The senate on Thursday amended the Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act (CCB/CCT Act) – effectively transferring the president’s regulatory power over the bureau and tribunal to the National Assembly.
The senate also reintroduced a provision which authorises the CCB to invite anyone found culpable in asset declaration to make necessary correction as against being charged to the tribunal for trial – a provision that had earlier been expunged from the extant law.
The passage of the bill comes few months after the trial of Senate President Bukola for false asset declaration commenced at the CCT.
The senate president had flayed on the CCB, which filed the charges against him, for not inviting him for questioning on the charges before it filed them.
Although, actual amendments to the Act were done by the house of representatives and passed on May 31, the senate concurred with the house and passed the bill on Thursday, October 27, 2016.
Yesterday, the senate passed 14 amendments to the Act.
It amended section 3 of the Act thus: “Upon complaint(s) of any breach or where it appears to the bureau that there is a breach of the provision or this Act, the person concerned shall be given particulars of such non compliance or breaches to explain before any reference to the tribunal.”
This means that the CCB cannot immediately refer a matter to the CCT without giving a public officer a notice; one of the contentions of Saraki.
Section 1 (4) which was expunged, and replaced with “the chairman and members shall serve for a term of five years subject to renewal for one further term only”.
Section 4 (2) was amended to substitute the word “president” with “the national assembly” as the one to confer powers on the bureau and the tribunal.
The parliament also succeeded in stripping the president of the power of total control over the CCB by amending section 18(1) & (2) of the CCB/CCT Act and simultaneously transferring such powers to the National Assembly.
Section 18(1) & (2) of the extant Act provides thus: “The president may by order exempt any cadre of public officers from the provisions of the Act if it appears to him that their position in the public service is below the rank which it considers appropriate for the application of those provisions.
“The president may by order confer on the Bureau such additional powers as may appear to it to be necessary to enable it discharge more effectively the functions conferred upon it under this Act.”
The “president” in the above provisions has now been substituted with “National Assembly” which implies that the National Assembly will now determine the power of the CCB.
The National Assembly, also in the amendment, will now determine who should be exempted from asset declaration or not.