The Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) says it has commenced a review of its asset declaration forms for public office holders which it said would factor in provisions for valuables such as jewelleries, cryptocurrency, intellectual properties, and key other personal valuables.
Mohammed Isah, the chairman of CCB, told BusinessDay on the sidelines of ‘Stakeholders consultations forum on Asset declarations and other reforms’ on Wednesday in Abuja that the review was to address concerns over loopholes while encouraging preventive measures in the fight against corruption.
He said some of the codes in the forms were made without interpretations or definitions, noting that these had put the Bureau at the mercy of judicial wits and personal interpretation of judges where the CCB becomes a subject of media debate and judgment.
“The world is transforming from a digital system to an electronic device system to make the world more convenient and easy place. The Legal lacunae being faced by the Bureau makes it more amenable to interactive reforms and reviews.
“Given the changing world of electronic devices being more convenient to customers, the Bureau also launches operations of its assets declarations forms online. This will enable public officers make their declarations online without having to go through the rigours of going to the office to college the forms and going back to submit them.
The CCB chairman also disclosed that the Bureau would soon go full swing on the online registration portal for asset declaration, explaining that the platform would encourage integration with related security and anti-corruption agencies in a bid to deepen the fight against corruption.
Eze Onyekpere, Lead Partner, Centre for Social Justice in his presentation at the event said the online registration was geared towards making asset declarations easier and less burdensome.
“The online asset declaration system was the initiative of the Code of Conduct Bureau, and the whole idea is to simplify the methods of asset declarations to ease compliance of declaration and to make the verification work of the CCB,” he said.
“The whole ideas is that there is going to be a portal and those about to declare their assets will go to the portal, fill-up the form online and submit it online in contrast distinction to what used to happen before where you get to CCB to get the form, go home and fill it and get to a high court Judge, swear to an affidavit and then come back to CCB and deposit it and if the CCB wants to do verification, it is going to be through a manual process.”
“We recommend looking at the possibility of the CCB amending its law to give Nigerians the opportunities of having information to the declared assets. The one we have now says, ” In such form and manner that the National Assembly admits.”
Speaking further, Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi, the director-general of the National information Technology Development Agency said, “There would also be an integration of the online portal with National identity card number, Federal Inland Revenue Service, NITDA and Bank Verification Number.
“This would help to monitor assets of the public officials to ascertain whether they are properly declared. Also, collaborations with EFCC ICPC, CBN, land registries, CAC and other regulatory agencies would be rest assured,” he said.
The Senate President Ahmed Lawan, represented by Senator Ayo Akinyerule, said at the event that the Senate would support the CCB towards doing its work effectively, assuring that the National assembly would ensure the Bureau is assisted to be on the first line charge to enable efficient delivering of their duties.