The chairman of the Code of Conduct Bureau, Mr Sam Saba and federal commissioners of the bureau have embarked on verification of assets declared by public servants nationwide.
LEADERSHIP gathered that this was the first time top officials of the bureau were directly getting involved in the exercise, an indication that the issue of assets declaration would no longer be handled as business as usual.
According to the bureau’s chief press secretary, Mrs Idowu Jokpeyibo, Mr. Saba and the nine federal commissioners, who have been working with state directors in the six geopolitical zones, are already near the end of the exercise and may be back this week with detailed reports on the level of compliance by public servants.
She explained that the exercise would also reveal any conflict of data or suspicious information given by public servants, which might lead to field verification of assets and the hiring of property valuers to capture erring public servants.
She said, “The nine federal commissioners including the chairman, went out to the geopolitical zones to verify the papers used for declaration of assets and until they come back and submit their reports, it is not currently possible to determine the level of compliance by public servants. But compliance in the past has been high.
“They have been working with the state directors, having received all the documents from bureau officers in all the states of the federation. They are coming back with all the facts and figures this week.”
She also disclosed that the bureau was receiving assistance from the DFID in the area of capacity development, adding that it was “another positive development”.
As extra ministerial departments, the CCB and its twin sister, the Code of Conduct Tribunal were both set up by the federal government, under the Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act, Cap 56 LFN 1990. While the CCB has among its major duties, the responsibility to administer asset declaration and prosecute erring public officials, the tribunal is to try to impose sanctions on such officials.
Such sanctions include barring of officials from public service for 10 years and fines, among many others. But despite widespread corruption among public service officials, Nigerians are yet to see any official sanctioned.
A top official of the CCB, who did not want his name mentioned in print, said that despite the many cases piled up by the bureau, the tribunal had not sat in a long time, as it now had only one member.
“The Code of Conduct Tribunal requires three or a minimum of two members to sit. At the moment, there is just one member, who is now acting chairman of the tribunal. The federal government must look into this and appoint more members and this is very important,” the source said.