Today in Nigeria’s Imaginary War on Corruption: 6 Out of Every 10 Public Officials “DON’T GIVE A DAMN” About Declaring Their Assets.

Posted on December 1, 2012 by

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Goodluck Jonathan doesn’t give a damn about publicly declaring his assets even though the PDP constitution says he should. At least he’s bothered to make an asset declaration at the Code of Conduct Bureau (they claim they’ve been too busy to even look at it  so what was the bloody point of asking him to declare his assets?).

That’s a lot more than can be said for the rest of Nigeria’s army of corrupt public officers. A shocking 6 out of every 10 public officials in Nigeria have failed to declare their assets. 230,298 eligible public officers were identified and issued with the asset declaration forms for completion but only 109,026 completed and returned forms for processing. So, only 40% of our public officers have complied with Part1, 11(1) of the Fifth schedule to the Constitution. The penalty for failing to declare assets is removal from office.

You’ve got to feel a little sorry for the Code of Conduct Bureau. Good luck trying to remove 60% of Nigeria’s public officers from office. And what’s the point of making asset declarations in the first place when no one can see, verify or challenge them? The Code of Conduct Bureau insists on keeping them super top secret because, according to them, the constitution forbids the release of such information. The problem with this is that is that its a big dirty lie. Here’s Paragraph 3, Part I of the Third Schedule to the 1999 Constitution:

“The Code of Conduct Bureau shall have power to: (a) receive declarations by public officers made under paragraph 12 of Part I of the Fifth Schedule to this Constitution; (b) examine the declarations in accordance with the requirements of the Code of Conduct or any law; (c) retain custody of such declarations and make them available for inspection by any citizen of Nigeria on such terms and conditions as the National Assembly may prescribe.”

The National Assembly has passed a Freedom of Information Act but good luck trying to get the Code of Conduct to obey it, apparently its not a guideline and the CCB will only be bound by guidelines, not laws. Goodluck Jonathan doesn’t want you sniffing around his (secret and unread) asset declaration form anyway:

“You don’t need to declare assets publicly, otherwise you are playing to the gallery. You don’t need to publicly declare assets. That’s a matter of principle. If I have to declare publicly, it means every political officeholder will have to declare publicly. And it is not the right thing to do. That is my belief.”

So, to sum up, only 4 in 10 public officers have bothered to obey the law, the Code of Conduct Bureau is breaking the law and lying to ensure that the asset declarations that have been made are kept secret (and therefore totally pointless) and Jonathan thinks we should mind our business and trust public officers to be accountable and honest. Welcome to the war on corruption. I’m not sure what side these guys are on but they’re winning!

 

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