Buhari reneges on assets pledge again, fails to release documents after CCB verification
President Muhammadu Buhari has yet again reneged on his promise to make specific details of his assets public, failing to release comprehensive particulars of assets he filed to the Code of Conduct Bureau.
The president had said he would make full disclosure after verification of the listed items by the CCB.
A statement by the Code of Conduct Bureau on Wednesday said verification of the president’s assets had “since” been concluded.
On September 3, 2015, in the face of widespread criticisms, the presidency through Garba Shehu, a presidential spokesperson, had released only some details of assets and liabilities filed by President Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.
The statement said Mr. Buhari had N30 million in his bank account before taking office on May 29, while Mr. Osinbajo had N94 million and $900,000.
It listed other assets of the president to include five houses in Kaduna, Daura, Kano and Abuja; two undeveloped plots of land, one in Kano and the other in Port Harcourt.
Mr. Buhari also had farms, an orchard, ranch, livestock including 270 cattle, 25 sheep, five horses, a variety of birds and a number of economic trees, according to the statement. The president had an unstated “number of cars”.
Vice President Osinbajo owned 4-bedroom residence at Victoria Garden City, Lagos and a 3-bedroom flat at 2 Mosley Road, Ikoyi, the statement said.
He also had a 2-bedroom flat at the popular Redemption Camp along Lagos-Ibadan Expressway and a 2-bedroom mortgaged property in Bedford, England.
Apart from his law firm, known as SimmonsCooper, he had shareholding in Octogenerium Ltd., Windsor Grant Ltd., Tarapolsa, Vistorion Ltd., Aviva Ltd. and MTN Nigeria – all based in Lagos.
The release lacked specific details such as addresses and value of listed houses, and assets of spouses and unmarried children under 18.
The announcement came after repeated refusal by the new government to fulfil its promise of making the president’s assets public within its first 100 days in office.
Initially, the presidency had told Nigerians that Mr. Buhari was awaiting verification of the declared assets by the Code of Conduct Bureau before going public.
A week away from the government’s 100th day in office, amid mounting criticism, the presidency and the ruling All Progressives Congress denied Mr. Buhari made any promise within his first 100 days in office. That claim was proven to be untrue.
When the presidency finally released some details of the assets, it assured Nigerians that full disclosure contained in the filed documents would be made public immediately after verification by the CCB.
“As soon as the CCB is through with the process, the documents will be released to the Nigerian public and people can see for themselves,” the statement by Mr. Shehu had said.
But a statement by the Code of Conduct Bureau on Wednesday shows the president reneged on that promise.
The statement, issued in response to a news report that verification of assets and liabilities declared by Messrs. Buhari, Osinbajo, President of the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, and other top government officials, including Speaker Yakubu Dogara, had not been completed, CCB said it had concluded the process of verifying the declarations of the mentioned officials.
“The bureau wishes to inform the general public that it has since concluded the verification of assets declared by those mentioned in the said publication,” CCB said in a statement by its Head, Press and Protocol, Mohammed Idris.
While the statement did not disclose when the verification was concluded, it said the process was “since concluded”.
Some officials yet to declare assets
The statement also disclosed that there were still some government officials who were yet to comply with the law by declaring their assets and liabilities.
It however said the rate of compliance by public officers had increased since Mr. Buhari assumed office.
The bureau appealed to defaulting public officers to comply with the law by declaring their assets and liabilities to the bureau.
“The bureau will like to use this medium to appeal to those who are yet to declare their assets to visit the Asokoro, Head Office of No 23, Halle Salasi Street Asokoro, Abuja to collect, fill and submit same to the office,” said the statement.
“It could be observed that since the inception of the present administration under President Muhammadu Buhari, the rate of compliance by public officials in responding to assets declaration has greatly increased,” said the statement.
Apparently referring to Mr. Saraki who is facing corruption trial at the Code of Conduct, CCB added that, “Therefore, the said publication is another trick to misinform the public so as to undermine the ongoing trials of cases of false declaration of assets before the Code of Conduct Tribunal”.
The presidency did not respond to requests for comment for this story. Mr. Buhari’s spokespersons, Femi Adesina and Garba Shehu, did not respond to calls and text messages to their phones.
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