Senate Begins Amendment Of Code Of Conduct Bureau Act

 The Senate on Thursday rushed the passage of the Act to amend the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) and Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) Act into the

second reading.
Although the Senate said its action  has nothing to do with the proceedings going on at the code of conduct tribunal with Senate President Bukola Saraki, .

They queried why the same treatment
was not accorded important bills like the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) which has been in the Senate for

nearly a decade.
The Code of Conduct Bureau/Tribunal Amendment Act which is sponsored by Senator Peter Nwaboshi scaled through the first reading on Tuesday.

At the commencement of the second reading of the bill on Thursday, the Senators at the session, presided over by the Deputy Senate President,

Senator Ike Ekweremadu, voted overwhelmingly for the amendment.

In his lead debate, Nwaboshi explained that the amendment of Section 3 of the Code of Con­duct Bureau and Tribunal Act is to give every public

officer appearing before the Bureau a fair hearing as provided for under Section 36(2) (a) of 1999 Constitution (as amended).

It reads: “(a) Shall provide for an opportunity for the person whose rights and obligations may be affected to make representations to the

administering authority before that authority makes the decision affecting that person.”

The lawmaker noted that in his proposed amendment, the section now reads: “The functions of the Bureau shall be to:

(a) Receive assets declarations by officers in accordance with the provisions of the Act.

(b) Take and retain custody of such assets declarations and (c) examine the assets declaration and ensure that they comply with the requirements

of the Act and of any law for the time being in force if otherwise the Bureau shall invite the public officer concerned and take down his

statement in writing.

(d) Receive complaints about non compliance with or breach of the Act and where the Bureau having regard to any statement taken or to be taken

after such subsequent complaint is made consider it necessary to do so, investigate the complaint and where appropriate refer such complaints to

the CCT established by Section 20 of this Act and the constitution in accordance with the provisions of Sections 20 to 25 of the Act.”

He further explained that from the above, it was clear that Section 3(a) and subsection 3(b) and sub section 3(c) and 3(d) have been altered to

give fair hearing, equity and justice to every public officer that is invited to appear before the Bureau in line with the constitutional

provision as enumerated above.

Nwaboshi also noted that Section 17 of the third schedule to the Principal Act was amended by deleting same.

The lawmaker noted that it is clear that the Act does not contemplate criminal trial and as such, the usage of Criminal Procedure Act and

Criminal Procedure Code should not be used as a procedural template in the tribunal.

In his contribution, Senator Yayaha Abdullahi, (Kebbi North) cautioned the Senate against rush­ing to pass the bill into second reading,

stressing that while he was not against the amendment, he was bothered about the public perception that the aim of fast tracking the amendment

of the bill was to influence Saraki’s trial.

In his remark, Ekweremadu explained that the amendment of the bill had nothing to do with the ongoing trial of the Senate President by the CCT

but for the unbiased operation of the twin agencies.

He said: “Let me say that this bill absolutely has nothing to do with the proceedings going on at the Code of Conduct Tribunal in which the
Senate President is involved because his trial has commenced as you are aware and if you look at the commencement of the bill of the last

paragraph, of course, on the bill, which says ‘this bill maybe sighted as a Code of Conduct Bureau/Tribunal Act Amendment Bill, 2016.
“That means that the bill is not being made retrospective as to affect the proceedings at the CCT, certainly it has nothing to do with it,” he said

The bill was referred to the joint committee on Judiciary and Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions to report back in two weeks.

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