Indications emerged yesterday that the Code of Conduct Bureau, CCB, may soon re-invite 15 former governors that hitherto entered into ‘plea bargain’ with the federal government in their bid to evade prosecution.
The ex-governors had conceded to making restitution to the federal treasury, after they allegedly pleaded guilty to allegations bothering on assets falsifications, official misconduct and financial recklessness whilst in office, contrary to the laid down code of conduct for public officers in the country.
Though fifteen of them were initially listed for prosecution, however, the CCB Chairman, Mr. Sam Saba, subsequently disclosed the decision of the Bureau to drop the criminal charges against some of them who he said had restituted.
Meantime, sequel to refusal of the CCB to divulge the terms of the said restitution agreement, a coalition of non-governmental organizations, led by the Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC), yesterday, petitioned the Bureau, requesting to know the amount that was refunded to the federal government by the indicted ex-governors.
CISLAC in its petition said it uncovered that only 14 out of the fifteen governors initially found in breach of the Code of Conduct for Public Officers were left off the hook.
Invoking the Freedom of Information Act 2011, CISLAC gave the Bureau seven days within which to furnish it with details of the initial charge sheet, detailing the offences that were levelled against all the governors’ ab-initio.
CISLAC’s through its Executive Director, Mr. Auwal Musa, maintained that in the absence of information about how 14 out of the 15 governors were left out of the hook, it appeared that the bureau was deliberately being selective in the determination of whom to prosecute, noting that only the former Lagos State Governor, Bola Ahmed Tinubu is standing trial out of the other accused persons.
It would be recalled that on October 15, 2006 the Bureau indicted 15 ex-governors.
Since then, apart from Tinubu who is currently facing trial, nothing has been heard about the rest.
Chairman of the CCB, Mr. Sam Saba had in press conference last month, insisted that apart from Tinubu, other former governors and public officers were still being investigated and once the bureau was convinced that they have a case to answer, it would make public the list of those to be arraigned before the tribunal.
He however said that the bureau might not proceed against some of the ex- governors on the list because, according to him, they had made some refunds to government. He named former governor of Jigawa state, Saminu Turaki as one of those governors who had made refunds, but did not give details.