Public office holders in Nigeria who have foreign accounts have been advised to close them immediately for the duration of their tenure in office to avoid breach of the Code of Conduct for Public Officers. The Economic confidential has found out that some foreign accounts owned by some top public officers are being watched by securities agencies in colloboration with their foreign counterparts.
This new call for the closure of the foreign account was made by the Chairman, Code of Conduct Bureau, Mr. Sam Saba during a two-day public enlightenment programme organised for top government functionaries and local government officials in Port Harcourt by Code of Conduct Bureau in collaboration with Rivers State Government.
The Chairman Code of Conduct Tribunal, Justice Murtala Adebayo Sanni (SAN) in his paper, highlighted the punishments the tribunal is empowered to impose on a public officer found guilty of contravening the Code of Conduct for public officers to include; Payment of Fines, Vacation of Office, Disqualification from holding public office (whether elected or not) for a period not more than 10 years among others.
Corruption according to Justice Sanni has become “so pervasive, entrenched and destructive that special measures have to be taken to rid Nigeria of corruption and corrupt practices.
For the fight against corruption to succeed, he advocated a strong political will and ability to introduce legislative reforms that will encourage the prosecution of corrupt public officials, serving or out of office. He suggested that punishment for corruption should be commensurate with the crime committed, “penalties the Tribunal is empowered to impose should include powers to imprison those that have been found to have contravened the code, the jurist added.
Justice Sanni argued that the Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal deserve to be placed on a vibrant and higher pedestal in its resolve to meet the challenges of sustainable anti-corruption stance.
The Director, Investigation and Monitoring Department of Code of Conduct Bureau, Mr. C.T.S. Kyunni pointed out that the present democratic dispensation has provided, “an enabling environment for the Bureau to cue into the vision of the administration in ensuring a corrupt-free public service and making the assets Declaration Exercise and Code of Conduct for public officers more relevant in the anti-corruption drive”
Earlier in her speech, the chairman of the occasion and administrator of Greater Port Harcourt City Development Authority, Dame Aleruchi Cookey-Gam, enjoined the Bureau to go beyond issues of Assets Declarations and look into the utilization of public funds and abuse of office by public officers.