a crime and a tort. Facts of a transaction leading to economic loss can also
give rise to criminal prosecution by the law enforcement agencies for the
offence of fraud. Both the tortuous claim and the criminal prosecution can be
pursued against an individual simultaneously. The tort of fraud in Nigeria follows
the common law fashion and may be founded on three heads, namely, conflict
of interest, Fraud and deceit, and unjust
enrichment. The crime of fraud may take the following forms:
property (i.e. goods or credit) under false pretence prohibited and
punishable by Sections 419 and 419A of the Criminal Code, Laws of the
Federation of Nigeria 2004 (“CC 2004”) with three (3) years of
imprisonment. Where the value of thing obtained by false pretence is
higher than N1,000.00 (One Thousand Nairan), the offender will be liable
to seven (7) years of imprisonment;
prohibited and punishable under Section 467 of the CC with three (3) years
of imprisonment. Please note that certain categories of forgery attract higher
terms of imprisonment under the CC.
which is punishable under Section 484 of the CC with three (3) year term
of imprisonment or fourteen (14) year term if the personation relates to a
Will or administration of a deceased’s estate.
commission by an agent, employee or government officials prohibited and
punishable by Section 494 of the CC with two (2) years of imprisonment or
N1,000.00 (One Thousand Naira) fine or both. This law also punishes any
person who gives or agrees to give or offers a gift to an agent as a
consideration to do or forebear to do an act as favour or disfavour in
relation to the principal or employer’s business.
employee or agent is obliged to avoid or refrain from engaging in a transaction
that will put him in conflicting situation with the interest of his employer or
principal as the case may be. Secrete profit by an agent in the course of his
principal’s employment, whether in cash or kind, would lead to conflict of
interest unless same is fully disclosed to the principal. Where a case of
conflict of interest is proved, the employer or principal is entitled to
reliefs against the employee or agent accordingly. The available reliefs
against an agent who is found liable are; Rescission of the agreement; Action
for damages; Order to account; Cost of
law, the process of recovering any sum of money being defrauded in Nigeria is
to institute an action in tort against the individuals for breach of duty or
unjust enrichment. The
likelihood of recovering any sum of money alleged to have been defrauded in
Nigeria will depend on the plaintiff’s claims and the quality of evidence that
can be adduced in proof of the civil suit brought against the fraudulent individuals
for the recovery of the money. The standard of proof is based on the
preponderance of evidence adduced. There are three law enforcement
agencies in Nigeria saddled with the responsibility of prosecuting fraud, they
Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (“EFCC”)
Off Adetokunbo Ademola Crescent, Wuse II, Abuja, Nigeria.
Ikoyi, Lagos, Nigeria.
Old GRA, Port Harcourt, Rivers State, Nigeria.
Nigeria Police: Contact the Special Fraud Unit, Alagbon, Lagos, Nigeria or
police station across the federation.
Independent Corrupt Practices (and Related Offences) Commission (“ICPC”): Contact
Address is Plot 802 Constitution Avenue, Central District, PMB 535, Garki Abuja
Nigeria. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
A formal complaint of the alleged fraudulent
malpractices may be made to the EFCC, the ICPC or the Police with all the
material facts and evidence that will assist the law enforcement agency in the
investigation, arrest, bail, seizure of property and prosecution or release of
an offender as the case may be. Complaint can be sent to the agency directly by
the complainant or through his lawyer. It is important to mention that the decision to
arrest and prosecute, upon investigation of the suspects, is entirely at the
discretion of the law enforcement agency. The State controls the machinery for
the prosecution of any person alleged to have committed a crime and neither the
victim of a crime nor the lawyer can control the action or influence the authority’s
decision to prosecute an offender or not.