The Senate has asked the Federal Government to increase funding for the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) in order to enable it effectively discharge its anti-graft functions across the country.
The Senate through its Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions also wondered how the Tribunal that was supposed to serve the entire country with public officers working in over 900 agencies of government will be so underfunded at a time that erring public servants should be made to account for their deeds.
Available records show that the sum of N232 million was appropriated to the Tribunal in the 2021 budget, of which N174.2m was released.
The Senate Committee Chairman, Ayo Akinyelure, at the 2022 budget defence of the Tribunal bemoaned the allocation to the anti-graft body.
Senator Akinyelure also said that the Tribunal was strategic to the All Progressives Congress (APC) agenda of tackling corruption which the CCT was strategic.
According to him, “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 lawmaker maintained that “the CCT needed more resources to deliver and under Ahmed Lawan’s Senate Presidency.
“We want to work in line with President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration to work significantly before his term ends, for the country to be handed to another democratically elected President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
The Upper Chamber of the National Assembly, therefore, gave the Tribunal more days to come up with a new proposal, noting thus, “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.”
A statement by the spokesperson for CCT, Atekojo Samson in Abuja, disclosed that the CCT Chairman, Justice Danladi Umar had told the Committee that 257 cases were referred to CCT, of which 57 have been treated and 30 concluded.
Justice Umar in his presentation asserted that there was no judgement debt liability from his court sittings as he has followed due process in adjudicating on cases brought before it by the Code of Conduct Bureau.
The statement added that the CCT Boas had during the budget defence explained the challenges of underfunding even as CCT is the only Court in Nigeria that sits and determine cases with its nationwide jurisdiction.
“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 divisions of the Tribunal in the six geopolitical zones, it will reduce the enormity of our work here in Abuja. We cannot be everywhere,” he stressed.