We aren’t obligated to disclose assets of public office holders, CCB tells court
The Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) has told a Federal High Court sitting in Lagos that it cannot be compelled to make public asset forms submitted by President Muhammadu Buhari, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, the state governors and other political office holders in the country.
Making the declaration in a fresh notice of appearance and written submission filed before the court, CCB argued that it was not obligated by any laws to make public the assets of public office holders.
The notice of appearance and written address were in response to an action filed by the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), urging the court to compel the bureau to make public the forms submitted by the president, vice president, governors, their deputies and other political office holders.
In the notice of appearance filed by the CCB’s counsel, Musa Ibrahim Usman and Fatima Danjuma Ali, it submitted that the asset declaration forms of the presidents, vice presidents, senate presidents, speakers of the House of Representatives, state governors and their deputies since the return of democracy in 1999 were in its custody, but added that the affected public officials had not consented to their disclosure.
The CCB therefore prayed the court to declare SERAP’s suit as incompetent, illegal, null and void.
The rights body had secured the court’s leave to press an action against the government agency, requesting it to produce the forms submitted by the public officials.
The bureau’s response dated October 14,2019, read in part: “The CCB is not obligated to submit the asset declaration forms to any persons. The forms are not publicly available.
SERAP has not shown that it is in the public interest to disclose the information nor that such public interest overweighs the protection of the privacy of the presidents, vice presidents, senate presidents, speakers of the House of Representatives, state governors and deputy governors since 1999 to 2019.”
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