The Chairman of the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB), Professor Mohammed Isah, has put a lie to media reports that the file containing the asset declaration documents of former Lagos State Governor, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, is missing from the vaults of the Bureau.
The CCB chairman spoke in Abuja on Wednesday during an interactive session at the 23rd Anti-Corruption Situation Room organised by the Human and Environmental Development.
Represented by his Special Assistant, Dr Mustapha Musa, the chairman described it as laughable for anyone to say that asset declaration documents of anyone could be missing from the vaults of the CCB.
Musa said hard copies of documents relating to asset declaration of political and other public office holders in the custody of the CCB are also electronically saved, including the ones submitted by Tinubu.
He disclosed that he had worked on Tinubu’s file last February when the chairman of the CCB asked him to respond to a letter written by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) seeking information on the former Lagos Governor’s asset declaration.
“Following the chairman’s directive, I liaised with some officers from the EFCC to work on Tinubu’s file. No file is missing. Besides, all documents relating to asset declaration filed by public officials are electronically saved.
“Assuming the files with our sister agency, the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) were to be missing, which is not the case, the CCB can still retrieve such files from its systems and make them available to the CCT on demand”, Dr Musa said.
The CCB chairman’s clarification was prompted by HEDA’s Programme Officer, Eze Alloysius who demanded explanations on the alleged missing file as it’s being reported in social media platforms in the past few days.
On why the CCB has continued to refuse members of the public access to information on asset declaration documents of public officials, Musa said it’s only the National Assembly that could resolve the matter by putting in place the appropriate guidelines.
“The CCB can only release such information by following guidelines prescribed by the National Assembly. But the National Assembly has not released such guidelines as I speak and the CCB cannot act outside guidelines,” he said.
He revealed that the CCB has embarked on digitalisation of its operations nationwide, saying that the project was over 90 percent completed.
The aide further disclosed that when the operations of the CCB are fully digitalised, applicants seeking to declare their assets would no longer be doing so manually.
He said: “When our operations are fully digitalised, applicants will no longer have to be physically present at CCB offices anywhere to file their asset declaration documents. They will be required to file online.
“We look forward to achieving this in the next few weeks because we are working towards having President Muhammadu Buhari commission our digital portal possibly by April this year”.
He, however, lamented what he described as inadequate funding of the CCB, saying that the agency did not have office accommodation in many states across the federation.
According to him, the agency had refrained from seeking assistance from state governments to meet its accommodation needs, to avoid compromising on its mandate.