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Whistleblowing and self-reporting

Whistleblowing

Are whistleblowers protected in your jurisdiction?

Whistleblowers are largely protected. A whistleblower protection bill is currently before the House of Representatives. Other notable protection mechanisms can be found in the Federal Ministry of Finance policy on whistleblowing and the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria’s Code of Conduct, which contains whistleblowing policies.

Self-reporting

Is it common for leniency to be shown to organisations that self-report and/or cooperate with authorities? If so, what process must be followed?

Leniency is shown for cooperating with the enforcement authority. The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (Establishment) Act makes provisions for plea bargaining, albeit indirectly.

Dispute resolution and risk management

Pre-court settlements

Is it possible for anti-corruption cases to be settled before trial by means of plea bargaining or settlement agreements?

Yes. A formal framework for this was provided by the Administration of Criminal Justice Act in 2015 and in the Lagos State Administration of Criminal Justice Law in 2007, re-enacted in 2015.

Defences

Are any types of payment procedure exempt from liability under the corruption regulations in your jurisdiction?

No such exemption exists. The law provides generally for liability if a person is involved in an act which constitutes bribery and corruption.

What other defences are available and who can qualify?

There is generally no defence available for those found culpable; however, where proceeds from bribery and corruption have been returned, the courts have the discretion to reduce sentences.

Risk management

What compliance procedures and policies can a company put in place to assist in the creation of safe harbours?

Companies can put policies in place which require persons to report to the enforcement agency whenever undue gratification is demanded from them. Companies can also put procedures in place to:

  • identify customers’ identities and businesses;
  • monitor transactions;
  • perform customer due diligence;
  • conduct background checks on employees; and
  • operate a continuous monitoring system.

This is particularly important if such companies are listed in the Money Laundering Prohibition Act 2012 as covered institutions (ie, companies mandated to carry out due diligence and maintain proper records).

Further, under the Financial Reporting Council’s Code of Conduct for Companies, setting up internal structures to aid anti-graft activities is mandatory.

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