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Panama Scam Papers: Rights Group Issues 14-Day Ultimatum To CCB To Investigate Named Public Officers

BALTIMORE, MD (AFRICAN EXAMINER) – The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has issued the Code of Conduct Bureau, CCB to urgently investigate current and immediate past high-ranking public officers named in the Panama Papers and others that are maintaining and operating or have maintained and operated foreign accounts in other safe havens and secrecy jurisdictions, and to where appropriate refer such officers to the Code of Conduct Tribunal for prosecution.

SERAP’s Executive Director, Adetokunbo Mumuni said on Sunday in a letter to the CCB issue 14 days  to CCB to investigate the matter.

“If we have not heard from you by then as to the steps the Bureau is taking to address the concerns raised in this letter, the Registered Trustees of SERAP shall take all appropriate legal actions to compel the Bureau to effectively discharge its constitutional and statutory mandates in this instance,” he said.

The letter dated 8 April, 2016 and signedMumuni was directed to Mr Sam Saba, Chairman, CCB.

In the letter, the body said it believed that the Panama Papers had shown the extent to which public officers in the country were concealing their stolen wealth in safe havens and secrecy jurisdictions, contrary to the Code of Conduct for Public Officers which prohibits public officers from maintaining and operating foreign accounts.

“SERAP hopes that the Code of Conduct Bureau will learn from the lessons of the Panama Papers to combat the abuse of the asset declaration requirements and not wait for further international disclosures that may implicate even more public officers in corruption and money laundering.”

“SERAP argues that unless high-ranking public officers who use safe havens and secrecy jurisdictions to breach the fundamental requirements of asset declaration are sanctioned, named and shamed, the credibility of the asset declaration regime as a tool of preventing and combating corruption will continue to be doubted, and Nigerians will continue to witness climate of lack of transparency and widespread impunity of corrupt public officers in the country.”

 “SERAP also believes that bodies like the Code of Conduct Bureau should now seize the opportunity and use its mandate to react to this international scandal by taking concrete and proactive steps to address increasing breaches of constitutional provisions by high-ranking public officers. This action will be entirely consistent with the Nigerian 1999 Constitution (as amended), the law establishing the Bureau, and will meet demands by Nigerians for improvement in transparency regarding asset declarations and sanctions of public officers for breaches,” it said.

SERAP stated that effective asset declaration regime could play an important role in detecting illicit enrichment and preventing corruption and avoiding the kind of international embarrassment that the Panama Papers represented for Nigeria.

The body said that the aims and objectives of the Code of Conduct Bureau included the establishment and maintenance of a high standard of morality in the conduct of public business and ensuring that the actions and behaviour of public officers conform to the highest standards of public morality and accountability.


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