The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, SERAP, has sued the Code of Conduct Bureau, CCB, over its refusal to disclose details of the asset declarations submitted by successive Presidents and governors since 1999.
The suit filed at the Federal High Court, Lagos, is seeking among others, “An order granting leave to the applicant to apply for judicial review and to seek an order of mandamus directing and compelling the respondent to compile and make available to the applicant information on specific details of asset declarations submitted to the Code of Conduct Bureau by successive Presidents, Vice Presidents, Senate Presidents, Speakers of House of Representatives, State Governors and Deputy Governors from 1999 to 2019 and to publish widely, including on a dedicated website, any such information.”
Recall that the Code of Conduct Bureau was reported last week to have refused a Freedom of Information, FOI, request by SERAP for details of the declarations on the grounds that Asset declaration form was private information.
However, SERAP in its suit is claiming that asset declarations of past Presidents and governors with the CCB are public documents and that public interest in the disclosure of the details of such declarations as sought by it was more important than any claim of protection of the privacy of the leaders given that “they are public officers entrusted with the duty to manage public funds, among other public functions.”
Other reliefs sought by the group in its suit include: “An order granting leave to the applicant to apply for judicial review and to seek an order of mandamus directing and compelling the respondent to compile and make available to the applicant information on the number of asset declarations so far verified by the Code of Conduct Bureau, CCB, and the number of those declarations found to be false and deemed to be in breach of the Code of Conduct for Public Officers by the Bureau and to publish widely including on a dedicated website, any such information.
“An order granting leave to the applicant to apply for Judicial Review and to seek an order of mandamus directing and compelling the respondent to immediately take cases of false asset declarations to the Code of Conduct Tribunal for effective prosecution of suspects, and include banning the politicians involved from holding public offices for at least a period of 10 years and seeking refund of stolen public funds as part of the reliefs to be sought before the tribunal.”
The case is yet to be assigned.