The Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) has dismissed as unfounded reports that its officials are nervous about the alleged disappearance of records relating to former Lagos State Governor, and National Leader of the All Progressive Congress(APC), Senator Bola Tinubu.
CCB dismissed the report in its reaction to a publication in an online medium that there was tension in the office over missing Tinubu’s assets declaration form and case file from the vault.
The report claimed that the bureau started searching for the file when the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) wrote to request the documents.
The publication, which accused officials of the CCB of complicity in the alleged disappearance of the records, read that the situation could frustrate an ongoing corruption investigation into Tinubu’s assets by the EFCC.
But a source in CCB denied any tension in the office. He also explained that the so-called case file is no longer relevant in CCB since the charges against the APC chieftain were sent to the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) in 2007.
Tinubu was arraigned before the CCT in November 2007 for allegedly operating foreign bank accounts.
However, the three-man panel of the tribunal dismissed the case at Tinubu’s second appearance on the ground that “there was no significant basis to proceed against the defendant as the charges were defective and shoddy.”
The CCB source, who pleaded anonymity, said: “When Senator Tinubu was the governor of Lagos State, he had issue with his assets declaration and was arraigned before CCT but for some reasons known to him alone, nothing meaningful came out of the trial.
“And once we have charged the case to the tribunal, we don’t go back to it except if, maybe, there is an appeal. But there was no appeal from the Federal Government.
“The file did not come back to us because I went through the archive to see the petition of the file and found the case was charged to the CCT. So, if anybody is interested in the case file, he should go to CCT.”
Describing the move to get Tinubu’s case file as political, the source further attributed the development to the 2023 political race.
“I think the whole thing is because of his presidential ambition and they are trying to just make him calm. The case has long exceeded the appeal time. They can’t appeal that judgment but based on some constitutional provisions, fresh charges can be raised against him.
“The file is not even with us. It is already at the tribunal and if in the event they decide to bring up issues based on some fresh facts, it means we just have to start the entire case from the beginning based on what they are planning,” he said.
When asked if the file could be retrieved from the CCT, the source stated that in such circumstances, the bureau could only establish a new file and bring up his asset declaration form.
On the alleged tension, the source said: “There is no tension at the CCB. The board will be meeting tomorrow. You know we had some issues a few weeks ago on Senator Godswill Akpabio and the situation was tensed. It does not have anything to do with Tinubu.
“The truth of the matter is that I will not be completely wrong if I say there is some background play that is yet to come out clear if the information I have is correct. I also think they are trying to use the new man in EFCC to bring up some things against Tinubu.
“But they may not be able to make any meaningful headway unless they go through the issues of assets declaration. According to the constitution, such matters are not time-bound.
“It means we could still come up with fresh charges against him, a secure conviction against him, and have him banned from office for the next 25 years.”
Another source from CCB punctured the report, saying all records relating to assets declaration and other vital documents are electronically saved and could be retrieved whenever they are needed.
The source said the purveyors of the “malicious” report were ignorant of the collaboration between the CCB and EFCC in the fight against corruption.