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.