BusinessDay

Saraki: Senate moves to whittle powers of CCB, CCT

The Senate has commenced a process of whittling down the powers of the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) as it passed for First Reading, a bill to amend the Act establishing the Bureau, to remove it from the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF).

Speaking with newsmen after plenary, sponsor of the bill, Senator Peter Nwaoboshi, noted that it had become necessary to amend the Act establishing the CCB as well as the Tribunal.

He said that the main aim of the amendment was to move the CCB and the Tribunal away from the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF).

The lawmaker explained that the move became necessary because the SGF is a politician and could use both the Bureau and the Tribunal as instruments of witch-hunt his political opponents.

Nwaoboshi argued that since the Supreme Court said that the CCT was a court with jurisdiction of some sorts, it was necessary for it to be independent and not report to any politician.

He said: “The Code of Conduct Tribunal and the Code of Conduct Bureau now is under the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation.

“The Secretary to the Government is a politician and can use it as a politician against political opponents or perceived political opponents.

“We want to make it completely neutral, either move it to the judiciary or move it to the National Assembly that has the power to remove the Chairman and members of the tribunal. Otherwise, one day like we are seeing now, if you are an enemy to the SGF, he uses the CCB to put you into trouble, charge you there like we are seeing now.

“The intent is not because of what is happening, you cannot put a quasi judicial arm under the control of the SGF who is a politician, appointed by the President,” he said.

The Senator further said that part of the amendment to the Act would also include to stipulate a time line within which the Bureau should investigate assets declared by a political office holder.

He said that it was out of place for the CCB to prescribe that a political office holder should declare assets at the beginning and end of his tenure while the Bureau decides when to investigate.

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