was paid the amount running into tens of millions of Naira.
The source, whose claim KR has not independently verified, noted that the big man was compromised by this singular action and has since displayed evidence of partiality in dealing with investigations at the agency. The source noted that the level of impartiality the Executive Chairman needed to uphold is greatly tarnished by this alleged act.
The alleged payments, if established, is tantamount to a serious infraction of the principles of an anti-corruption agency as well as the laws of Nigeria regulating salaries and emoluments of public servants