Anti-graft campaigner and Executive Chairman of Coalition Against Corrupt Leaders (CACOL), Mr. Debo Adeniran, has declared the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) may be complicit in the Dubai property scandal surrounding the Chief Army Staff (COAS), Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai.
In a statement issued in Lagos, Adeniran said the failure of the CCB to verify the value of Buratai's assets in relation to his verifiable legitimate earnings is fishy. The COAS, via a statement issued by Army spokesperson, Colonel Sani K Usman, has admitted owning two choice properties in Dubai, which he said bought with personal savings, and claimed to have disclosed it twice in his assets declaration documents. The claim was supported by the CCB.
Buratai's ownership of the properties, valued at $1.5million and first reported by SaharaReporters, has led to strident calls by prominent groups and individuals for his immediate resignation or sack as COAS.
According to Adeniran, the CCB has questions to answer regarding its failure to ascertain the value of the purportedly declared properties in relation to Buratai's illicit earnings.
“The truth is that we need to be circumspect in approaching the Buratai case, for it is the duty of the CCB to ascertain the value of all assets declared by a public official before it and bring to fore if discrepancies exist in the declarations.
"That is how other agencies like EFFC can swing into action to investigate if financial or economic crimes are being violated,” he said.
Adeniran described as suspicious the failure of the CCB to verify the value of the assets and called on the agency to explain the lapse or be viewed as having abetted Buratai if the allegations of corruption against the him are proved to be true.
“This development is also bringing to the fore, once again, the imperative of making assets declarations by all public officials with the CCB public for the purpose of transparency and public scrutiny so as to engender public trust in governance.
"There is absolutely no reason for public officials to hide their assets if they got them through hard work or other legitimate means.
"One of the major reasons the CCB was created in the first place was for the verification of assets declared by public officials so as to nip the tendency to make false assets declaration in the bud," explained Adeniran.
The CACOL Chairman, however, called on the EFCC to immediately investigate Buratai.
“With the benefit of the information on the ground, the EFCC must commence investigations into all angles to the case as the commission is empowered in Section 7 of its Act.
"How an Army General managed to save $1.5m has to be explained to Nigerians. Thus the EFCC needs to thoroughly carry out its investigations, including the verification of the value of the assets declared by the COAS.
Should any crime be found to have been committed by the COAS, then he should be tried, and if found guilty, he must resign and face the sanctions of his crime.
"The same goes for the CCB or any of its officials found have connived in any way,” he concluded.