SPONSORS

SPONSORS

Corruption and Construction Projects in Nigeria: Manifestations and Solutions

FEATURED PAPER

By Abiola A. ADEYEMO and Benedict AMADE        

Department of Project Management Technology
Federal University of Technology

Owerri, Nigeria


ABSTRACT

This work examined corruptible tendencies in the Nigerian construction industry by identifying the common corruptible tendencies, how they manifest, the different phases they occur and also proffering remedies for curtailing/curbing corruption in the Nigerian construction industry. A database of publications published in the area of corruption in the construction industry was reviewed with a view to achieving the objectives of this paper. The literature reviewed articles that were specifically on factors that precipitate corruptible tendencies as well as ways of curbing/ameliorating corruptible tendencies. This study deployed a literature review as its methodology via a content analysis. The findings from the research indicate that bribery in winning a contract was more prevalent in the construction industry amongst others.

On the aspect of manifestations of corruptible tendencies, the findings further shows that corruption occurs/manifests at the procurement phase with overbidding as the most pronounced, while at the pre-tender stage, project owner’s nondisclosure of financial status with the intent that the contractor may not likely commence work if aware of the client’s financial difficulties. While at the tendering stage, bribery in the form of cash inducement, gifts, favours etc occurs. At the Handover, operations and maintenance phase, corruption manifests specifically by an agreement on the part of the supervising engineer to accept poor quality work or work below the specification.

In curtailing/curbing corruptible tendencies in the industry, the study found that engaging certified construction professionals is a sure way of curbing/curtailing the menace. The research recommends that construction professionals should desist from including false and extra cost into their contract claims as well as cover pricing when tendering for construction projects.

Keywords: Corruptible tendencies, bribery, construction, literature review, construction industry

INTRODUCTION

Corruption endangers the right choices and holds up crooks and deviants as models of distinction for the upcoming generation, it erodes quality, dents economic and social development, while also degenerates to a culture of illegality that in turn breeds market inefficiency and further increases cost of goods and services, promotes unproductive investments, and leads to a decline in quality of public and private service and indeed the heaviest price is not in the bribes themselves but rather in the underlying economic distortions they trigger (Osisioma, 2012). Hawkins (2013) adopted the definition of corruption as defined by Transparency International as “The abuse of entrusted power for private gains”. This actually covers not only the public authorities where private gains includes such issues like institutional and political gains involving contractors, consultants, suppliers, sub-contractors, clients and even supervisors who are the key players in the process of infrastructure delivery.

Another definition of corruption as defined by Okafor (2013) is that “corruption is sociologically, any act or behaviour that contravenes societal approved standards and negatively valued by a number of individuals in the society”. Oladele (2013) argued that the definition of corruption becomes more complicated when viewed in terms of such classifications as supportive corruption, transactional corruption, extortive corruption, personal and institutional corruption, traditional and modern corruption, local, national or international corruption, or representational corruption, grand as well as petty corruption.

From the foregoing, one can infer that there is no consensus on the meaning of the term “corruption” but there are indicators of behaviours that might be adjudged as corrupt as these elements portrayed such conduct as corruptible tendencies. (Adeyemo, 2015; Iyanda, 2010).

The different forms of corruption as noted by Osisioma (2012) includes: Bribery and extortion; fraud and embezzlement; illegal use of public assets for private gains; over and under-invoicing; payment of salaries and other benefits to non-existent (“ghost”) workers and pensioners; payment for goods not supplied or services not rendered (air supply); under-payment of taxes and duties on exports and imports through false invoicing or other declarations; purchase of goods at inflated prices; misappropriation of assets; court decisions awarding monetary damages well in excess of any injury; removal of documents or even whole case files; and nepotism amongst others.

Inuwa et al.(2015) observed that in the Nigerian construction industry, most projects fail as a result of the menace of corrupt related activities on the part of the professionals whom the management and responsibility rests on. The Nigerian construction industry is extremely vulnerable to corruptible erosion due to the structure and nature of the industry which makes it imperative for construction professionals to exhibit some high level of unethical conducts (Oyewobi et al., 2011). They further submitted in their work that the international community viewed corruption and other unethical activities as common occurrences at all stages of the Nigerian workforce considering the rankings by the TI (Transparency International) which ranked Nigeria as the 2nd, 3rd, 6th, 18th  and 37th  most corrupt nation in the world in 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007, respectively.

The nature of the Nigerian construction industry could be adduced to be the reason for the outright act of corrupt practices being experienced in every segments of the industry. It is disorganized and uncontrolled, and thus lacks a clear cut distinction between the contractors as some of them are merely in business to make profit solely. The construction industry is adjudged to be the industry that co-ordinates the various professionals in the successful delivery of its responsibilities in the recent past, but this has now been seriously eroded by corruptible tendencies which undermines the advantage of teamwork, trust, commitment and competence.

The effect of corruptible tendencies in the industry cannot be over emphasized as it has led to incessant collapse of buildings in Nigeria and its attendant/associated loss of life, loss of properties and injuries to the survivors of such collapsed buildings which has invariably become a recurring decimal to the extent that the Council for the Regulation of Engineering practice in Nigeria (COREN) recently advocated for a death penalty for owners of collapsed buildings (Adewole et al.,2014). They further stressed that the incidence of building collapse is as a result of the use of sub-standard materials and/or inappropriate quantity of material usage (e.g. lower quantity of cement and reinforcements). Furthermore, the socio-economic and political habits of Nigerians also precipitates into the incessant collapse of building by way of “cutting corners on the part of the client or the contractor”, owner constructor syndrome, building cost minimization/control and corruptible tendencies within the industry.

More…

To read entire paper, click here

 


 

About the Authors

pmwj51-oct2016-adeyemo-photo
Abiola Adeniyi Adeyemo

Federal University of Technology
Owerri, Nigeria

Nigeria flag




Abiola Adeniyi Adeyemo
is a graduate student in the Department of Project Management Technology, Federal University of Technology, Owerri, Nigeria. He is currently practicing on his own at the moment. He is interested in writing and publishing articles in the areas Project Management, Manufacturing Technology. He can be reached on [email protected]

 

pmwj51-oct2016-amade-photo
Benedict Amade

Federal University of Technology
Owerri, Nigeria

 Nigeria flag


Benedict Amade
is a Project Manager by Profession. He read and obtained a PhD (Doctor of Philosophy) Degree in Project Management Technology from the Federal University of Technology, Owerri, Nigeria. He is a member of the Project Management Institute (PMI) U.S.A. and presently lectures in the Department of Project Management Technology of the Federal University of Technology, Owerri, Nigeria. His areas of research interest include construction project management, computer based project management and construction supply chain management. He has authored over 20 scientific publications in international refereed journals and is actively involved in other consultancy works. He can be reached on [email protected] or [email protected]