Corruption: Publish assets of public servants, ICPC tasks CCB

The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission has urged the Code of Conduct Bureau to publish the assets declared by public and civil servants.

The ICPC stated that this will help to curb corruption in the public sector.

A statement on the Commission’s website said the Chairman, Prof. Bolaji Owasanoye, observed that the secrecy that surrounds asset declarations by public and civil servants was aiding corruption.

He said this during a meeting with the Chairman and board members of CCB.

He said, “Publicising asset declaration will assist the whistle-blowing policy and our work. We have not been able to take full advantage of asset declaration because of the opacity around it. If somebody lied about his or her assets, he or she can be found out by just the opening of the page where it has been published.

“I want to encourage the Bureau to push for that because the public will help us to do our work. They will tell us who owns what assets and whether it is proportionate to their earnings.”

According to the statement, Owasanoye “noted that the opacity surrounding asset declarations had added to the problem of insecurity and underdevelopment facing the nation.

“Along the same lines, the ICPC boss encouraged the Bureau to move to review and revise the Assets Declaration Form to include information that could help trace assets such as BVN and new forms of investments such as cryptocurrency.

“Prof. Owasanoye also urged the Bureau to start digital declaration of assets as against the old manual declaration method, saying that it would help in the easy tracing and analysis of assets as well as enable CCB to furnish government with information on the lifestyles of both public and civil servants.”

He was quoted as saying, “If you digitize asset declaration, it will help you to reach everybody under your cover. It is easily analytical and helps you to know what asset the public servant owes. It will enable you to inform the government about the status of public servants, whether they are doing badly or not.”

The ICPC boss assured that the Commission was willing to assist the Bureau with capacity-building programmes for its staff.

“He expressed the hope that CCB would be active in assets recovery as an enforcement measure, stating that public servants who lived beyond their legitimate income should have the illegally acquired assets taken away from them,” the statement said.

Earlier, the Chairman of CCB, Professor Mohammed Isah, pointed out that the fight against corruption cannot be won by one agency alone.

This is as he called for synergy between the anti-corruption agencies, adding that it should include not dabbling into the investigation of any petition that was already being handled by any of the anti-corruption agencies.

He said, “In the areas of overlapping function, who starts investigation of a petition first should be allowed to conclude. The others should stop investigating the same matter to avoid wastage of resources. There is no need to over engage ourselves by doing the same thing.”

Isah also maintained that CCB was willing to share information on asset declaration with ICPC to aid its investigations.

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