A group, the registered trustees of the Nigerian Institute of Estate Surveyors and Valuers (NIESV), has filed a suit against the Federal Government and the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) before a Federal High Court in Abuja, challenging the propriety or otherwise of the practice of accepting assets declarations from public officers without a valuation report of experts.
The group urges the court to restrain the CCB from accepting or receiving assets declaration from public officers without a backup valuation report from NIESV.
Mr James Omeru, NIESV President, is joined as a co-plaintiff while the Attorney-General of the Federation, Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) and Mr. Sam Saba, its CCB Chairman, are joined as co-defendants in the suit marked: fhc/abj/15/653/2015.
The plaintiffs’ counsel, Mr. Ikechi Nweneka, who filed the suit on their behalf, a copy of which was made available to the Street Journal on Tuesday, contended that the practice of accepting assets declaration without a report by a registered estate surveyor and valuer to determine the real value of the assets, was in contravention of Section 3 (a) and (b) part 1 of the Third Schedule of the 1999 Constitution.
The plaintiffs seek a court declaration that the current practice whereby CCB received assets declaration from public officers without a valuation report signed by a registered estate surveyor and valuer was in contravention of Section 3 (a) and (b) of the 1999 Constitution and Section 3 (a) and (b) of the CCB and Tribunal Act.
They also seek a declaration that the combined force of Sections 2 and 15 (1) of the CCB and Tribunal Act Cap C15 and paragraph 6 (d), a valuation report of the assets of public officers signed by a registered estate surveyor and valuers is necessary for a valid assets declaration to be received by the CCB.
In a 19-paragraph affidavit in support of the originating summons, the plaintiffs averred that by law, only persons registered by the estate surveyors and valuer registration board of Nigeria have authority to value assets in Nigeria.
The affidavit deposed to by Omeru indicated that the current practice by public officers is to allocate figures to their assets without any professional input or ascertainment of the true value of the assets.
Plaintiffs averred that the practice was largely responsible for, and has heightened, corrupt practices by public officers in the country.
They also contended that the CCB has a duty to maintain a high standard morality and accountability in the conduct of government business by ensuring that the actions of public officers conformed to the highest standards of morality and accountability.
They, therefore, prayed the court to grant an order directing the CCB to henceforth request for a valuation report signed by a Valuer registered in accordance with the Estate Surveyors and Valuers Registration Act before accepting assets declaration from public officers in the country.
The case has yet to be assigned to a judge and no date has yet been fixed for its mention.