By Henry Umoru
ABUJA—THE Senate, yesterday, resurrected the controversial amendment of Code of Conduct Bureau, CCB, and Tribunal Act Bill.
With the Senate’s decision to amend the Act, the bill scaled through first reading yesterday.
The bill was presented in April 2016 by Senator Peter Nwaoboshi, Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Delta North, but following widespread public protest and criticism, against the backdrop of its timing for an amendment which coincided with the ongoing trial of Senate President, Bukola Saraki, by the Code of Conduct Tribunal, CCT, the move was stopped.
Those who kicked against the Bill had contended that even if there was merit in the Bill, its timing was wrong, especially as it sought to remove the CCB and CCT from the supervision of Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation.
The sponsor of the Bill insisted that it was dangerous for such an important public institution as the CCB to be left under the control of one man.
The bill, sponsored by Senate Leader, Senator Ali Ndume, and titled Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act CAP C15 LFN 2004 (Amendment) Bill, 2016 (SB 248) was among the five bills that scaled first reading yesterday.
It will be recalled that the House of Representatives had in May 2016, considered and passed some amendments to the Code of Conduct Bureau, CCB, and Code of Conduct Tribunal, CCT, Act.
Being a House Bill, promoters of the proposed legislation are seeking Senate concurrence in order to forward it to the President for assent.
The portion of the Bill which generated controversy is the amendment to Section 3 of the Act which says, “Upon complaint(s) of any breach or where it appears to the Bureau that there is a breach of the provision or this Act, the person concerned shall be given particulars of such non-compliance or breaches to explain before any reference to the tribunal.”
By amending this section, the CCB would not have powers to immediately refer a matter to the tribunal, exactly what was provided in the Act.
It is not yet known how the upper chamber will consider the referral Bill.