The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL has commended the move by the Code of Conduct Tribunal, CCT to seize the alleged undeclared assets by the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, and Justice Sylvester Ngwuta of the Supreme Court.
According to media reports, the Senate President is being prosecuted by the Federal Government before the CCT on 18 counts bordering majorly on false assets declaration and other encroachments. Some of Saraki’s properties which are the subject of the charges preferred against him are located at 15, 17, 17A and 17B Mcdonald Street, Ikoyi, Lagos. Others are located at Plots 2481 and 2482 Cadastral Zone A06, Maitama, Abuja. He is also accused of obtaining a N375m loan from Guaranty Trust Bank Plc on February 11, 2010, which was reported that he used to purchase property in London. The Senate President was said to have failed to declare the London property.
On the other hand, Justice Ngwuta was charged on eight counts before the CCT on April 20 this year, properties, which are subject of the case, are listed in seven of the counts. The prosecution accused Ngwuta of false declaration of assets by failing to declare a parcel of land and properties in Abakaliki, Ebonyi State, as well as some luxury cars, all belonging to him, when he declared his assets to the Code of Conduct Bureau between June 2, 2011 and July 19, 2016. The Justice of the apex court is also accused in count eight of engaging in private business as a public officer.
The Executive Chairman of CACOL, Mr. Debo Adeniran, while responding to the news on behalf of CACOL said that the Centre is contented with the fact that the CCT is playing its constitutional role as expected by the masses of the people as well as exercising its power.
He said “The Code Conduct Bureau is supposed to monitor assets declaration during the entry and exit from public office, Code of Conduct Bureau has a tribunal that can try anybody, even those in power despite the so called immunity. The CCB verifies everything that is declared by an intending public official at the point of entry and do the same at the point of exit. It is also equally empowered to seize properties which any public officer refuses to declare, if a defendant is found guilty, such can either be asked to vacate the office or disqualified from holding public office for 10years.”
At CACOL, we have always clamoured that anti-corruption institutions be strengthened with human and material resources. We appreciate that the CCT is being pro-active in its role as the body charged with constitutional power to nail public officials over false assets declaration. We once call on the CCB to investigate the alleged case of false assets declaration against the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General Tukur Buratai.”
“This move by the CCT is highly impressive and we will like to see more public servants with false asset declarations being prosecuted by the agency. This will do us a whole lot of good in our cravings for transparency and Openness in governance.” Mr. Adeniran concluded