Jonathan/Sambo’s assets: Our hands are tied – CCBGoodluck Jonathan (2010-present), National Politics, Presidency, Top Stories Saturday, June 30th, 2012
The Chairman of the Code of Conduct Bureau, Mr. Sam Saba, has said the constitution bars the bureau from making public the asset declaration forms of President Goodluck Jonathan and Vice-President Namadi Sambo.
He said this in an interview in Abuja, on Friday.
He said the National Assembly had yet to provide the required guidelines to enable individuals or corporate entities to have access to such documents.
Saba explained that the provision of the Freedom of Information Act was in conflict with Part 1 of the Third Schedule to the 1999 Constitution (As amended).
“If you check the Third Schedule, Part 1, Section 3 (c), it did not say it (asset declaration forms) should be made available to anybody.
“It says the National Assembly shall have that responsibility to draw up guidelines that will enable members of the public to have access to such declarations.
“The guidelines for that have not been done till today. So long as it has not been done till today, you cannot have access to it. And that is just the key.”
Paragraph 3, Part I of the Third Schedule to the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as amended, provides, “The Code of Conduct Bureau shall have power to: (a) receive declarations by public officers made under paragraph 12 of Part I of the Fifth Schedule to this Constitution; (b) examine the declarations in accordance with the requirements of the Code of Conduct or any law; (c) retain custody of such declarations and make them available for inspection by any citizen of Nigeria on such terms and conditions as the National Assembly may prescribe.”
Paragraph 11 of Part I of the Fifth Schedule to the Constitution provides that: (1) Subject to the provisions of this Constitution, every public officer shall within three months after the coming into force of this Code of Conduct or immediately after taking office and thereafter — (a) at the end of every four years; and (b) at the end of his term of office, submit to the Code of Conduct Bureau a written declaration of all his properties, assets, and liabilities and those of his unmarried children under the age of 18 years.”
However, Section 2 of the Freedom of Information Act 2011, states, “Notwithstanding anything contained in any other Act, Law or Regulation, the right of any person to access or request information, whether or not contained in any written form, which is in the custody or possession of any public official, agency or institution howsoever described, is hereby established.”
The media is basing its request for access to President Jonathan and Vice-President Sambo’s asset declaration forms on the FOI Act.
But the CCB boss disagrees with the position of the media, arguing that the bureau’s understanding of the provisions of the FOI Act in itself prevented it from making such forms public.
He said, “The CCB believes that it (the FOI Act) prevents us, because it is at variance with what the constitution says.
“The law is at variance with what the constitution says; there is a case in court to test it.”
He said the bureau was in partnership with the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission and the Economic and Financial Crimes Comission when cases required referral to an agency best suited to handle certain cases.
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