Senate knocks CCT for ignoring corruption cases from CCB

The Senate has condemned the Code of Conduct Tribunal for alleged not treating corruption cases referred to it by the Code of Conduct Bureau.

The Chairman, Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions, Senator Ayo Akinyelure, tackled the CCT while reacting to the agency’s performance this year.

The CCT chairman, Danladi Umar, appeared before the committee at its last sitting to defend the tribunal’s 2022 budget.

He said only 30 cases had been concluded and determined out of the 257 referred to the tribunal by CCB this year.

“257 cases were referred to us from CCB this year, out of which 57 had been treated. We have concluded and dealt with about 30 cases fully,” Umar had said.

He attributed the failure to treat all the cases referred to his tribunal to underfunding and the fact that it is the only tribunal that sits and determine cases.

He said, “We have not been able to deal with all the cases referred to us due to underfunding.

“The CCT is only one body and we have to go to different places in the country.

“If we have other division of the tribunal in the six geopolitical zones, it will reduce the enormity of our work here in Abuja. We cannot be everywhere.”

However, the chairman of the committee expressed dissatisfaction over Umar’s submission.

Akinyelure said the tribunal underperformed not only because of underfunding, pointing also to its failure to effectively utilise all monies given to it.

The senator said, “The impact of the money given to you is not felt. That is why you have unspent balances of money that is not even enough.

“You must determine all the cases referred to you and let Mr President know that you are promoting his anti-corruption agenda.

“Your silence over the meagre allocation to your tribunal to fight corruption is not good enough for the government of President Muhammadu Buhari.”

The sum of N232 million was appropriated to CCT in 2021 out of which N174.2 million was released, according to a document submitted to the panel.

The document further showed that only N164.7 million was utilised, leaving an unspent balance of N9.45 million.

The CCT chairman said the tribunal could not utilise all the fund released due to cumbersome procurement process.

Umar said, “The procurement procedures will have to be followed very diligently and due processes observed.

“We have to be above board in dealing with public fund in relation to the fact that we sit over and adjudicate matters like this.

“So, we will not just go ahead and do things in spite of the fact that the money is with us.

“Although the money is too small but we have no choice other than follow the processes, which are cumbersome.

“That’s not to say that we don’t need much. We have reasons to ask for more funding because that will enable the CCT to effectively deal with matters before it, bearing in mind that CCT is only one in the whole of the country and supervises all public offices and officers. We really do have a lot to do.”

He appealed to the committee to come to the aid of the tribunal, saying adequate funding and timely releases would enable the agency to use all its allocations and still follow the procurement procedures no matter how cumbersome.

Akinyelure nevertheless, said the committee was not impressed with the activities of CCT because it could not effectively utilise its meagre allocation for its operations.

He said, “Basically, the agency is underfunded by the executive arm of the government. That is not to say that the little amount appropriated and released to the tribunal would not be spent.

“We have cried loud over the years but this has not been improved upon. Again, the agency is sleeping on its right.”

The lawmaker called on the President to improve the appropriation of Public Complaint Commission, CCB and CCT, whose mandate is to fight corruption, the cardinal objective of the present regime.

He also urged the CCT and CCB to seek the intervention of the President, saying, “Match to Mr President to improve your budget. For us, it is the envelope you are given that we will work on.”

<<Punch>>