Asset Declaration: CCB solicits cooperation of public officers on effective verification

The Chairman, Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB), Prof. Mohammed Isah, has solicited the cooperation of public officers on effective conduct of verification of asset declaration.

Isah said this at a news conference in Abuja on Thursday that the law had made it mandatory for public officers to declare their assets before taken the oath of office.

The news conference has the theme: “CCB Assets Verification Exercise: Our Mandate, Our Objective”.

The chairman said the bureau was working toward having an independent monitoring unit that would ensure monitoring of the lifestyle of public officers.

He said that it had started developing an action plan that would lead to the establishment and implementation of the unit.

“In our efforts to discharge our mandate, CCB inaugurated nine committees to verify assets declaration of public officers.

“In the light of the above, letters were sent to the concerned public officers asking for information but response is not so far encouraging.

“Instead, we have been receiving complaints from different quarters where some public officers believe the bureau is merely targeting personalities.

“Let me use this opportunity to state clearly that the bureau as a constitutional body, will never allow itself to be used by anyone against anybody or authority.

“We are merely discharging one of our constitutional mandates. So we need to allay the fears but emphasised that the cooperation of public officers is mandatory,” he said.

On the Pandora papers, Isah said that the bureau was on top of the situation as those whose names had appeared were being investigated and if found guilty would be prosecuted accordingly.

Pandora Papers is the biggest leak of 11.9 million documents from offshore services providers, detailing the secret offshore accounts of 35 world leaders.

They include current and former presidents, prime ministers, and heads of state as well as celebrities.

He said that the bureau had received briefing on the progress of investigation process and would act accordingly.

Isah urged public officers to guard against false declaration, saying that such public officers could easily be convicted and their property confiscated by the Federal Government.

“The beautiful aspect of this is that the bureau can play its role as the constitution states.

“The principle of double jeopardy in the breach of code of conduct does not apply in the principle of criminal law.

“Once you are convicted, you are banned from contesting for office for 10 years and the president and state governors cannot permit you,” he said.

He, therefore, called for more manpower and financial resources to handle the influx of cases in the bureau. (NAN)