Financial Pressures: CCB State Offices Strain Under Cash Crunch, Verifications Stalled

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CCB State Offices Strain Under Cash Crunch, Verifications Stalled

The Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) is facing significant challenges due to a lack of funding, which is impeding its ability to carry out its mandate effectively. The bureau, responsible for verifying assets declared by state governors, their deputies, commissioners, and other political office holders, is currently facing financial constraints that are affecting its operations at both the headquarters and state levels.

At the state level, the 36 CCB offices are responsible for handling thousands of asset declaration forms and accompanying documents belonging to political office holders and career civil servants. However, the CCB headquarters in Abuja owes these state offices running cost allowances for approximately seven months, severely hampering their operations.

The lack of funds has impacted the state offices’ ability to conduct necessary follow-ups on asset declaration forms submitted by various public officials, as mandated by the 1999 constitution. This includes governors, deputy governors, commissioners, state assembly lawmakers, local government chairmen, government aides, and career civil servants.

Despite being allocated funds in the 2023 Appropriation Act, the CCB is reportedly facing underfunding issues, with its acting Chairman, Murtala Kankia, highlighting the challenges in adequately funding the bureau’s operations. The bureau received a total of N15.24 billion over five years, but its budget allocations have been insufficient to meet operational needs.

The recent appointment of Dr. Abdullahi Bello as the new CCB chairman pending confirmation by the Senate signals a potential shift in leadership. However, the funding challenges persist, affecting the bureau’s ability to verify assets declared by public officials and prosecute cases at the tribunal effectively.

The financial constraints have led to delays in payments to staff, including ad hoc personnel, security personnel, drivers, and cleaners attached to state offices. Additionally, the state offices are struggling to pay electricity and water bills, carry out routine maintenance, and meet other financial obligations.

The situation has raised concerns among stakeholders, with some expressing worry about the effectiveness of the CCB in combating corruption. There are allegations that the bureau has been made “a toothless bulldog” due to insufficient funding, hindering its capacity to verify assets acquired by public officials and prosecute cases effectively.

Civil society organizations have called for urgent action to address the funding challenges facing the CCB, emphasizing the importance of the bureau’s independence and effectiveness in combating corruption. Without adequate funding, the CCB’s ability to fulfill its mandate and uphold accountability in public office may be compromised.

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