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Senate wants more funds for CCT as Tribunal denies ignoring corrupt cases

Tunde Opalana, Abuja

Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions has called on the executive arm of government to ensure adequate funding i of the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) to enable it adjudicate on corruption related cases.

Committee Chairman, Senator Ayo Akinyelure bemoaned insufficient budgetary allocations to the Tribunal while wondering why CCT could not enjoy sufficient funding like other anti – corruption agencies in Nigeria.

The chairman came at the during the 2022 budget defence of the Tribunal at the weekend in Abuja.

Senator Akinyelure after listened to the budget performance of CCT for the year, 2021 and the projection for 2022, noted that the CCT is strategic to the anti – corruption agenda of the All Progressives Congress (APC) administration under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari.

He insisted that the budget envelope was too small for effective operation of the agency.

The lawmaker wondered how the Tribunal that was supposed to serve the entire country with public officers working in over 900 agencies of government be so underfunded at a time that erring public servants should be made to account for their deeds.

Akinyelure said to the CCT chairman, : “You must determine all the cases referred to you and let Mr President know that you are promoting his anti corruption agenda.

“Your silence over the meagre allocation to your agency to fight corruption is not good enough for the government of President Muhammadu Buhari.”

The sum of N232 million was appropriated to CCT in 2021 out of which N174.2m was released, according to the document submitted to the Committee.

The position of the Committee was opposed to reports in some media outlets, that Senate Committee carpets CCT for allegedly ignoring corruption cases forwarded to it by the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCB).

The Senate committee further told the CCT Chairman to submit a request demanding for more resources with a proof of what they want to procure that would aid the workings of the Court in 2022 for approval.

He stated further: “So we give you two days to come up with a request to the National Assembly with a justification to enable us to present a position paper that will enable us to support you.”

In a statement by the CCT spokesperson, Atekojo Samson Usman on Friday in Abuja, quoted the CCT Chairman, Justice Danladi Umar to have told the Senate panel that 257 cases were referred to CCT, out which 57 have been treated with 30 concluded.

Justice Umar had during the budget defence explained the challenges of under funding even as CCT is the only Court in Nigeria that sits and determine cases with its nationwide jurisdiction.

Justice Umar maintained: “We have not been able to deal with all the cases referred to us due to underfunding. The CCT is only one body and we have to go to different places in the country.

“If we have other division of the Tribunal in the six geopolitical zones, it will reduce the enormity of our work here in Abuja. We cannot be everywhere.”

He categorically stated that neither the Senate panel or CCB accused CCT of ignoring corruption cases referred to it as portrayed in some section of the media.

Umar also added that there was no judgement debt liability occasioned by his court sittings as he has been strictly following due process in adjudicating on cases brought before it by the Code of Conduct Bureau.

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