No defaulting public official will be spared from prosecution – CCB chairman

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The Chairman of the Code of Conduct Bureau, Prof. Isa Mohammed, on Thursday, vowed that no public officer found wanting in assets declaration would be spared from prosecution.
He said this while fielding questions from journalists after the opening ceremony of the 2019 CCB’s Board, Management and State Directors Retreat organised by the bureau in Abuja.
He said the three-day retreat supported by the European Union and the Rule of Law and Anti-Corruption of the British Council, was part of the moves by the CCB’s new board which was inaugurated in November 2018, to address the challenges that had made the bureau moribund for about 30 years of its existence.
The event was with the theme, ‘The role of Code of Conduct Bureau in the prevention of corruption in Nigeria.’
Mohammed was asked whether, with the recently-concluded trial of the former Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen, at the Code of Conduct Tribunal, the CCB was planning to refer more cases to the tribunal as the end of the tenures of many public officers, particularly governors, ministers and lawmakers was fast-approaching.
Responding, the CCB chairman said since he had never been a politician, nothing could stop him from prosecuting anyone found wanting.
He said, “It has always been my stance. In the first place, I am not a politician. From my background, I am an academician and I have never done any other work except legal practice and academics. These are the only two jobs I had been doing before coming to the CCB.
“As far as I am concerned, there is nothing that can stand on my way from prosecuting anybody that is found wanting.”
Asked if the CCB would address the issue of granting members of the public access to the assets declaration forms submitted to the bureau by public officers, Mohammed said, “At the end of the retreat, every bit of problem in the Code of Conduct Bureau, we are going to discuss, and we are going to see to the solutions we are going to provide.”
The CCB boss regretted that despite the constitutional powers and the Act of the parliament establishing it, the bureau had remained ineffective for over 30 years.
He said, “We want to re-strategise and reposition the CCB for effective discharge of its mandate.
“Ever since we came in, the idea of having a retreat within the board members, management and state directors had been mooted.
“We want to look at ourselves and tell ourselves the truth why the CCB has not been able to perform over the last 30 years that it has been in place.
“Since we have been talking about the issue of corruption and attacking it in Nigeria, CCB has been there.
“It was in the 1979 Constitution and restated in the 1999 Constitution. The enabling Act is there in place and other extant laws for it to implement the effective compliance with the Code of Conduct for Public Officers.”
Earlier in his opening remark, he assured that with the reform embarked upon by the new board of the bureau, the CCB was close to becoming a reference point in the anti-corruption war of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration.
He said, “At this juncture, let me re-affirm that the prospects of the CCB becoming a reference point in the anti-corruption war of the present regime are bright and within reach.
“Thus, the need for all hands to be on deck to drive this renewed impetus.
“With God on our side, the sky should not just be the limit but the stepping stone to greatness.”
Also speaking, the National Programme Manager, Rule of Law and Anti-Corruption, British Council, Mr. Danladi Plang, who described the CCB as a foremost anti-corruption agency, called on the bureau to cooperate with other sister agencies to achieve its mandate.
Presenting the CCB’s strategic objective, another official of RoLAC, Mr. Emmanuel Uche, charged the board, management and staff of the bureau to work to re-position the bureau for effective implementation of its constitutional mandates.
“Posterity will not forgive you if Nigeria remains as it is in the next couple of years, because the nation has given you the mandate to determine if Nigeria will sink or swim,” he said.
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