By Danladi Al-Hassan
The Code of Conduct Bureau has stated that it is working with the office of the Attorney General of the federation to block about 200 accounts under investigation for corruption.
Professor Muhammed Isah, Chairman of the Bureau disclosed this on Thursday at the Special Townhall meeting on the Fight Against Corruption organized by the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture and the National Orientation Agency, NOA in Abuja.
Isah said the idea behind the proposed blockage of the said accounts is to ensure no further debit on them pending their final determination.
He stated that the Bureau had so far investigated 168 cases and filled 75 cases at the tribunal, while about 100 cases were still pending.
Isah said about N40 billion is involved in the over 200 cases being investigated, which if successfully prosecuted and convicted at the end of the day will benefit the Federal Government.
Also, he explained that the CCB is working seriously to improve its relationship with the Code of Conduct Tribunal to fast track the prosecution of cases.
‘‘We have reached an understanding that all the cases that are pending both the ones we met when we came in and the ones we have been able to file will be fast tracked to have an accelerated hearing to ensure timely prosecution of the cases,” he said.
“Have investigated 168 cases, filled 75 cased at the tribunal about 100 cases pending. Amount involved in over 200 cases investigated is N40 billion which if successfully prosecuted and convicted at the end of the day, the federal government will benefit.
“We are working with the office of the Attorney General of the federation to block those accounts with no debit further.
“We have improved our collaboration with other anti corruption agencies like the EFCC and ICPC. We realized the need to team up to fight a common enemy which is corruption so we opened our doors to sister agencies and collaborators because CCB serve as a data bank considering that any investigation to be made especially when it has to do with a public officer requires a knowledge of assets he has declared if at all he has declared his asset and if he has not declared his assets, that is another point for Code of Conduct Bureau to take over from there in the course of investigation.”
He said one of the challenge facing the agency is that it is not automated, but said he had the commitment of the presidency, public institutions and donor agencies to ensure full automation of the operations processes and procedures of the CCB.
“When this is done, public officers can easily be monitored and we will have the information of all public officers at our finger tip and we will be able to track the activities of individual public officers in the country so that prevention that CCT is set to achieve in the fight against Corruption will be achieved. Corruption has done so much damage to the country. We need a Nigeria where people will apply for jobs and get it on merit.
“This is the only area where the principle of double jeopardy does not apply. When a person violates the Code of Conduct, and has been prosecuted and convicted, still another prosecuting agency can investigate him with the same facts and take him to court and the principle of double jeopardy will not apply. It will help us in many ways if we close the gap to fight corruption,” he said.
Ibrahim Magu, the Chairman of Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC), said the EFCC had secured 809 convictions between January to October 2019.
He said one of the most effective strategy of fighting corruption is to bring everybody on board.
“Fighting corruption is not only the role of security agencies but for every law enforcement agency. We are collaborating with other law enforcement agency in the fight against corruption.
“Corruption is entrenched in all sectors. But in the last four years, proven that this monster can be tamed. All that is needed is courage and determination. We have agreed to make a presentation to the Committee of Ministers of ECOWAS to execute and bring money hidden in foreign countries. Yahoo yahoo boys are now in neighbouring countries like Ghana and Dubai. We have been able to bring sanity into the area of vote buying,’’ said Magu.