Assets Declaration As A Tool For Fighting Corruption (Part 3)

By Chief Mike Ozekhome, SAN, OFR

Last week, we discussed assets declaration, constitutional and statutory provisions for same, CCB, CCT, and ended up with discussing PMB as a Minister. Now, read this follow up.

Statutory Duty Of The CCB To Fulfil A Condition Precedent Before Arraignment

It is apposite to state here that, the CCT shall not have jurisdiction until a fundamental condition precedent is met. The condition precedent is provided for in the proviso to Section (3) (d) of the CCBT Act, which provides as follows:

The functions of the Bureau shall be to:

(d) receive complaints about non-compliance with or breach of this Act and where the Bureau considers it necessary to do so, refer such complaints to the Code of Conduct Tribunal established by section 20 of this Act in accordance with the provisions of sections 20 to 25 of this Act.

Provided that where the person concerned makes a written admission of such breach or non-compliance, no reference to the Tribunal shall be necessary.

Consequent upon the above provisions, the condition precedent of inviting the alleged offender to either make or refuse to make a written admission of the con-compliance is a condition precedent which must be satisfied to clothe the CCT with requisite jurisdiction to try such offender.

This provision was tested when Bola Tinubu, former Governor of Lagos State, sometimes in November, 2011, was charged before the CCT for operating foreign accounts between 1999 to 2007.

The case was dismissed, mainly because, aside from the fact that the charges were defective and shoddy, the accused had not been invited or confronted with the complaints, and was consequently not afforded the opportunity of admitting in writing, any non-compliance, which ordinarily robbed the CCT of its jurisdiction to try him.

I see the same scenario playing out in the Saraki’ case, on the issue of jurisdiction.

Yar’Adua’s Assets Declaration As A Good Example

Olusegun Adeniyi continued: “The dilemma of the President in the last four weeks has therefore been where to strike a balance between the well-meaning concerns of the Bureau, and following his conviction that his campaign pledge to Nigerians is a solemn commitment. Having weighed the two sides, the President has come to the conclusion that since he will not be breaking any law, he cannot go back on his promise to the nation.”

A breakdown of the President’s assets declaration showed that Yar’Adua had a total of N43,702,892.43 as cash at bank, being remuneration, savings, campaign and post-campaign contributions, lodged with the then Bank PHB. Details showed that while a total of N26,602,681.00 stood as credit at the Bank PHB, Nagogo Road , Katsina State branch; N12,000,264.21 was in the Apapa, Lagos State branch of the same bank.

Also, a total of N4,999,947.22 was at the head office of the bank in Kaduna. The President declared N7.5 million as cash in hand. This was derived from savings, campaign and post-campaign contributions. The President declared a total of N88,793,269.77 as his liabilities, being cash in Nigerian banks as loans and debit at the Imani Estate, Maitama, Abuja branch of Unity Bank Plc (formerly Intercity Bank).

These were in two accounts of N26,817,362.19 and another N61,975,907.58. Yar’Adua also declared a total assets value of N577,000,000 under buildings, vacant and undeveloped plots sections. These included the Yar’Adua family compound at Yar’Adua Quarters in Katsina State , valued at N105,000,000. This, he declared, was acquired through inheritance in November 1997.

There was also a multi-storey building at A8 Wuse 2, Abuja with total value of N212,000,000. The land was granted by the Federal Government to him in 1988. Again, there was a duplex at Malali, Kaduna State, with a value of N120,000,000. According to Yar’Adua, the building, originally a three-bedroom bungalow, was a gift from his late elder brother, Major-General Shehu Musa Yar’Adua, of blessed memory.

There was another seven-bedroom duplex at 2, Lema Jubril Close, Kaduna, valued at N90,000,000, that was built from savings in 1987. The President also declared that he had a vacant plot at Asokoro New Layout in Abuja valued at N50,000,000. This, he said was granted to him by the Federal Government in 1998. He also declared two farms worth N25,000,000 in Katsina State . They included the one at Ruwan Godiya in Faskari Local Council of Katsina State, valued at N10,000,000. This was acquired in 1982.

Another farmland and orchad was also located at Ajiwa, Batagarawa Local Council, in Katsina State and was worth N15,000,000. It was acquired in 1993. Under shares, debentures and other securities in and outside Nigeria, late President Yar’Adua declared that he had 2,000,000 units of shares of Habib Bank acquired in 1998, which was in the process of being converted to Bank PHB; 100,000 units of shares of Intercity Bank Plc also in the process of conversion to Unity Bank Plc and another 100,000 units of shares of Muradi Hotels Limited.

While disclosing that he had vehicles worth N181,250,000, the President stated that he had 29 new cars worth N174,700,000 in both Katsina and Abuja, that he described as campaign vehicles, adding that he owned a Honda Accord car worth N350,000 and a Mercedes Benz worth another N6,500,000.

Yar’Adua, who went a step further to declare the assets of his wife and First Lady, Hajiya Turai, stated that she had a total asset of N19,000,000 made up of three local houses worth N15,000,000 acquired in 1998; one twin bungalow valued at N15,000,000 located in Kofar Kaura Layout in Katsina State, acquired in 2002 and three vacant plots in Katsina acquired in 2003 worth N2,500,000. He also disclosed that household furniture in Katsina that he acquired when he was a director of Habib Bank was worth N3,000,000.

The press briefing was Adeniyi’s first at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, since his appointment three weeks earlier. He also disclosed that “the President is equally interested in discussing with the National Assembly leadership on the Freedom of Information Bill, which lapsed with the last administration, with a view to ensuring its quick passage in pursuit of his determination to instil transparency and accountability in the conduct of government business.”

Though, late Yar’adua could not see to its passage, the then Vice, Dr Goodluck Jonathan, who later became President, saw to the passage of the Bill, to become the FoI Act, 2011.

Are PMB, CCB, CCT, the Judiciary, Legislature, Executive, Senate President, Chairman and Members of the CCB, CCT, APC, PDP, Nigerians etal, reading and digesting this Sunday sermon on the mount of the Nigerian Project?

Author: NewsAdmin

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