PERSPECTIVE ON FRAUD, OBSTRUCTION OF JUSTICE

in wafrica •  last year 

I would like to begin by stating the nature of corruption in our present day Nigeria, how it encompasses bribery, election rigging, fraud, cheating in the market places or schools, deceiving a lover, business deals, medical quackery, unfair business competition, squandering of clients money and so on. Corruption has so eaten deep into the core of the country that even a minister of the gospel deceives his members just to get money from them.

Factors affecting Corruption

It was found out that poverty and greed are the two major factors that have enhanced the spread of this menace called corruption. If observed carefully, corruption is mostly seen in developing countries where poverty still has its roots and greed is still evident. Because of the endless and malevolent greed of the citizens, they want to have more at all cost.

Definition of Fraud

In recent times, scholars have faced a difficult task in defining what fraud really is, and also trying to differentiate it from theft and other vices but some people came up with notable definitions. Gilbert (1997) defined fraud “as an act using deceit such as intentional distortion of the truth or misrepresentation, concealment of a material fact to gain an unfair advantage over another in order to secure something of value or deprive another of a right”. Merriam Webster Dictionary (2003) described fraud “as a deceit, trickery, specifically; intentionally perversion of truth in order to induce another to part with something of value or to surrender a legal right. Smith (2001) said “fraud in its legal terms is a generic category of criminal conduct that involves the use of dishonest or deceitful means in order to obtain some unjust advantage or gain over another.”

Elements of Fraud

For a claim of fraud to succeed, there are some elements that must be proven. There must be a material that the fraudster presented to the victim, and that the material was false, the fraudster was fully aware that the presentation had no iota of truth, the victim acted based on the presentation and finally the victim suffered loss.

Types of Fraud

• Theft
• False Accounting
• Advance Fee Fraud (419)
• Computer Fraud
• Foreign Exchange
• Loan Fraud
• Cheque Fraud
• Money Laundering Fraud
• Identity Fraud.

Causes of Fraud

Some factors are responsible for the eminence of fraud in Nigeria. And they are:
• Nature of Nigeria’s political economy
• Weak institutions of government
• Dysfunctional legal system.
Fraud has become a industry of its own here in Nigeria, to the extent that it has its stakeholders, investors, with internal coordination. It also grows practitioners at all levels ranging from the children, youth, and the working class to all micro and macro levels. There is adequate supply that makes sure the cycle repeats itself over and over again.

Effects of fraud on Nigeria’s economy

Nigeria is buried in fraud and corrupt practices, and those have caused instability in the economy resulting to high mortality rate of business organizations. Corruption has crippled the legs of Nigeria’s economy that by the time it tries to stand and walk, corruption comes in to cripple it again, so this cycle continues over decades. It has also nullified the character of an average Nigerian, to the extent that an average Nigerian can’t be trusted, he/she is a liar, a cheat or a thief and that has transcended in to the economy of the country. Even the creation of EFCC (Economic and Financial Crimes Commission) hasn’t still kicked it to the curb, he leaders of this body have always been individuals of questionable characters, that can’t fight corruption without themselves been investigated.

Obstruction of Justice

Obstruction of justice is any act that is intended to interfere with the administration of justice. It is also any attempt to hinder the pronouncement of justice. To understand this concept, it was related with some key players in the administration of justice system.

  1. Police and obstruction of Justice: - The police force is given the duty of prosecuting of trespassers of the law. But the Nigerian police is now known as the enemy of the public. The slogan of the ‘police is your friend’ is all but a lie because the police has turned their station to a revenue point. Instead of them upholding justice, they in one way or the other tarnishing it.
  2. Lawyers and Obstruction of Justice: - Lawyers are also ministers in the temple of justice and are expected to uphold the tenet of justice. But that is not the case today even if there are still upright lawyers. Some lawyers are known to obstruct justice with their frivolous acts such as delaying determination of cases. They approach judges to induce them to make judgment be in their favour some might even go as far to bribe the judges.
  3. Judges and Obstruction of Justice: - Judges who are keen for upholding the law in the court room are now actual perpetrators of evil in the court room. Most judges are more interested in extra-judicial activities than what they are called for. If the court room that a common man runs to for justice is corrupted where shall he now go?

Reference

Gilbert (1997), Law Dictionary, Harcourt Brace Legal and Professional Publications.

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