362,112 public office holders yet to declare assets — CCB

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*Names will be forwarded to CCB tribunal for prosecution

By Ikechukwu Nnochiri

ABUJA—The Code of Conduct Bureau, CCB, yesterday, disclosed that over 362,112 public officers, comprising chief executives and political office holders it invited to present their personal assets for verification refused to do so.
Consequently, the bureau said  it had concluded plans to forward their names to the Code of Conduct Tribunal for prosecution.

Chairman of the Bureau, Mr Sam Saba, who made the revelation while briefing the media yesterday, said though a total of 867, 378 public officers were issued Assets Declaration Forms for completion, only 505, 266 persons complied and submitted their assets for verification.

Saba maintained that those whose personal assets were currently under intense scrutiny include ministers, state governors, deputy governors, secretaries to state governments, commissioners and other top functionaries of federal, state and local governments.

Besides, CCB, yesterday,  said it would not hesitate to take legal action against any of them found to have falsified his personal assets, stressing that “any statement in such declaration that is found to be false by any authority or persons authorized in that behalf to verify it, shall be deemed to be a breach of the code.”

Consequently, Saba, who, warned that every political office holder should come forward for his assets to be verified, if he had nothing to hide, said “if they fail to do so, CCB will be forced to forward such cases to the Tribunal for prosecution.”

He said the Bureau received and considered a total of 278 petitions within the year under review, out of which it investigated 67 petitions, kept 40 in view, closed 96 petitions, referred 19 to its legal department for advice, 11 to other agencies, while 30 petitions were currently under investigation and 15 petitions pending.

Saba said: “In the exercise of its power to enforce its mandate, CCB, within the period under review, prosecuted 371 public officers for breaches of the Code of Conduct for Public Officers. Out of this number, 10 public officers were convicted, 293 cases were struck out, discharged or acquitted, while 68 cases are still pending at the tribunal.

“Inadequate funding has been and is still a major challenge inhibiting the effective and efficient discharge of CCB’s mandate.”

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