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Court grants SERAP leave in assets declaration suit against CCB

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MRA inducts bureau into Hall of Shame for allegedly violating FOI Act
A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos yesterday granted leave to the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) in a suit against the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) over its reluctance to disclose details of asset declarations submitted to the Bureau.

Justice Muslim Sule Hassan, who gave the ruling following the hearing of an argument on ex parte motion by SERAP’s counsel, Adelanke Aremo, expressed satisfaction that the leave ought to be granted and adjourned the motion on notice to October 16, 2019 for hearing.

He ruled that “going through the Application filed by SERAP, supported by a 14-paragraph affidavit, with supporting exhibits, statements setting out the facts, verifying affidavits and written address in support, I am satisfied that the court ought to grant leave in this case and I hereby grant the motion for leave.”

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With the subsisting order, the group now has liberty to pursue its suit against the CCB over its refusal to disclose details of assets declaration former presidents and governors submitted to it since the return of democracy in 1999.

SERAP had filed a suit challenging CCB’s claim that it could not disclose details of assets declaration submitted to it by successive presidents and governors since 1999 in June this year, because doing so “would offend the right to privacy of presidents and governors.”

Meanwhile, following its persistent refusal to implement the Freedom of Information FOI Act, 2011, the Media Rights Agenda (MRA) yesterday inducted the CCB into the FOI Hall of Shame, insisting that it would take legal action against the Bureau and its officials for the breach.

This came in spite of efforts to ensure compliance to the FOI Act, which many private and government organisations have continued to violate.

Its Programme Manager, Ridwan Sulaimon, noted that by consistently refusing to comply with its duties and obligations under the FOI Act, the Bureau had degraded its credibility and integrity.

The MRA insisted that by its actions, the CCB had undermined its ability to carry out is functions of regulating the conduct of public officers and enforcing the Code of Conduct for Public Officers as stipulated in the constitution, aimed at ensuring integrity in public offices.


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