The Coalition Against Corrupt Leaders, CACOL, has expressed dismay over the seeming ineffectiveness of anti-corruption agencies created by the government, saying that by the existing constitutional powers conferred on the Code of Conduct Bureau, CCB, it is surprising that it has remained consigned to the background in anchoring the principle of accountability and probity of public officers.
This call is coming on information in some quarters that some politicians in the country have begun to lobby the CCB, into availing them the avenue to tinker with the information earlier submitted on the assets declaration forms already in its custody, to escape possible future prosecution. A development which came in the light of the ongoing trial of Senate President Bukola Saraki at the Code of Conduct Tribunal, CCT, over alleged false declaration of assets.
CACOL, a group of civil-society, community-based and other non-governmental organisations, with the objective of fighting corruption and corrupt persons by any means possible at all levels in Nigeria, stated this in a press statement made available to newsmen by its acting media officer, Temitope Macjob.
According to the group, “One cannot but wonder as to why these all-important institutions whose activities basically anchor the principle of accountability and probity on the part of public officers had, all these while, so remained virtually consigned to the background, so to say, in the affairs of our democratic governance.”
Saying that CCB seems to be complicit in the exercise of its duty to the extent that they simply grant politicians unfettered access to assets declaration forms earlier submitted by them to be altered having seen that the new regime is not taking it easy with those who made anticipatory and false declarations, the group cautions CCB, asking it to sit up.
The group said: “The forms are not even properly kept; when one gets to their offices, constitutional process for accessing these forms that have been filled is not strictly complied with. They are left in open shelves and at times on the desk where the forms could even disappear, thus allowing a declarant to easily alter what he/she has earlier declared. Corrupt CCB officials, who engage in this criminal act should be warned to desist forthwith and be made to realise that the fate of the accomplice in a crime is as grave as that of the perpetrator.
“Looking at the CCB and Tribunal Act CAP 56, LFN 1990- The CCB and its twin sister, the, CCT, are extra ministerial departments set up by the Federal Government under the Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act, Cap 56, LFN 1990. The Act gave the Bureau the mandate to establish and maintain a high standard morality in the conduct of government business and to ensure that the actions and behavior of public officers conform to the highest standard of public morality and accountability.
“Corruption has so far succeeded in not only ravaging our values and pride, but has also succeeded in bastardising the psyche of the majority so much so that thieves are openly hailed and celebrated. Ours is gradually becoming a society that encourages opportunism in whatever form. The tendency to exploit every given opportunity to satisfy one’s selfish desire no longer rest only with the leaders, the led themselves now encourage the leaders to thrive in self-serving exploits.” CACOL said.
Source: National Mirror.