The Federal Executive Council(FEC) has approved a bill seeking the repeal of the Code of Conduct Bureau(CCB) and Code of Conduct Tribunal(CCT) Act.
Abubakar Malami, Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, briefed State House correspondents after a hybrid meeting of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) on Wednesday at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Malami said that the bill sought to enhance what the two agencies had been doing arising from the identified gaps for the purpose of improving their functions.
“The first item which has to do with a memo which seeks for the approval of the council for the repeal of the CCB and CCT is intended to repeal an Act.
“As you are rightly aware there is exist what is an Act of the National Assembly, which is known as the CCB and Tribunal Act Cap C 15, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004, which has been presented to the FEC for an amendment bill or repeal bill that is targeted at enhancing what these two bodies are doing.
“The CCB is responsible for the enforcement of the code of conduct of public officers.
“ The CCT is responsible for enforcing by way of judicial trials and proceedings, which is associated with the code of conduct of public officers.’’
“So, we have succeeded in presenting issues relating to the expansion of powers of the bureau not only to limit itself to the idea of presenting cases and investigations but also to include the possibility of forfeiture, confiscation and seizure of assets when the need arises, which were not part and parcel of the CCB before now.’’
The minister said that the bill sought to expand the scope of CCT, taking into consideration the workload.
He said there were a lot pending cases, but CCT had limited personnel to address them.
“ Fundamentally, that bill is intended to consider it from the point of expansion of its powers, from the point of increase in the composition of the tribunal and then from the point of expanding the scope of punishment that should be meted; all out of the desire to take the fight against corruption to the next level.’’
Malami said that the second item that was presented to the council was a report—on the Conference of State Parties to the UN Convention against corruption held in Sharm El-Sheik, Egypt, from Dec. 12 to Dec.17, 2021.
He said that Nigeria sponsored an international resolution relating to asset recovery among others.
“The intention of that resolution is to see how best Nigeria can bring about international understanding relating to the recovery of assets by way of simplifying the process; by way of ensuring, at the end of the day, that we create an international community understanding relating to the process of recovery of assets.
“At the end of the day, arising from the conclusion of the meeting, Nigeria has succeeded in developing a resolution relating to enhancing access to and use of beneficial ownership information to facilitate identification, recovery and return of assets.
“As you rightly know in the case of P and ID, at the time Nigeria ran into trouble in the case of P and ID and we had against us an award of over 10 billion dollars against the Nigerian state, those that were behind it were hidden; they were not identified at all.
“ So, it took us a lot of trouble, internationally and locally, to identify the beneficial owners of P and ID.’
Malami said that Nigeria had developed an international resolution of beneficial ownership register that whoever was investing in Nigeria as a company and internationally should have full disclosure of their identity before embarking on any international investment.
According to him, Nigeria has succeeded in presenting that resolution and it has a lot of support from a number of countries.
He listed the countries as Pakistan, State of Palestine, Peru, Saudi Arabia, Columbia, Burkina Faso, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, the US, Brazil, Egypt, Ghana, Morocco, Honduras, Angola, Algeria, Madagascar, Sri Lanka and Kenya, among others.
“So, what I am saying is that Nigeria has taken its fight against corruption not only locally but indeed internationally by way of ensuring that adequate infrastructure both legal, legislative and otherwise are put in place for the purpose of facilitating the tracing and recovery of assets.
“But the point of interest arising from what Nigeria did relating to the Conference of State Parties is the fact that the international community appreciated Nigeria’s effort in the fight against corruption while Nigeria has been highly rated as a leader in Africa in the area of developing structures for recovery, repatriation and disposal of proceeds of crime among others.
“That was the presentation and submission of the Federal Ministry of Justice before FEC this afternoon, ‘he said.(NAN)