After Onnoghen, SERAP Asks CCB To Provide Asset Declaration Details Of All Presidents, Governors Since 1999
In response to the judgment delivered by the Code of Conduct Tribunal convicting Walter Onnoghen, the suspended Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), the Socio-Financial Rights and Accountability Venture (SERAP) has despatched a Freedom of Info request to Dr. Muhammed Isah, Chairman of the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB), urging him to make use of his “good workplaces and management place to urgently present data on particular particulars of asset declarations submitted to the CCB by successive presidents and state governors for the reason that return of democracy in 1999″.
SERAP is searching for data on “particulars of asset declarations by successive presidents and state governors between 1999 and 2019, together with particulars of declarations made instantly after taking workplaces and thereafter, and for individuals who have left public workplaces, on the finish of their time period of workplace”.
“Info can be sought on the variety of asset declarations up to now verified by the CCB and the variety of these declarations discovered to be false and deemed to be in breach of the Code of Conduct for Public Officers, by the Bureau,” SERAP added.
Onnoghen, who was standing trial over allegations bordering on fraudulent declaration of property, was convicted on Thursday after he was discovered responsible of the offences.
He was faraway from workplace as CJN, as Chairman of the Nationwide Judicial Council (NJC), and as Chairman of the Federal Judicial Service Fee (FJSC). Onnoghen may also forfeit the cash in his 5 financial institution domiciliary accounts that weren’t declared to the Nigerian Authorities as a result of they have been acquired illegally.
The tribunal additionally barred him from holding public workplace for the subsequent 10 years.
The FOI request, dated April 18, 2019, and signed by Kolawole Oluwadare, SERAP Deputy Director, learn: “Whereas we welcome the judgment by the Code of Conduct Tribunal on Justice Walter Onnoghen, we now urge the CCB to increase its mandates to implement constitutional provisions on asset declarations by public officers to cowl elected officers and to vigorously pursue the prosecution of any such officers who use their powers both as presidents or state governors over public funds to complement themselves.
“Whereas judicial corruption is unhealthy, the extent of corruption involving many politicians since 1999 and the entrenched tradition of impunity of perpetrators is equally appalling. Publishing the asset declarations of elected public officers for the reason that return of democracy in 1999 up to now would enhance public belief within the potential of the Bureau to successfully discharge its mandates. This may in flip put strain on public officers like presidents and state governors to make voluntary public declaration of their property.
“SERAP is worried that many politicians disguise behind the truth that members of the general public wouldn’t have entry to their asset declarations to make false declarations, and to cowl up property illegally acquired in corruption or abuse of workplace. The CCB can use the chance introduced by the Onnoghen judgment to extend the accountability of politicians via the asset declaration provisions if it isn’t to be accused of witch-hunting the judiciary.
“The grim situation of a lot of our residents since 1999 has been worsened by the deterioration of public providers, whereby entry to scrub water and reasonably priced health-care has change into a pipe dream and the provision of electrical energy turned epileptic and irregular on account of years of grand corruption by many politicians on the highest stage of presidency.”
Issuing an ultimatum to CCB, SERAP added: “We’d be grateful if the requested data is supplied to us inside 14 days of the receipt and/or publication of this letter. If now we have not heard from you by then, the Registered Trustees of SERAP shall take all applicable authorized motion beneath the Freedom of Info Act to compel you to adjust to our request.
“The persistent refusal by successive presidents and state governors to make public their asset declarations is totally inconsistent with the letter and spirit of the 1999 Structure, and has been notably dangerous to the nation and its individuals, particularly given the widespread proof of grand corruption amongst politicians holding public workplaces in Nigeria.
“The Nigerian Structure of 1999 (as amended) seeks to stop corruption and abuse of workplace via its provisions on the declaration of property not simply by judicial officers however by all public officers together with elected officers like presidents and governors.
“Nigerians can longer settle for the excuse by high-ranking authorities officers that declaring their property earlier than the CCB is sufficient, as such pretext is just not supported by the oaths of workplace by elected public officers. The failure by successive presidents and state governors to voluntarily make public their asset declarations would appear to recommend that they’ve one thing to cover.
“On condition that many public officers being tried for or convicted of corruption are discovered to have made a false declaration of their property, the CCB ought to not enable politicians to undermine the sanctity and integrity of the asset declaration provisions of the Structure by permitting them to proceed to use authorized gaps for illicit enrichment.
“SERAP believes that whereas elected public officers will not be constitutionally obliged to publicly declare their property, the Freedom of Info Act 2011 has now supplied the mechanism for the CCB to enhance transparency and accountability of asset declarations by elected public officers.
“Asset declaration kinds are public paperwork throughout the that means of part 109 of the Proof Act, and due to this fact, Nigerians are entitled to have entry to such data. SERAP urges the CCB to vigorously push for change in legislation to supply penal sanctions for politicians that fail to make public their asset declarations.
“By Part 1 (1) of the Freedom of Info (FOI) Act 2011, SERAP is entitled as of proper to request for or achieve entry to data, together with data on the asset declarations by elected public officers for the reason that return of democracy in 1999.
“SERAP notes that provisions on the declaration of property by all public officers in Nigeria are entrenched within the Code of Conduct for Public Officers, contained in Half I of the Fifth Schedule to the 1999 Nigerian Structure. The first goal is to stop corruption and abuse of workplace and to make sure transparency in public officers.
“SERAP additionally notes that public officers for the needs of the Code embrace the president and the vice-president of the federation, state governors and their deputies; the President and Deputy-President of the Senate, the Speaker and Deputy-Speaker of the Home of Representatives and Audio system, the Chief justice of Nigeria, justices of the Supreme Courtroom, the President and justices of the Courtroom of Enchantment, and different judicial officers and all employees of courts of legislation.”
SERAP due to this fact urged the CCB to:
“Disclose, together with by publishing on a devoted web site, particulars of asset declarations submitted by presidents and state governors for the reason that return of democracy in 1999;
“Disclose particulars on the variety of asset declarations up to now verified by the CCB and the variety of these declarations discovered to be false and deemed to be a breach of the Code of Conduct for Public Officers by the Bureau;
“Instantly take instances of false asset declarations to the Code of Conduct Tribunal for efficient prosecution of suspects, and embrace banning the politicians concerned from holding public workplaces for a minimum of a interval of 10 years and searching for refund of stolen public funds as a part of the reliefs to be sought earlier than the Tribunal.”
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