An estimated N9.4 billion bribes exchanged hands in the judicial sector between 2018 and 2020, a survey by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences (ICPC) revealed on Sunday.
According to an 84-page survey entitled, ‘”Nigeria Corruption Index: Report of a pilot survey 2020,” the level of corruption in the sector was too enormous as bribes offered judges by lawyers handling high electoral and political cases.
The report further disclosed that the private sector ranked next to the judicial in corruption levels which contributed greatly to the national level of corruption.
It explained that the methodology was experience-based rather than perception-related questions of corruption, as measured from a scale of 0 to 100, with 0 representing “Absolutely not corrupt” and 100 indicating “Absolutely Corrupt.”
The index also featured data collection on corrupt practices based on monetary and non-monetary offers from officials of the Ministries, Department and Agencies (MDAs) who took part in the survey.
Of the 901 respondents in the justice sector, 638 making 70.81 per cent were lawyers. Judges were 124 judges or 13.76 per cent, and 25 respondents at 2.77 per cent were court staff (clerks and registers).
It further revealed that 9.9 per cent of lawyers admitted paying N5.7b bribes in connection to mostly electoral cases they were handling.
The survey added that about 78 of the 901 justice sector respondents reported experiencing offers or payment of bribes to influence the judicial process.
“The money involved in the high-level corruption in this sector was categorised into money demanded, offered or paid. Demands are made by court officials including judges, while bribery offers and payment are made by lawyers and litigants.” It stressed.
The report also found that 55.2 per cent of private businesses experienced diversion of public contract funds to personal use, adding that eighty percent of businesses reported paying government dues into private accounts.