Etymologically, corruption is derived from a Latin word “corruptus” which means to break or destroy. Literally, corruption means to break away or depart from morality, ethics and civic virtues. Further explanation of each of these words will give us better understanding and insight, 1. Morality implies: morals, principles, values, goodness, decency, probity, honesty, integrity etc. 2. Ethics means: moral code, belief, tradition practices, habits, conventions, customs, laws rules, regulations, commandments, decrees. 3. Civic virtues: public opinion of merit and quality. Going by the above definition corruption is a break away from what is good and right. Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary on the other hand defines corruption as Dishonesty (which in other words is deceitfulness, fraudulence, lying, untruthfulness, treachery, duplicity).
The Word Bank defines corruption as “the abuse of public office for private gains. Public office is abused for private gain when an official accepts, solicits or extorts a bribe. It is also abused when private agents actively offer bribes to circumvent public policies and processes for competitive advantage and profit. Public offices can also be abused for personal benefit even if no bribery occurs through patronage and nepotism, the theft of state asserts or the diversion of state revenue.”
Microsoft Encarta Encyclopedia defines it as “wrongdoing by those in a special position of trust. The term is commonly applied to self – benefiting conduct by public officials and others dedicated to public services”
Section 2 of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission Act 2000 defines corruption to include “bribery, fraud and other related offences”. The most common type of corruption by this definition is bribery – which refers to the giving or taking of money or any kind of favour in return or exchange for undue advantage over other people. Other types include: abuse of power in any form or degree, extortion, embezzlement, inflation of contracts, kickbacks, diversion of funds, falsification or suppression of record, perversion of justice, electoral malpractices, examination malpractices, drug trafficking, money laundering, abuse of selection processes, nepotism, sexual exploitation, gratification and so on.
CAUSES OF CORRUPTION
Corruption is caused generally by greed, lack of positive values, porous system, weak enforcement and oversight mechanisms, excessive materialism, societal pressure, lack of virile welfare structures, insecurity of employment tenure, indiscipline, Inordinate desire for wealth accumulation (get-rich-quick-syndrome), poverty of the mind, nepotism (partiality, favoritism, preferential treatment, bias, discrimination etc), and lack of genuine fear of God. These and many more will be discussed in subsequent editions in detail.
EFFECTS OF CORRUPTION
Effects of corruption to the nation in general, to the port system in particular and to us as a people is colossal; for example:
- It undermines the national image- a corruption ridden country stinks in the comity of nations and meaningful investments cannot be attracted nor developmental cooperation can be established because every Nigerian is viewed as corrupt and dubious outside. For instance, Nigeria has been consistently ranked among the most corrupt country in the world by Transparency International.
- It threatens the very survival of a nation as it prevents the provision of basic social amenities for the citizenry. The money meant for development is often pocketed by a few thereby making good governance impossible. It has affected our health sectors not to talk of our educational institutions. As at today, not even one of the Universities in Nigeria is rated among the first 200 in the world and none is rated among the best in Africa. Corruption generally erodes standards to abysmal levels. Quality of goods and services cannot be guaranteed in a corrupt society.
- Corruption aggravate unemployment and under development.
- It engenders mass poverty and thwart efforts to overcome it.
- Most infrastructural decay and unsatisfactory provision of amenities can be traced directly or indirectly to corruption. There is a total collapse of power and road net work in the country today due to corrupt attitude of past leaders.
- It erodes the ethical base of society: -as due diligence, excellence, honesty, merit and integrity are discouraged.
- It breeds all kinds of crimes and vandalism – arm robbery, kidnapping, youth agitation etc.
- It lead to massive brain drain – a great number of Nigeria best brains have been driven to other part of the world where they now spearhead developmental and scientific exploits.
Corruption in Nigeria
Corruption is the bane of Nigerian socio-economic development, which threatens the existence of Nigeria as a political entity. It is therefore imperative that all and sundry should engage in anti-corruption struggle. This paper examines the state of the country‟s media from the perspective of media practitioners. Corruption is a worldwide phenomenon and there is hardly any society without one form of corruption or the other. Corrupt practices did not begin today; history is as old as the human race. The menace called corruption is a big problem in Nigeria.
The menace called corruption is a big problem in Nigeria. M.Watts (2008:47) affirms that “effects of corruption in the Nigerian society can not be overemphasized”. Corruption is indeed a cankerworm that has eaten deep into the fabric of Nigerian society. It is a monster that all and sundry blame for the economic woes facing the country. This is because corruption is seen as one of the major impediments to the economic development of the nation. It is perhaps, the only reason why nothing seems to be working. In fact, corruption European Scientific Journal is threatening the existence of Nigeria as an entity. Nearly every sphere of human endeavor is affected by corruption. And no profession is spared either.
Interestingly, successive governments pursued policies against corruption and it was the main reason why the military made incursions into politics. Despite various policies adopted by governments, corruption is ever increasing in the country. Nigeria is said to have generated huger revenue during this current political dispensation than at other times of her history. This is so because of the rising price of crude oil in the international market since 1999.
I wish to state categorically that the Nigerian government will show it is prepared to fight corruption, when it starts the fight from the justice administration system. Until judges are stopped from being corrupt they will not have the moral capital to be just! By the structure and composition of the Judicial System, the professionals there have more to lose when scandals break out and trials commence. If there is nothing to gain, the judiciary can be relied on to deliver justice. Right now the professionals in the judiciary are relying on the cooperation of their cohorts in the executive and legislative arms to hide them. If the search light is turned on the judiciary, it will easily turn a new leaf. The same applies to the police, SSS and the ministries of justice. Consider this statement common to the police: "no one is a saint"; it is just an apologia for their own corruption.
Nigeria today is a nation at crossroads, struggling against all forms of vices. The country‟s media practitioners had at one time struggled for the political emancipation of the country, at another time, the media fought for the unity of the nation during a devastating 30-month civil war. One of the major issues that should engage the attention of the media today is the anti-corruption war. There is therefore no gain saying the fact that all hands need to be on deck so that the anti-corruption war could be won.
How much Nigeria would succeed in the current battle depends largely on how effective the media would be. The media profession is expected to be above board so that journalists could confidently champion the anti-corruption campaign. Though some media outfits realized this demand and some efforts have been channeled towards this in recent times, it is pertinent to know how the corruption issue is being handled in most media organizations in Nigeria.
1. To check corruption which has assumed epidemic proportions in the public services of this country, it is imperative for the National Assembly to amend the CCB Act to provide that:
a. All political appointees should declare their assets annually by making annual asset returns every January, (ala tax returns) because the extant provision that requires assets declaration every four years have several loop holes that are being exploited by public servants.
b. The CCB should create a unit within it for the continuous tracking of assets returns of politicians holding public office, senior civil and public servants, etc, similar to what the CBN does to check money laundering through the banks;
2. Reform the Justice Delivery system by replacing the status quo with a jury verdict system, through the ongoing constitution amendment process. You can trust the people to do justice to those who are corrupt, as members of a jury!
3. Make it mandatory for the police to release everyone arrested without warrant within 12 hours. Remove their discretion to detain anyone beyond 12 hours except for crimes such as treasonable felonies and murders. This is vital because abuse of human rights and "sale of bail" is a lucrative practice in ALL divisions and units of the police. What obtains now is that the report of a crime in any neighborhood is an invitation for the police to line their pockets through indiscriminate arrest of everyone in that neighborhood for "bail rent".
4. Routinely and quarterly, the Attorney-General/DPP/Justice departments should vet all occupants of police detention cells, custody rooms and those in prisons awaiting-trial to deliver innocent Nigerians from the corruption and inhumanity of the police.
It is time to fight for the soul of Nigeria. And it must, of necessity, start from its primary custodians: the justice administration system stakeholders. This is necessary in order to invest our justice delivery system operatives with the moral capital required to effectively do their jobs.
In conclusion, it is important to emphasize that the fight against corruption in Nigeria needs real patriots, men and women who are committed to the Nigerian project, not immoral personalities who want to serve their own or narrow group interests. It takes high moral rectitude to exercise the moral strength required to be an anti-corruption crusader in this country. That is why we say that given the high level of corruption in the Nigerian police, the Immigration Service, the Customs Service, the Prisons Service, the SSS, the Courts, etc, they cannot effectively fight corruption and other crimes.
Web ReferencesNo References
Political corruption is a persistent phenomenon in Nigeria. President Muhammadu Buhari defined corruption as the greatest form of human right violation. Since the creation of modern public administration in the country, there have been cases of official misuse of funds and resources. The rise of public administration and the discovery of oil and natural gas are two major events seen to have led to the increase in corrupt practices in the country.
The government has tried to contain corruption through the enactment of laws and the enforcement of integrity systems, but success has been slow in coming. In 2012, Nigeria was estimated to have lost over $400 billion to corruption since independence.
Main article: Petroleum in Nigeria
Theories abound for the different possible causes of the flagrant graft that exists in Nigeria. Some blame greed and ostentatious lifestyles as a potential root cause of corruption. To some, societies in love with ostentatious lifestyle may delve into corrupt practices to feed the lifestyle and also embrace a style of public sleaze and lack of decorum. The customs and attitudes of the society may also be a contributing factor. Gift giving as expressions of loyalty or tributes to traditional rulers may be fabrics of the society. Also, a political environment that excludes favors towards elites or wealthy citizens may also be influenced by corruption. Wealthy elites may resort to sleaze in order to gain power and protect their interest. However, the bottom line surmised from the views of most Nigerians is that corruption is a problem that has to be rooted out. In Nigeria another major cause of corruption is ethnicity called tribalism in Nigeria. Friends and kinsmen seeking favor from officials may impose difficult strains on the ethical disposition of the official. Many kinsmen may see a government official as holding necessary avenues for their personal survival or gain.
A culmination of use of official resources for private gain may lead to further pressures on incoming officials from other kinsmen. However, the fact is, the importation of modern rules on inter-ethnic political relationships is a recent colonial and western initiative that may take time to become the norm, deep allegiance to other ethnic groups for administrative decisions early on was sometimes viewed suspiciously, and an early institutionalization of a unitary system in the country, may also have led to a further familiar groupings induced corruption. Nevertheless, a modern practical approach to leadership and relationships has gradually taken a prominent role in the political process. The necessity for practical inter-depedence and cooperation is at the forefront of yearnings for good governance in the country.
Some analysts have also blamed colonialism for the amount corruption. According to this view, the nation's colonial history may have restricted any early influence in an ethical revolution; "the trappings of flashy cars, houses and success of the colonists may influenced the poor to see the colonist as symbols of success and to emulate the colonists in different political ways". Involvement in the agenda of colonial rule may also inhibit idealism in the early stage of the nascent nation's development. A view commonly held during the colonial days was that the colonists property (cars, houses, farms etc.) is not "our" property. Thus vandalism and looting of public property was not seen as a crime against society. This view is what has degenerated into the more recent disregard for public property and lack of public trust and concern for public goods as a collective national property. According to PricewaterhouseCoopers, Nigeria's economy would have a higher worth if its level of corruption were closer to Ghana's.
History and Cases
Pre-Independence and the First Republic
Corruption, though prevalent, was kept at manageable levels during the First Republic. However, the cases of corruption during the period were sometimes clouded by political infighting.
- Azikiwe was the first major political figure investigated for questionable practices. In 1944, a firm belonging to Azikiwe and family bought a Bank in Lagos. The bank was procured to strengthen local control of the financial industry. Albeit, a report about transactions carried out by the bank showed though Azikiwe had resigned as chairman of the bank, the current chairman was an agent of his. The report wrote that most of the paid-up capital of the African Continental Bank were from the Eastern Regional Financial Corporation.
- In western Nigeria, politician Adegoke Adelabu was investigated following charges of political corruption leveled against him by the opposition. The report led to demand for his resignation as district council head.
- In the Northern region, against the backdrop of corruption allegations leveled against some native authority officials in Bornu. The Northern Government enacted the Customary Presents order to forestall any further breach of regulations. Later on, it was the British administration that was accused of corrupt practices in the results of elections which enthroned a Fulani political leadership in Kano, reports later linking the British authorities to electoral irregularities were discovered.
Gowon Administration (August 1966 – July 1975)
Corruption for the most part of Yakubu Gowon's administration was kept away from public view until 1975. However, informed officials voiced concerns. Critics said Gowon's governors acted like lords overseeing their personal fiefdom. He was viewed as timid, faced with corrupt elements in his government.
In 1975, a corruption scandal surrounding the importation of cement engulfed many officials of the defense ministry and the central bank of Nigeria. Officials were later accused of falsifying ships manifestos and inflating the amount of cement to be purchased.
During the Gowon administration, two individuals from the middle belt of the country were accused of corruption. The Nigerian government controlled the newspapers, so the Daily Times and the New Nigerian gave great publicity to denunciations of the administration of Gomwalk, and Federal Commissioner Joseph Tarka by the two critics. A situation which may signal a cause for exigent action on corruption.
Murtala administration (1975 – February 1976)
In 1975, the administration of Murtala Mohammed made reformist changes. After a military coup brought it to power, the new government sacked a large number of prior government officials and civil servants, many of whom had been criticized for the misuse of power they wielded under the largely uneducated military of Gowon.
Obasanjo administration (February 1976 – September 1979)
The first administration of Olusegun Obasanjo was a continuation of the Muritala Mohammed administration, and was focused on completing the transition program to democracy, as well as implementing the national development plans. Major projects including building new refineries, pipelines, expanding the national shipping and airlines as well as hosting FESTAC was done during the administration. A number of these national projects were conduits to distribute favors and enrich connected politicians. The famous Afrobeat musician, Fela Kuti, sang variously about major scandals involving the international telecommunication firm ITT led by Chief MKO Abiola in Nigeria, which the then Head of State, Gen Olusegun Obasanjo was associated with. In addition to this, the Operation Feed the Nation Program, and the associated land grab under the Land Use Decree implemented by the then Head of State was used as conduits to reward cronies, and his now famous Otta Farm Nigeria (OFN) was supposedly a project borne out of this scandal.
Shagari Administration (October 1979 – December 1983)
Corruption was deemed pervasive during the administration of Shehu Shagari. A few federal buildings mysteriously caught fire after investigators started to probe the finances of the officials working in the buildings. In late 1985, investigations into the collapse of the defunct Johnson Mathey Bank of London shed light on some of the abuses carried on during the second republic. The bank acted as a conduit to transfer hard currency for some party members in Nigeria. A few leading officials and politicians had amassed large amounts of money. They sought to transfer the money out of the country with the help of Asian importers by issuing import licenses.
In 1981, a rice shortage led to accusations of corruption against the NPN government. Shortages and subsequent allegations were precipitated by protectionism. After its election the Nigerian government decided to protect local rice farmers from imported commodities. A licensing system was created to limit rice imports. However, accusations of favoritism and government-supported speculation were leveled against many officials.
Buhari Administration (December 1983 – August 1985)
In 1985, a cross section of politicians were convicted of corrupt practices under the government of General Muhammadu Buhari, but the administration itself was only involved in a few instances of lapsed ethical judgment. Some cite the suitcases scandal which also coincidentally involved then customs leader Atiku Abubakar[who?], who later became Vice President in 1999, and was indicted for various acts of corruption. "The 53 suitcases saga arose in 1984 during the currency change exercise ordered by the Buhari junta when it ordered that every case arriving the country should be inspected irrespective of the status of the person behind such. The 53 suitcases were, however, ferried through the Murtala Muhammed Airport without a customs check by soldiers allegedly at the behest of Major Mustapha Jokolo, the then aide-de-camp to Gen. Buhari. Atiku was at that time the Area Comptroller of Customs in charge of the Murtala Muhammed Airport."
Babangida Administration (August 1985 – August 1993)
The regime of general Ibrahim Babangida or IBB, has been seen as the body that legalized corruption. His administration refused to give account of the Gulf War windfall, which has been estimated to be $12.4 billion. He rigged the only successful election in the history of Nigeria in June 12, 1993. He lives in a very exquisite mansion in his home state of Niger.
During IBB's tenure, corruption became a policy of state. Vehicles and cash gifts were routinely disbursed to earn loyalty, and the discipline of the military force eroded. The term "IBB Boys" emerged, meaning fronts for the head of state in business realm, someone who will transact dirty deals from drug dealing to money laundering. The President was reportedly deeply involved in drug dealing through the first lady, Maryam Babangida, and Gloria Okon (his girlfriend). The near-revelation of that fact by Dele Giwa triggered the assassination of the journalist by the Presidential death squad using a letter bomb.
IBB used various government privatization initiatives to reward friends and cronies, which eventually gave rise to the current class of nouveau riche in Nigeria. From banking to oil and import licenses, IBB used these favors to raise cash for himself and his family, and is regarded as one of the richest ex-rulers of Nigeria supposedly with significant investment in Globacom—one of the largest telecom operators in Nigeria, regarded as a front for his empire.
Abacha Administration (Nov 1993 – June 1998)
The death of the general Sani Abacha revealed the global nature of graft. French investigations of bribes paid to government officials to ease the award of a gas plant construction in Nigeria revealed the level of official graft in the country. The investigations led to the freezing of accounts containing about $100 million United States dollars.
In 2000, two years after his death, a Swiss banking commission report indicted Swiss banks for failing to follow compliance process when they allowed Abacha's family and friends of access to his accounts and to deposit amounts totaling $600 million US dollars into them. The same year, a total of more than $1 billion US dollars were found in various accounts throughout Europe.
Abdusalami Administration (June 1998 – May 1999)
The government of Gen. Abdusalami was short and focused on transiting the country quickly to democracy. Albeit, suspicion remains that quite a huge of wealth was acquired by him and his inner circle in such short period, as he lives in quite exquisite mansion of his own adjacent IBB's that exceeds whatever he might have earned in legitimate income. Indeed, the major Halliburton scandal implicated his administration, and this might have financed his opulence.
Obasanjo administration (May 1999 – May 2007)
Various corruption scandals broke out under Olusegun Obasanjo's presidency, including one of international dimensions when his vice president was caught in cahoots with a US Congressman stashing cold hard cash (literally) in freezers. In addition to this, the KBR and Siemens bribery scandals broke out under his administration, which was serially[clarification needed] investigated by the FBI and led to international indictments indicating high-level corruption in his administration. According to reports, "while Nigeria dithered, the United States Department of Justice on January 18, 2012 announced that a Japanese construction firm, Marubeni Corporation, agreed to pay a $54.6 million criminal penalty for allegedly bribing officials of the Nigerian government to facilitate the award of the $6 billion liquefied natural gas contract in Bonny, Nigeria to a multinational consortium, TSKJ". They paid bribes to Nigerian government officials between 1995 and 2004, in violation of the United States Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.
Some other acts of corruption tied to Olusegun Obasanjo included the Transcorp shares scandal that violated the code of conduct standards for public officers, and the presidential library donations at the eve of his exit from power that pressured associates to donate. Obasanjo was also said to widely lobby for his failed campaign to alter the constitution to get a third term by actively bribing the legislators. further deepening corruption at the highest levels.
Umaru Musa Yar'Adua administration (May 2007 –May 2010)
Yaradua's ascent and time in office was short, although a fair number of corruption scandals from previous administrations came to light under his tenure and went uninvestigated due to lack of political will and poor health. Yaradua's various acts of political corruption using his Attorney-General to frustrate ongoing local and international investigations of his powerful friends like Governor Ibori, Igbinnedion and Odili which led to massive losses to their states. Indeed, AG Aondakaa was legendary in his inability to obtain conviction in Nigeria even as UK and foreign courts successfully tried Nigeria's deeply corrupt governors from the Obasanjo era that helped Yaradua emerge as president. In addition, Wikileaks revealed that the Supreme Court Justices were bribed to legitimize the corrupt elections that saw to his emergence as president through massive rigging. Wikileaks documents also revealed the staying power of corruption under Yaradua, with illegal payments from NNPC to Presidents continuing unabated.
Goodluck Jonathan administration (2010–2015)
In 2014, Nigeria's rank improved from 143rd to the 136th position on Transparency International's Corruption Perceptions Index. In late 2013, Nigeria's then Central Bank governor Sanusi Lamido Sanusi informed President Goodluck Jonathan that the state oil company, NNPC, had failed to remit US$20 billion in oil revenues owed to the state. Jonathan however dismissed the claim and replaced Sanusi for his mismanagement of the central bank's budget. A Senate committee also found Sanusi’s account to be lacking in substance. After the conclusion of the NNPC's account audit, it was announced in January 2015 that NNPC's non-remitted revenue is actually US$1.48 billion, which it needs to refund to the government. Upon release of both the PwC and Deloitte report by the government at the eve of its exit, it was however determined that truly close to $20 billion was indeed missing or misappropriated or spent without appropriation.
In addition to these, the government of Goodluck Jonathan had several running scandals including the BMW purchase by his Aviation Minister, $250 million plus security contracts to militants in the Niger Delta, massive corruption and kickbacks in the Ministry of Petroleum, the Malibu Oil International scandal, and several scandals involving the Petroleum Ministry including accusations of sweetheart deals with select fronts and business people to divert public wealth. In the dying days of Goodluck Jonathan's administration, the Central Bank scandal of cash tripping of mutilated notes also broke out, where it was revealed that in a four-day period, 8 billion naira was stolen directly by low-level workers in the CBN. This revelation excluded a crime that is suspected to have gone on for years and went undetected until revealed by whistle-blower. The Central Bank claim the heist undermined its monetary policy. In 2014, UNODC began an initiative to help combat corruption in Nigeria.
New allegations of corruption have begun to emerge since the departure of President Jonathan on May 29, 2015, including:
- $2.2 billion illegally withdrawn from Excess Crude Oil Accounts, of which $1 billion supposedly approved by President Jonathan to fund his reelection campaign without the knowledge of the National Economic Council made up of state governors and the president and vice president.
- NEITI discovered $11.6 billion was missing from Nigeria LNG Company dividend payments.
- 60 million barrels of oil valued at $13.7 billion was stolen under the watch of the national oil company, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, from 2009 to 2012.
- NEITI indicates losses due to crude swaps due to subsidy and domestic crude allocation from 2005 to 2012 indicated that $11.63 billion had been paid to the NNPC but that “there is no evidence of the money being remitted to the federation account”.
- Diversion of 60% of $1 billion foreign loans obtained from the Chinese by the Ministry of Finance 
- Massive scam in weapons and defense procurements, and misuse of 3 trillion naira defense budget since 2011 under the guise of fighting Boko Haram
7. Diversion of $2.2 million vaccination medicine fund, by Ministry of Health 
8. Diversion of Ebola fight fund up to 1.9 bn naira 
9. NIMASA fraud under investigation by EFCC, inclusive of accusation of funding PDP and buying a small piece of land for 13 billion naira 
10. Ministry of Finance led by Okonjo Iweala hurried payment of $2.2 million to health ministry contractor in disputed invoices 
11. NDDC scams and multifarious scams including 2.7 billion naira worth of contracts that does not confirm to the Public Procurement Act
12. Police Service Commission Scam investigated by ICPC that revealed misappropriation of over 150 million naira related to election related trainings. ICPC made refund recommendations, but many analyst indicated prosecution was more appropriate.
Muhammadu Buhari administration (2015–2019)
In 2016, the Senate ad-hoc committee on “mounting humanitarian crisis in the North East” led by Senator Shehu Sani indicted the then Secretary to the Government of the Federation appointed by Muhammadu Buhari, Mr. Babachir Lawal in a N200 million contract scandal for the clearing of “invasive plant species” in Yobe State by Rholavision Nigeria Limited; a company he owns.
On October 30, 2017, President Buhari sacked Lawal based on the report of a three-man panel led by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo that investigated him and one other.
Abdulrasheed Maina was the head of the task force on pension reforms during the President Goodluck Jonathan led administration but fled Nigeria in 2015 after claims that he embezzled two billion naira ($5.6 million, 4.8 million euros). Despite the fact that an Interpol arrest warrant was issued, he still managed to return to Nigeria, where he was said to have enjoyed protection from the security.
According the senate through its committee on public accounts, 85 government parastatals under the present government under the leadership of Muhammadu Buhari are yet to submit their report since the inception of this government.
The flag bearer of the corruption fight in Nigeria, the EFCC has responded to the senate committee on public account's claim on the non submission of her account report by the institution and 84 others. The Economic and financial crimes commission denied the report issued by the committee claiming it was not true.
Public institutions perceived as corrupt
The following list contains the institutions perceived as the most corrupt. It is culled from the Nigeria Survey and Corruption Survey Study, Final Report (June 2003) Institute for Development Research, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria (IDR, ABU Zaria)
|3||National and State Assemblies|
|4||Local and Municipal Governments|
|5||Federal and State Executive Councils|
|6||Traffic police and FRSC|
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