Fast-tracking the effective Implementation of the United Nations Convention against Corruption in support of the Sustainable Development Goals

Abuja 4 December 2019 - On 4 and 5 December 2019, the Federal Government of Nigeria in partnership with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime gathered national stakeholders and international anti-corruption experts in Abuja to launch the second report on Nigeria's implementation of the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC).

Nigeria signed the Convention on 9 December 2003 and ratified it on 24 October 2004. Following its first review in 2014, when Nigeria was assessed by Lesotho and Montenegro for the implementation of Chapter III (Criminalization and law enforcement) and of Chapter IV (International cooperation), the second cycle review which was conducted by Cote d'Ivoire and Myanmar and completed in late 2019 focused on Nigeria's compliance with the provisions of Chapters II on Prevention and Chapter V on Asset Recovery.

UNCAC has been ratified by 186 countries, including Nigeria. As such, it is widely accepted as the global framework guiding the fight against corruption. Nigeria's report, which is accessible through UNODC's website, identified several successes and good practices, including the establishment of anti-corruption units across Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies, the provision made for civil society consultations in the adoption of the national budget, as well as the adoption of the Freedom of Information Act. The report also specifically recognized Nigeria's leadership in pursuing asset recovery cases and its readiness in sharing its wealth of experience with other countries facing similar challenges.

At the same time the report identifies a number of areas in which further improvements are required with a view to effectively and fully implementing the provisions of UNCAC, such as achieving the complementarity of functions of various anti-corruption bodies, providing specific training for civil servants considered vulnerable to corruption, as well as members of the judiciary; a further clarification of conflicts of interest beyond the area of public procurement and the establishment of a beneficial ownership register. The report also noted a number of bills pending in the National Assembly, including the Whistleblower Protection Bill, the Public Interest Disclosure Bill, the Witness Protection Bill and the Proceeds of Crime Bill.

Mr. Edward Kallon, the United Nations Resident Coordinator in Nigeria, remarked: In 2015, when Member States adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, they recognized that one of the weaknesses of the Millennium Development Goals had been the omission of corruption prevention among its targets. Recognizing this omission, Sustainable Development Goal 16 on Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions establishes several targets dedicated to the eradication of corruption and the building of strong, transparent and accountable institutions."

Mr. John Brandolino, Director of the Division of Treaty Affairs of UNODC stated that "States must not only continue their efforts to address any gaps identified, but they also must remain vigilant as to potential gaps that may be discovered, as corrupt practices sometimes find

creative ways of circumventing existing measures. UNODC will continue to support States in all substantive areas of the Convention, including the review and revision of legislative and policy frameworks; the development of new bodies; the establishment of effective research, data-gathering and analysis mechanisms, and the facilitation of international cooperation."

The first and second cycle UNCAC implementation review reports of Nigeria

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