A Look into Public Asset Declaration
By Jude Chukwuemeka
Kolawole Oluwadare - Deputy Director, Social Economic Project SERAP Nigeria
Sole host of Morning Crossfire, Sheriff Quadry makes the following introduction into Morning Crossfire today:
Commentators and public affairs analysts have shown that the primary essence of assets declaration by public office holders: politicians/public servants - is to curb corrupt practices in order to promote the culture of accountability in govt. office or parastatal.
Sadly, the situation seems to be different in Nigeria. This is hinged on the fact that the law, which is to be revered by Nigerian politicians and public servants, has been constantly flouted such that one begins to question the actual existence and enforcement of the law itself.
The constitutional provision for the declaration of assets by public office holders can be found under part two of the fifth schedule of the 1999 Constitution.
The constitution provides that from the President, Vice President, Governors, Deputy Governors, members of the National Assembly, members of House of Assembly, Ministers, Commissioners and all Chairmen of all Parastatals and Agencies of Federal and State governments, Military, Police, Immigration, Customs, Prisons, Political Office Holders and all Federal, States and Local Government civil servants are all public officers.
Here is what the Fifth Schedule, Part 1, S.11 (1) of the 1999 constitution says:
Subject to the provisions of this Constitution, every public officer shall within three months after the coming into force of this Code of Conduct or immediately after taking office and thereafter-
(a) at the end of every four years; and (b) at the end of his term in office, submit to the Code of Conduct Bureau a written declaration of all his properties, assets and liabilities, and those of his unmarried children under the age of eighteen years.
Kolawole Oluwadare tells Nigerians the importance of declaring assets by public officers. “It makes them accountable to the people who elected them. Secondly, it curbs corruption. The constitution provides the classes of people that should declare their assets periodically. Of course, they should do that to the Code of Conduct Bureau.
“But we are saying that is not enough. It must go beyond submitting declaration of assets to CCB, and then people would have to struggle to get it out. The same constitution that empowers the CCB to gain control of the declaration also empowers the CCB to share the information with the public, subject to a law made by the National Assembly. That law was passed in 2011.”
Asset declaration ought to be done by designated public office holders before they resume public offices, and they must do so every three years. SERAP claims that FY requests but these have never been granted.
“We have asked the CCB, they did not oblige, so we are in court. Now, we are asking the declarants themselves; the president, the vice president, and the governors. We think since the forms emanated from them, they should be able to oblige us. None has actually done so formerly.”
What would you say about the rate of compliance amongst public office holders as regards publicly declaring their assets since the 1999 constitution was written?
Watch the video above and see how bad Kola portrays the lack of asset declaration of assets by top politicians and how this affects Nigerians.