Anti Corruption: CCB Moves To Block 200 Accounts Under Investigation
…To Go Full Automation Soon
… We’ve Secured 809 Convictions in 10 Months – Magu
…Corruption Now Driven Under Table – Minister
By Emmanuel Elebeke
The Chairman of the Code of Conduct Bureau, Prof. Mohammed Isah says the agency is working with the office of the Attorney General of the federation to block about 200 accounts under investigation.
Prof. Isa disclosed this on Thursday at the Special Townhall meeting on the Fight Against Corruption organized by the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture and the National Orientation Agency, NOA in Abuja.
He said the idea behind the proposed blockage of the said accounts is to ensure no further debit on them pending their final determination.
The CCB Chairman explained that the agency had so far investigated 168 cases and filled 75 cases at the tribunal, while about 100 cases were still pending.
According to him, about N40 billion is involved in the over 200 cases being investigated, which if successfully prosecuted and convicted at the end of the day will benefit the federal government.
Prof. Isah further revealed that the CCB is working seriously to improve its relationship with the Code of Conduct Tribunal to fast track the prosecution of cases, noting that ‘‘We have reached an understanding that all the cases that are pending both the ones we met when we came in and the ones we have been able to file will be fast tracked to have an accelerated hearing to ensure timely prosecution of the cases.’’
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‘‘Have investigated 168 cases, filled 75 cased at the tribunal about 100 cases pending. Amount involved in over 200 cases investigated is N40 billion which if successfully prosecuted and convicted at the end of the day, the federal government will benefit. We are working with the office of the Attorney General of the federation to block those accounts with no debit further
‘‘We have improved our collaboration with other anti corruption agencies like the EFCC and ICPC. We realized the need to team up to fight a common enemy which is corruption so we opened our doors to sister agencies and collaborators because CCB serve as a data bank considering that any investigation to be made especially when it has to do with a public officer requires a knowledge of assets he has declared if at all he has declared his asset and if he has not declared his assets, that is another point for Code of Conduct Bureau to take over from there in the course of investigation.’’
He said one of the challenge facing the agency is that it is not automated, but said he had the commitment of the presidency, public institutions and donor agencies to ensure full automation of the operations processes and procedures of the CCB.
When this is done, he said, ‘‘public officers can easily be monitored and we will have the information of all public officers at our finger tip and we will be able to track the activities of individual public officers in the country so that prevention that CCT is set to achieve in the fight against Corruption will be achieved. Corruption has done so much damage to the country. We need a Nigeria where people will apply for jobs and get it on merit.
‘‘This is the only area where the principle of double jeopardy does not apply. When a person violates the code of Conduct, and has been prosecuted and convicted, still another prosecuting agency can investigate him with the same facts and take him to court and the principle of double jeopardy will not apply. It will help us in many ways if we close the gap to fight corruption,’’ he said.
In his address, the Chairman of Economic and Financial Crime Commission, EFCC, mallam Ibrahim Magu said the EFCC had secured 809 convictions between January to October 2019.
He said one of the most effective strategy of fighting corruption is to bring everybody on board, saying that, ‘fighting corruption is not only the role of security agencies but fir every law enforcement agency. We are collaborating with other law enforcement agency in the fight against corruption.
‘‘Corruption is entrenched in all sectors. But in the last four years, proven that this monster can be tamed. All that is needed is courage and determination.
We have agreed to make a presentation to the Committee of Ministers of ECOWAS to execute and bring money hidden in foreign countries. Yahoo yahoo boys are now in neighbouring countries like Ghana and Dubai. We have been able to bring sanity into the area of vote buying,’’ said Magu.
In his address, the minister of Information and Culture, Alh. Lai Mohammed said that ‘corruption has now been driven under the table, and that the corrupt ones can no longer flaunt the proceeds of their corruption the way they used to do in the past.’
He noted that the war against corruption is a war of survival for Nigeria because the success of the other key programmes of the government, revamping the economy and tackling insecurity, is closely intertwined with how well the nation is able to fight corruption.
‘‘The fight against corruption is one of the three cardinal programmes of the Administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, with the others being the war against insecurity and the revamping of the economy.
‘‘This is not the first time Nigeria is fighting the canker-worm of corruption, but it is the first time that the fight is being backed by a strong political will, with a President renowned for his honour, dignity and incorruptibility personally leading the fight.
‘‘I want to reiterate that the anti-corruption war is not Buhari’s war, It is Nigeria’s war, hence the need for every citizen to support it. Part of the efforts to win the support of Nigerians is to carry them along every inch of the way. By this Townhall meeting with stakeholders, we can all be on the same page as far as this war of survival is concerned.
‘‘For as long as the nation fails to check corruption, tackling insecurity and the revamping the economy will remain a mirage. In other words, the fight against corruption is pivotal to the success of the other cardinal programmes of the Administration.’’
Also in own remarks, the Special Assistant to President on Anti-Corruption, Prof. Itse Sagay, who was represented by Prof. Sadiq Radda said he is interfacing with the anti-corruption agencies 8in the area of information sharing, bearing in mind that duplication efforts will amount to wasting resources.
He called on lawyers and judges to assist them in the fight against corruption, adding that ‘those invited in crime should not benefit from the proceeds of crime in line with the global best practice. That is why we go after the properties.’
‘‘We have restated that corruption is a trans-border crime. The committee developed a lot of materials. As an advisory body, we have done many things that are visible, we have also done things that are not visible, that alone is for the President.
‘‘We have done well, but we are not where are supposed to be. So the battle against corruption continues. All manners of corruption happen because of laxities in our professions. Lawyers and judges should assist us in the fight against corruption. The global standard practice is that those invited in crime should not benefit from the proceeds of crime. That is why we go after the properties.
‘‘Europe and South Africa is now becoming tough for people, they now take the loots to areas like Rwanda. We want to appeal to countries harboring resources stolen from Nigeria to return them. We have a duty to ensure that as a country, we will quarrel with them to get our money back,’’ he added.
In his own submission, the Special Assistant to the Attorney General of the Federation, AGF (Financial Crimes), Abiodun Ayodeji said the Federal Government has so far recovered over N200 billion.
Other dignitaries present at the event include: the Minister of Sports, Sunday dare, Minister of State for Environment, IGP of Police, Comptroller General of Customs and other.