CCT lacks adequate funds to prosecute corrupt cases
The Chairman Code of Conduct Tribunal Danladi Yakubu Umar has cried out to Senate Committee Chairman on Anti- Corruption, Senator Chukwuka G. Utazi on near total lack of adequate funding to the tribunal.
He made the disclosure in Abuja when the committee visited him for their oversight and equally assesses the performance of 2015 budget as a build up to 2016 appropriation for the Tribunal to perform optimally.
Umar stated that ‘‘the greatest challenge facing the Tribunal at a moment is the near total lack of adequate funding to cater for great deal of logistic to move the Tribunal from place to place to dispense justice”.
He added that ‘‘the Tribunal requires not less than four million naira for one itinerant session alone.” He maintained that “lack of funds especially from overheads is largely responsible for our inability to commence trial of quite a number of cases from states and local government councils pending before the Tribunal at the moment’’.
The Chairman affirmed that the Tribunal staff, files, vehicles and other item are required to physically move around from state to state for the exercise and that has been capital intensive.
However, the Tribunal Chairman drew the attention of the Senate Committee on the placement of the Tribunal as superior court of record and increase in the number of Judges for swift adjudications via constitutional amendment.
He said, presently Code of Conduct Tribunal is under the Presidency (Executive Arm). He maintained the Tribunal Carried out purely adjudicatory functions and the process of Chairman and Members is the same as that of the Judges of Superior Courts through the Federal Judicial Service Commission (FJSC) to National Judicial Committee (NJC) then to the President for approval.
He suggested that the provision relating to the Tribunal be transferred from the 5th Schedule to chapter VII of the constitution where other superior courts are listed.
He equally suggested for amendment of the constitution to allow increase in number of Judges of the Tribunal to reflect the six geo-political zones, to effectively and efficiently clear all cases with area of its jurisdiction, given the present composition with only three man panel to cover political and carrier government functionaries across the entire tiers of governments.
In his remarks, the Chairman Senate Committee on Anti-Corruption, Senator Chukwuka G. Utazi said the objective of the committee’s visit is to familiarize itself with problems hindering Tribunal’s performance before the actual budget defence at the National Assembly.
He said the Committee is interested in making the institution perform optimally not to witch-hunt anybody. He added the movement of the court for itinerant session has to be discontinued by the Tribunal establishing it presence across the geo-political zones of the country.
He called on the CCT’s management to give more attention to publicity for its activities to be heard all over the country via advocacy and media campaign to bring to the consciousness of the public of the consequence of Code of Conduct infractions.
He said emphasis should be given to prevention of crime, rather than punitive mechanism as the case in advance clans.