*Empower CCTs, Amend Law for Effective Asset Declaration – HEDA
The foremost Human Rights Lawyer and Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Femi Falana, SAN has advocated for the establishment of regional Code of Conduct Tribunals to prosecute infractions arising from asset declaration by public office holders.
Falana made the call while presenting a keynote address virtually via Zoom during the 32nd Anti-Corruption Situation Room (ACSR) organized by the Human and Environmental Development Agenda, HEDA resource centre supported by the MacArthur Foundation.
The learned silk said the regional CCTs would take care of the current scenario where only two to three judges preside over the CCT and handle infractions from the entire country.
According to him, “The Code of Conduct Bureau is underfunded. And it operates under the canopy of the Attorney General of the Federation. There is no provision for it under the constitution. It is supposed to be an independent body, well funded with adequate staff around the country. But right now, the body is not deliberately allowed to work and perform its constitutional duties.
“It is the same thing with the Code of Conduct Tribunal CCT. There is no way you can have only two or three judges that will cover 36 states and FCT in terms of prosecuting those who breach the exercise of asset declaration by Code of Conduct Bureau, CCB.
“We should have regional CCTs. We can’t have three people sitting in Abuja adjudicating overall infractions from the entire country.
“The CCB can also collate information with regards to declaration of assets online instead of travelling round the 36 states since we have many examinations and interviews conducted online successfully,” he suggested.
In his welcome address, the Chairman of the Human and Environmental Development Agenda, HEDA, Mr. Suraju Olanrewaju frowned at the present condition of the Code of Conduct Tribunal, CCT which he said is in a comatose state.
He called for the empowering of the tribunal to effectively and efficiently perform its constitutional duties or for the National Assembly to commence a process of amending the law to have properly constituted mechanisms for the prosecution of infractions arising from asset declaration.
Olanrewaju said, “We are concerned about the CCT being in a comatose state and that is why you have not seen any media report around anything happening within CCT. And that is a very key constitutional instrument meant to deter people from illicitly acquiring assets outside the means of their legitimate earnings. But it is completely missing in the whole anti-corruption effort. And it gives room for people to get away with egregious acts. We are displeased with the situation.
“We either have a properly constituted and effective and efficient CCT or we urge the National Assembly to commence a process of amending the law to have properly constituted mechanisms for the prosecution of infractions arising from asset declaration,” Mr. Olanrewaju however stated.
In attendance at the event were representatives from Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Independent Corrupt Practices and Other related offences Commission, ICPC, Code of Conduct Bureau, CCB, Code of Conduct Tribunal, CCT, Kano State Public Complaints and Anti-Corruption Commission, PCACC, Civil Society Organizations and Media.
The post Falana SAN Advocates Regional CCTs To Prosecute Breach of Asset Declaration appeared first on TheNigeriaLawyer.
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