The Code of Conduct Bureau has said President Muhammadu Buhari, Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, governors and other public officers whose tenure ends on May 29 must submit their end-of-tenure asset declaration forms on May 28, 2019.
However, other public officers, mainly members of the outgoing 8th National Assembly, who were inaugurated on June 9, 2015 have up till June 8, 2019, a few hours to the expiration of their tenure to declare their assets, Saturday PUNCH has learnt.
Paragraphs 1 to 16 of the Part II of the Fifth Schedule of the Nigerian Constitution list the categories of public officers who must periodically declare their assets to the CCB.
But those affected with the wind-down of the 2015 – 2019 political dispensation by virtue of the constitutional provision are the President, Vice-President, President and Deputy President of the Senate, Speaker and Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives and Speakers and Deputy Speakers of state Houses of Assembly and all members of legislative houses.
The rest are Governors and Deputy Governors, the Attorney General of the Federation and Attorney General of each state, ministers, commissioners and Secretary to the Government of the Federation.
Paragraph 11 of the Part 1 to the Fifth Schedule to the constitution compels public officers to declare their assets to the CCB “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 eighteen years.”
The “guidelines” for assets declaration accessed on the website of the bureau on Friday says a declarant must declare their assets within 30 days of being issued the assets declaration form.
Paragraph 2, of the guidelines reads, “Every declarant is required by law to declare his/her assets/liability including that of his spouse(s) who is not a public officer and children under 18 years, honestly, sincerely and submit same to the bureau within 30 days of the receipt of the forms.”
Paragraph 7 of the guidelines added, “Every public officer is to note that it is the requirement of the law to declare his/her assets/liabilities on:
“(a) assumption of office;
“(b) At the end of his term of office, “(c) At interval of four years for public officers on continuous employment of government whether federal, state or local government:
“(d) and at such other intervals as the Bureau may determine from time to time.”
Speaking with one of our correspondents on Thursday, the Chief Press Officer of the CCB, Mrs Charity Utok, said the incoming political office holders were given up to three months to make their declarations to the CCB, while the outgoing ones must do so as soon as they “step out” of office.
She said the implications of not making the declaration or not making it at the appropriate time would be filing charges against such defaulters at the Code of Conduct Tribunal.
Utok said, “They can be sworn in, and within three months they have to declare their assets, otherwise the bureau will drag them to the Code of Conduct Tribunal.
“It is applicable to all public officers, both political appointees and elected officers – from the councillors to local government chairmen, commissioners, members of the state Houses of Assembly, governors, members of the National Assembly, ministers, Vice-President and President.
“For those who are finishing their tenure, they must declare as soon as they step out.”
She explained that the first tenure of President Buhari and that of Vice-President Osinbajo would end on Tuesday, May 28, 2019, hence the Tuesday deadline for the two of them to submit their asset forms for the end of their first tenure.
He added, “Anyone who fails to declare their assets will be taken before the tribunal.
“Those in the asset declaration section of the tribunal will compile their names and they will be charged before the tribunal for trial.”
CCB state directors insist no going back on deadline
Following the directive, state directors of the CCB in various states, who spoke with Saturday PUNCH, stated that the Bureau had said there was no going back on Tuesday, May 28, 2019 deadline set for the submission of asset forms.
The Director of the CCB in Bauchi State, Ibraheem Mahmood, said, “The headquarters of the Bureau has set aside Monday 27th and Tuesday 28th May as the last date they want all forms of the elected officials to be submitted to them.”
He said, “The outgoing governor and the deputy also assured me that they will submit their own today (Friday) because they have collected the forms and sent their people for guidance on how to go about it. We have guided them and they said they will submit it today.”
Also reacting on Friday, the Director of CCB in Gombe State, Panyi Baira, said, “Although the deadline is yet to pass, they are complying with the bureau. They will comply before the May 28 deadline.
However, sources within the bureau in the state were complaining that the level of total compliance was minimal.