SERAP To Sue CCB Over Assets Declaration By Successive Presidents, Governors

SERAP Threatens To Sue UI, AAUA Over Increased Fees

 

Human rights group the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), has condemned the decision of the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) to deny its request demanding specific details of assets declaration submitted to it by successive Presidents and State Governors since 1999.

The Bureau reportedly based its denial on the argument that releasing such information would amount to an invasion of privacy of Presidents and state Governors since an asset declaration form is private information.

SERAPs Deputy Director, Kolawole Oluwadare, insisted in a statement that the denial for a Freedom of Information is contrary to the fact that Presidents and Governors are public officers and a breach of settled constitutional and international principles.

Freedom of Information is a fundamental right. The contents of asset declarations by successive presidents and state governors do not amount to private information, as presidents and governors are public officers under part II, fifth schedule to the 1999 constitution.

READ ALSO: Ganduje Gives Details Of N6.8bn Allegedly Swallowed By Gorilla In Kano Zoo

Following the denial, the group has threatened to challenge the decision by the CCB in court.

Declarations of assets are constitutional commitments imposed only on public officers, and made by virtue of occupying entrusted public positions and offices. Therefore, details provided in any such asset declaration forms are public information, and not private information.

Also, the National Assembly, having been constitutionally vested with power by paragraph 3[c], Third Schedule to the 1999 Nigerian Constitution, to make laws on this subject matter, has since prescribed the mode for inspection of asset declarations by the passage of Freedom of Information Act in 2011.

That’s why we’re going to court to challenge the decision by the CCB denying our FOI request, and refusing to provide details of asset declarations by presidents and state governors since the return of democracy in 1999. Make no mistake: The CCBs refusal to disclose these details is a breach of settled constitutional and international principles, plain and simple, SERAP added.

CCB in a letter by its Chairman Dr. Muhammed Isah, stated that: Paragraph 3(c) of the 3rd Schedule to the 1999 Nigerian Constitution (as amended) empowers the Bureau to retain custody of asset declaration and make them available for inspection by any citizen on such terms and conditions to be prescribed by the National Assembly. These terms and conditions are yet to be prescribed.

Assuming the Freedom of Information Act is the term and condition, Sections 12(1) (v) and 14(1) (b) of the Act makes information in the asset declaration form private and producing such information would be an invasion of privacy of presidents and governors. Section 14(2)(3) of the same Act stipulate conditions for granting requests for private information but these have not been met by SERAPs application.

Consequently, I am further directed to convey to you that the request in SERAPs application for information on details of asset declarations by presidents and state governors since the return of democracy in 1999 is hereby denied on the grounds that it falls short of the requirement of the law. Please accept the assurances of the highest esteem of the Chairman CCB.

SERAP Writes CCB, Seeks Details Of Asset Declarations Of Presidents, Governors From 1999 Till Date

SERAP Threatens To Sue UI, AAUA Over Increased Fees

 

The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has written to the chairman of the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) Muhammed Isah, seeking details of asset declarations of Presidents and state governors from 1999 till date.

In a statement by SERAP’s Deputy Director, Kolawole Oluwadare, the group is seeking information on the “details of asset declarations by successive presidents and state governors between 1999 and 2019, including details of declarations made immediately after taking offices and thereafter, and for those who have left public offices, at the end of their term of office.”

“Information is also sought on the number of asset declarations so far verified by the CCB and the number of those declarations found to be false and deemed to be in breach of the Code of Conduct for Public Officers, by the Bureau,” the statement read in part.

While commending the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) judgment by on Justice Walter Onnoghen, SERAP, however, appealed for the enforcement of constitutional provisions on asset declarations by public officers.

According to the group, this is to cover elected officers and to vigorously pursue the prosecution of any such officers.

“While judicial corruption is bad, the level of corruption involving many politicians since 1999 and the entrenched culture of impunity of perpetrators is equally appalling. Publishing the asset declarations of elected public officers since the return of democracy in 1999 to date would improve public trust in the ability of the Bureau to effectively discharge its mandates. This would, in turn, put pressure on public officers like presidents and state governors to make a voluntary public declaration of their assets.

“SERAP is concerned that many politicians hide behind the fact that members of the public do not have access to their asset declarations to make false declarations and to cover up assets illegally acquired in corruption or abuse of office. The CCB can use the opportunity presented by the Onnoghen judgment to increase the accountability of politicians through the asset declaration provisions if it is not to be accused of witch-hunting the judiciary.

“The grim condition of many of our citizens since 1999 has been worsened by the deterioration of public services whereby access to clean water and affordable health-care has become a pipe dream and the supply of electricity became epileptic and irregular due to years of grand corruption by many politicians at the highest level of government.

“We would be grateful if the requested information is provided to us within 14 days of the receipt and/or publication of this letter. If we have not heard from you by then, the Registered Trustees of SERAP shall take all appropriate legal action under the Freedom of Information Act to compel you to comply with our request.

“The persistent refusal by successive presidents and state governors to make public their asset declarations is entirely inconsistent with the letter and spirit of the 1999 Constitution and has been particularly harmful to the country and its people, especially given the widespread evidence of grand corruption among politicians holding public offices in Nigeria.

“The Nigerian Constitution of 1999 (as amended) seeks to prevent corruption and abuse of office through its provisions on the declaration of assets not just by judicial officers but by all public officers including elected officers like presidents and governors”.

SERAP believes that while elected public officers may not be constitutionally obliged to publicly declare their assets, the Freedom of Information Act 2011 has now provided the mechanism for the CCB to improve transparency and accountability of asset declarations by elected public officers.

While stating that asset declaration forms are public documents within the meaning of section 109 of the Evidence Act, it noted that Nigerians are entitled to have access to such information.

“By Section 1 (1) of the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act 2011, SERAP is entitled as of right to request for or gain access to information, including information on the asset declarations by elected public officers since the return of democracy in 1999.”

It further noted that provisions on the declaration of assets by all public officers in Nigeria are entrenched in the Code of Conduct for Public Officers, contained in Part I of the Fifth Schedule to the 1999 Nigerian Constitution. The primary objective is to prevent corruption and abuse of office and to ensure transparency in public officers.

“SERAP also notes that public officers for the purposes of the Code include the President and the Vice-President of the Federation, state governors and their deputies; the President and Deputy-President of the Senate, the Speaker and Deputy-Speaker of the House of Representatives and Speakers, the Chief justice of Nigeria, justices of the Supreme Court, the President and justices of the Court of Appeal, and other judicial officers and all staff of courts of law.”

SERAP, therefore, urged the CCB to:

1. Disclose including by publishing on a dedicated website, details of asset declarations submitted by presidents and state governors since the return of democracy in 1999.

2. Disclose details on the number of asset declarations so far verified by the CCB and the number of those declarations found to be false and deemed to be a breach of the Code of Conduct for Public Officers by the Bureau.

3. Immediately take cases of false asset declarations to the Code of Conduct Tribunal for the effective prosecution of suspects, and include banning the politicians involved from holding public offices for at least a period of 10 years and seeking a refund of stolen public funds as part of the reliefs to be sought before the Tribunal

Tribunal Orders CCB Director To Appear As Witness For Onnoghen

Second Prosecution Witness Testifies In Onnoghen’s Trial At CCT
Suspended Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen (file)

 

The Code of Conduct Tribunal has ordered a director of the Code of Conduct Bureau to appear as a witness for Justice Walter Onnoghen in his ongoing trial for alleged non-declaration of assets.

CCT Chairman, Justice Danladir Umar, ordered Mrs Theresa Nwafor – Director of the CCB in Benin – to appear before the tribunal on Wednesday by 10 am, following a request by Justice Onnoghen’s counsel.

The tribunal had on Friday dismissed Justice Onnoghen’s no-case submission, insisting he had a case to answer and ordered him to open his defence on Monday.

At the resumed sitting, Justice Onnoghen’s counsel, Adegboyega Awomolo, said the proceedings from Friday’s hearing had not been made available to the defence.

READ ALSOAlleged False Assets Declaration: Onnoghen To Call CCB Director As Witness

He then made a request for Mrs Theresa Nwafor to be subpoenaed to appear as a witness for the CJN, a position the prosecution counsel did not object to.

In his ruling, the Chairman of the Tribunal granted the request and ordered her to be at the tribunal on Wednesday by 10 am.

Meanwhile, a second witness Lawal Busari had taken the witness stand on behalf of Justice Onnoghen.

The witness, a staff member of the Supreme Court, told the tribunal he is a driver to the CJN.

He further narrated to the tribunal how he was sent by the CJN to collect the asset declaration form on his behalf and that the CCB gave him a receipt to that effect.

When the counsel to the CJN sought to tender the said receipt, the prosecution objected to the move.

The tribunal, however, admitted the receipt.

Continuing with his testimony, the witness said he submitted the forms at the CCB after the CJN had filled it. The witness said he filled his own form and was issued a receipt as well.

Again, when the defence counsel attempted to tender the receipt of the witness, the move was objected to by the prosecutor who said it was not relevant to the case.

The defence counsel insisted that the action of the witness is relevant to the case of the CJN, but the chairman of the Tribunal agreed with the prosecutor and rejected the receipt.

Under cross-examination, the prosecutor asked the witness why he was looking at a small white paper during his testimony in chief.

The witness replied that he wasn’t looking at any paper.

He was now asked if he wrote on the paper and if the paper contained facts which he gave evidence on. The witness said what was written on the paper was about himself.

The defence counsel did not object to the admissibility of the piece of paper as evidence.

Court Issues Arrest Warrant Against CCB Chairman

 

Justice Mario Mohammed of the Kaduna State High Court has issued a warrant of arrest against the Chairman of the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB), for contempt.

The judge issued the arrest warrant against the CCB chairman on Friday following his failure to honour several summons by the court in a suit between Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufa’i and Today’s Publishing Company Limited, and one other person.

Justice Mohammed granted the approval based on the application filed by counsel to Today’s Publishing Company Limited, Publishers of The Union Newspapers, Mr J.N. Egwuonwu (SAN), during the continuation of defence at some previous sittings.

READ ALSO: Senator Umar Appeals Court Ruling Sacking Him As Niger East APC Candidate

A warrant form obtained from the court directs that the police authorities should arrest the CCB Chairman and produce him before the court on February 13, 2019.

In its preliminary application, Today Publishing company, the publishers of The Union Newspaper, prayed the court to subpoena the CCB Chairman to produce assets declaration of Governor El-Rufai in court after several failed efforts it made to obtain it from the CCB.

Governor El-Rufai had in July 2015, approached the Kaduna state High Court over a report carried by the Union newspaper in which it allegedly stated that he had declared N90 billion in his CCB assets declaration form.

CCT Fixes Feb 4 For Justice Onnoghen’s Trial

Tribunal Not Bound To Obey High, Industrial Court Orders – CCT Chairman
Justice Umar Danladi Justice Walter Onnoghen

 

The Code of Conduct Tribunal has fixed February 4 for the resumption of alleged non-asset declaration trial against Justice Walter Onnoghen, the Chief Justice of Nigeria. 

This was contained in a statement issued on Thursday by Ibraheem Al-Hassan, the Heads, (Press & Public Relations), Code of Conduct Tribunal.

READ ALSO: Onnoghen’s Suspension: Rule Of Law, Constitution Must Be Respected, CCJA Insists

Below is the full statement.


“Press Statement

Conduct Tribunal Fixes 4th February for resumption of alleged Non asset declaration trial against Hon. Justice Walter Onnoghen.

Following Court of Appeal ruling yesterday on the trial against Chief Justice of Nigeria, Hon. Justice Onnoghen Nkanu Walter, on alleged non declaration of asset before Code of Conduct Tribunal is hereby fixed for Monday, 4th of February, 2019.

The decision was reached today sequel to a correspondent from Code of Conduct Bureau, applying for the resumption of trial of the case captioned; Application for resumption of trial of the case of FRN V. Hon. Justice Onnoghen Nkanu Walter Samuel case No: CCT/ABJ/01/19, addressed to Hon. Chairman Code of Conduct Tribunal, dated 30th January, 2019, jointly signed by Musa Ibrahim Usman (Esq) and Fatima Danjuma Ali (Esq).

The request reads in part; “The above subject refers. This case came up for hearing of preliminary objection to the jurisdiction of the Tribunal on the 28th of January, 2019 but the Tribunal could not proceed due to the tendency of the case at the Court of Appeal.

“However, in the wake of this afternoon, 30th January, 2019 the Court of Appeal has thrown out the appeal.

“Consequently on the above, we urge the Honourable Tribunal to give us a date for resumption of the trial subject to the convenience of the Tribunal, Most obliged my Lord.

Ibraheem Al-Hassan,
Heads, (Press & Public Relations),
Code of Conduct Tribunal Headquarters,
Abuja.
January 31st, 2019.”


The CCT’s latest step comes barely a day after an Appeal Court in Abuja dismissed a suit filed by the suspended Chief Justice of Nigeria, seeking a stay of execution on his on-going trial at the Code of Conduct Tribunal.

Ruling on the matter, Justice Abdul Aboki rejected the appeal, saying that the injunction is spent and the case at the CCT can continue.

The appellate court held that Justice Onnoghen’s application runs contrary to section 306 of the Administration of the Criminal Justice Act 2015 (ACJA).

Justice Aboki who read the lead ruling cited a case of Dr Bukola Saraki in which Justice Onnoghen himself at the Supreme Court declined to stay trial of Saraki on the same ground that section 306 of the new law, did not permit the stay of criminal trial.

Full Charges Against CJN, Justice Walter Onnoghen

CJN Decries Delay In Justice Delivery
Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen (file)

 

The Code of Conduct Tribunal has said it would commence the trial of Justice Walter Onnoghen on Monday, January 14, on six charges.

According to the CCT the charges were filed before it by the Code of Conduct Bureau, based on a petition signed by the Executive Secretary of the anti-corruption research data-based initiative, Dennis Aghanya.

READ ALSO: South-South Governors Call Emergency Meeting Over Planned Trial Of Justice Onnoghen

The six charges, bordering on the alleged failure of the CJN to declare his assets and operating a domiciliary account, can be found below:

PHOTOS: Buhari Inaugurates CCB Chairman, NPC Members

 

President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday inaugurated the Chairman of the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB), Muhammed Isah, as well as its members.

He also inaugurated members of the National Population Commission (NPC).

The CCB has six members while the NPC has 23 members.

See the full list of members here.

See Photos Below.

Buhari Inaugurates CCB Chairman, NPC Members

File Photo: President Muhammadu Buhari

 

 

President Muhammadu Buhari has inaugurated the chairman and members of the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) and also members of the National Population Commission (NPC).

The President on Wednesday appointed Muhammed Isah, as the Chairman of the Code of Conduct Bureau, (CCB).

Mr Isah hails from Jigawa State representing the North West zone.

The CCB consists of six members who are Murtala Aliyu Kankia from Katsina (North West), Emmanuel Enu Attah from Cross River (South-South), Ubolo Okpanachi from Kogi (North Central), Ken Madaki Alkali from Nasarawa (North Central), Prof. S.F. Ogundare from Oyo (South West) and Saad Abubakar from Gombe (North East), respectively.

While the NPC has 23 members with an existing chairman.

The NPC members are Nwanne Johnny Nwabuisi (Abia), Dr Clifford Zirra (Adamawa), Mr Chidi Christopher Ezeoke(Anambra), Barrister Isa Audu Buratai (Borno), Navy Captain Charles Iyam Ogwa (rtd) (Cross River), Sir Richard Odibo(Delta), Okereke Darlington Onuabuchi (Ebonyi) and Mr A.D. Olusegun Aiyajina (Edo).

Others are Ejike Ezeh (Enugu), Hon. Abubakar Mohammed Danburam (Gombe), Prof. Uba S.F. Nnabue (Imo), Dr. Abdulmalik Mohammed Durunguwa (Kaduna), Sulaiman Ismaila Lawal (Kano), Prof. Jimoh Habibat Isah (Kogi), Dr. Sa’adu Ayinla Alanamu (Kwara), Nasir Isa kwarra (Nasarawa).

Also on the list are Barrister Aliyu Datti (Niger), Yeye (Mrs) Seyi Adererinokun Olusanya (Ogun), Prince Oladiran Garvey Iyantan (Ondo), Senator Mudashiru Oyetunde Hussain (Osun), Mrs Cecilia Arsun Dapoet ()Plateau, Dr. Ipalibo Macdonald Harry (Rivers), Sale S. Saany (Taraba)

The inauguration was held before the commencement of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting.

 

SERAP Asks CCB, ICPC To Probe Okorocha Over N1bn Statues

The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, (SERAP) has called on the Acting Chairman of the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB), Dr. Muhammad Isah and the Acting Chairman of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), Prof. Bolaji Owasanoye, to “jointly investigate allegations of incompatibility, apparent conflict of interest situation, and abuse of office involving Governor Rochas Okorocha, of Imo State.

According to SERAP, this is in connection with the exercise of his public functions and leadership of the Rochas Okorocha Foundation, to collaborate with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), “in any such investigation.”

The organization said that “Such investigation would help to improve public confidence in public authorities, and minimize the risks of bad government by public officials.”

In the petition dated 10 November 2017 and signed by SERAP executive director Adetokunbo Mumuni the organization expressed “serious concern that Governor Okorocha may have spent over N1billion of public funds to build statues of South African President Jacob Zuma and Liberian President Mrs Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf.”

SERAP says, “the spending on statues and apparent misuse of public resources may have violated constitutional provisions and international standards on code of conduct for public officers. The initiatives cannot be justified under any circumstances whatsoever, especially at a time when Imo state is unable or unwilling to pay teachers’ salaries and pensioners’ entitlements.”

The petition copied to Ibrahim Magu Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) read in part: “Inviting Zuma and Johnson-Sirleaf to attend the opening of his Foundation and then ‘honouring’ them with statues suggests abuse of office and apparent conflict of interest situation, as such acts were undertaken by Governor Okorocha in the exercise of his public functions to presumably promote and advance the commercial and other interests of the Foundation.”

“SERAP believes that rather than serving the common interest of the public, spending over N1 billion possibly of public funds on Zuma and Johnson-Sirleaf in the context of their participation in the opening of the Rochas Okorocha Foundation would seem to put Governor Okorocha in a conflict of interest situation.”

“SERAP notes that the Nigerian Constitution 1999 (as amended) and UN Convention against Corruption to which Nigeria is a state party prohibit conflict of interests and set ethical standards for public officers. Indeed, both the Constitution and the Convention require public officers to abstain from all acts that may compromise the exercise of their public office and functions, or are inconsistent with their entrusted positions.”

“Public officers also must discharge their public duties truthfully and faithfully, abide by the constitutional code of conduct, observe the primacy of public interest, and not allow their personal interest to influence their official conduct.”

“The CCB and ICPC should carry out joint investigation in collaboration with the EFCC of the allegations of conflict of interest, abuse of office and apparent misuse of public funds by Governor Okorocha. SERAP also urges the CCB and ICPC to prosecute Governor Okorocha after leaving office if there is relevant and sufficient admissible evidence of abuse of public office against him.”

“Conflict of interest represents a situation where the person exercising a public function has a personal interest of patrimonial or commercial nature, which could influence the objective fulfilment of the duties incumbent on public officers under the Constitution and international standards.”

“Conflict of interest arises from a situation in which a public official has a private interest which is such as to influence or appear to influence the impartial and objective nature of his or her official duties in order to promote private interests, which would be contrary to the public interest.”

“According to reports, Governor Okorocha recently hosted two African presidents—South African President Jacob Zuma and Liberian President Mrs Ellen Johnson-Sirleafand built statues in Owerri to ‘honour’ them. The statues reportedly cost over N1 billion to build. Further, a Memorandum of Understanding between the Zuma Foundation and the Rochas Foundation was signed, while Mrs Johnson-Sirleaf visited the newly established Rochas Foundation College of Africa (ROFOCA).”

My Vindication Calls For Celebration, Says Saraki

Senate President Dr Bukola Saraki has hailed the verdict of Code of Conduct Tribunal, dismissing the charges of false declaration of assets against him.

Dr Saraki said the verdict of the CCT offered Nigerians a reason to celebrate as it showed that the judiciary remains a sanctuary for all those who seek justice.

“After undergoing the crucible of a tortuous trial, my vindication today calls for celebration,” the Senate President said in a statement.

“It is my belief however that if there should be any celebration at all, it should be a celebration of the hopes that this judgment gives us as citizens that despite all the challenges that we face as a country, we are well on our way to building a country where the innocent needs not be afraid.”

The Senate President also said that he bore no grudge against all those behind what he described as his persecution.

He said, “On a personal note, I harbour no grudge against anyone, regardless of the role they might have played in the persecution that I had endured in the last two years.

“I believe that If my trial had in any way given hope to the common man that no matter the forces arraigned against him, he can still get justice in our courts, then my tribulation had not been in vain.”

Dr Saraki, who said he had been confident of victory throughout the trial which started in 2015, explained that the outcome also renewed confidence in the nation’s judiciary.

He said, “You would recall that at the beginning of the trial, I maintained that I will clear my name. The conclusion of this trial has vindicated my position.

“With the outcome of this case, our faith is renewed in our courts and our hope is restored that the judiciary in our country could indeed provide sanctuary for all those who seek justice.”

He thanked God for making his victory possible and expressed gratitude to his family and colleagues in the National Assembly as well as his supporters and legal team, who he said ensured that justice was served.

He added, “Now that this distraction is over, we can even achieve so much more. We must now proceed from here with greater vigour to deliver on the expectations of Nigerians and show that this 8th Senate can indeed play a central role in improving the quality of lives of our people. “

Judge Queries Use Of Public Funds To Buy Vehicles For Politicians

Court Jails Two Men For Selling IDP Food In BornoThe Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) Judge, Hon. Justice Agwadza William Atedze, has queried the use of public funds to buy vehicles for politicians.

The Justice counselled Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) to research the issues, “To see how best we can reconcile our social and cultural values viz-a-viz the entire war against corruption and advise our policymakers accordingly.”

Justice Atedze said this on Wednesday at the launch of SERAP’s latest report titled Combating Grand Corruption and Impunity in Nigeria: An Agenda for Institutional Reforms in Anti-Corruption Strategies.

The report is published under a project to promote justice sector and anti-corruption oversight mechanism reform, which SERAP is undertaking in collaboration with the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), USA.Alleged Corruption: SERAP Writes Buhari Over SGF's Case

Apart from Justice Atedze who represented the Chairman of the CCT, Hon. Justice Danladi Yakubu Umar at the report launch, other anti-corruption agencies that attended the event were the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC); the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) and the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB).

Mr. Dauda Joki-Lasisi, Head of Procurement and Fraud Section of the EFCC who represented the agency at the report launch said that, “The fight against corruption can be likened to an allegory of a giant in the midst of ants, as little as an ant is, it may not be able to wear the trouser of a giant, but will remove it.”

The Head of ICPC Lagos Office Mr Olufemi Nofiu; and Mr T. Collins who represented the Chairman of the CCB, Mr Sam Saba echoed similar sentiments, promising to “Do anything and everything within their powers to curb corruption in the country in its entirety.”

All the anti-graft agencies renewed their commitment to work even harder to end the problem of grand corruption in the country and end its devastating consequences.

Chairman of the report launch Barrister Babatunde Ogala said that “Corruption is simply a way of life for us all, it is deep when you steal as a religious institution, you are as corrupt as any Nigerian. In my opinion, corruption is both cultural and religious, corruption is as big as this country, the way of curbing it, is by changing our national orientation.”

Barrister Ogala, who was former Chairman of the Lagos State House of Assembly Committee on Judiciary, also said that “The EFCC ought to have offices even at the local government level. The society itself encourages and invests in corruption. As a legislator, I was constantly measured by what I did for individuals and not by the amount of law making I engaged in.”

The report contains several recommendations among which is the call to the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Hon Justice Walter Onnoghen, to “Ensure that all judges fully utilise the provisions of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA) in the hearing of grand corruption cases before them.”

Among other key recommendations, the report urges Justice Onnoghen to “Ensure that judges, in situations where the ACJA rules apply, are made to follow the dictates of these innovative statutory interventions or face disciplinary action, and to incorporate into ongoing judicial training these crucial statutes and procedures as well as include the ACJA as part of the mandatory continuing legal education for all judges in Nigeria.”

The report also recommends that the Chief Justice and all other judges should also periodically disclose and publish their assets. The Chief Justice should promote full independence for the National Judicial Council including by allowing retired judges of proven integrity to lead the council.

Alleged False Asset Declaration: Saraki’s Trial Resumes At CCB

Saraki, trial, Ccode of conduct tribunalA witness from the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB), Mr Samuel Madojemu, has admitted to not having a formal report of investigation on the verification exercise carried out on the assets of the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki.

This was made know at the resumed trial of Senator Saraki over alleged false declaration of assets, on Wednesday.

Mr Madojemu read out the list of assets declared by Senator Saraki and those of his wife and children when he held office as Kwara state governor and upon his assumption of office as a senator.

He told the tribunal, led by Mr Danladi Umar, that the Senate President’s case was the only one ever investigated without a written report because the exercise was carried out by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

He therefore admitted that his own role and that of the CCB, were limited to the review of the EFCC report and that the CCB only compared the asset forms of Saraki with the findings of the commission.

The witness added that no formal report was written because the directive to probe the assets, was received orally.

Lawyers to the Senate leader, however, insisted that the witness lacked the ground to testify against him having failed to participate in the investigation exercise.

The prosecutor, Mr Rotimi Jacobs, on the other hand dismisses the objection of the defence team, saying that he had more witnesses to prove his case.

The tribunal subsequently adjourned proceedings to April 5, for re-examination of the witness by the prosecution.