7th December, 2010
The Code of Conduct Bureau which is saddled with the monitoring and enforcement of code of conduct of public officers on Tuesday in Abuja stated that it had undertaken the prosecution of four hundred and forty-one cases involving public officers who were alleged to have breached the code of conduct Act between May and November 2010.
The Chairman of the Bureau, Mr. Sam Saba made this disclosure in a Press Briefing where he also stated that the organization has verified a total of ninety three Asset Declaration Forms submitted by top government officials to forestall the spate of anticipatory declarations.
Mr. Saba further informed that twenty nine serving ministers were invited to the Bureau in connection with their Asset Declaration Forms while nineteen of them have also been verified. He noted that within the period under review, that a total of three thousand, four hundred and seventy seven forms have been scanned by the Bureauâ€™s Information System Center, while a total of five hundred and forty nine thousand, three hundred and eight forms have been captured at the centre.
Of the number of cases handled by the Bureau at the Code of Conduct Tribunal, the Chairman stated that 134 cases were struck out while 239 persons were discharged leaving 68 persons convicted within the period under review.
The Chairman decried the paucity of funds and manpower at the Bureau and stated that the organization requires more staff than it presently has. He said that all the 4 departments of the Bureau and its 36 state offices and the FCT currently have about 600 staff but that the Bureau requires about 1,800 staff. He stated that the board has sought for the approval of the Head of Service to employ at least 300 more staff in the interim to boast the Bureauâ€™s staff strength.
On funding, Mr. Saba stated that the essence of Asset Declaration is for the claims made by public officers to be verified and that this exercise cost money in terms of mobility and logistics which the Bureau can ill afford. He called for more funding from Government to ensure that the battle against corruption is sustained.
He further observed that the Over Head Cost of the Bureau was reduced from 418.4 million Naira in 2009 to 287.8 million Naira in 2010 and that this reduction in the allocations given to the Bureau by the Federal Government had constrained the Bureau in the performance of its functions on assets declaration, verification, investigation and public enlightenment.
By Nnamdi Felix / Abuja