The Code of Conduct Bureau has warned members-elect of the Ondo State House of Assembly against a breach of the bureau’s act by falsely declaring their assets, as doing such could result in disqualification from the house.
The Ondo state director of CCB, Akinola Aramide-Atolagbe, at a seminar for members of the House of Assembly in Akure on Thursday, said members were required by law to truthfully declare their assets as a minimum condition to which they must conform while in public office.
The code requires elected or appointed public office holders to declare their properties and liabilities and those of their unmarried children, three months after taking the oath of office and after leaving office at the expiration of their four-year tenure.
Mr. Aramide-Atolagbe said failure to do so truthfully would amount to a breach of the code and would attract punishments including the “disqualification from membership of a legislative house and from holding of any public office for a period not exceeding ten years.”
He noted that although the law gives right of appeal, the relevant section of the Constitution did not provide for the prerogative of mercy for any punishment imposed by the Code of Conduct Tribunal.
“The Code of Conduct for public officers is a condition precedent for any elected public office holder as contained in the oath of office and as such a breach of the Code renders such an officer unworthy of continuing in public office,” he said.
According to him, the punishment may also involve the seizure and forfeiture of any property acquired in abuse of office.
He explained that the code was a procedure that appealed to the conscience of the public officer encouraging him to do the right thing “rather than wait until a breach is reported and to be chased about.”
He encouraged the lawmakers to develop a strong personal philosophy to do the right thing no matter what others are doing, as it would help to reposition the already battered public service and promote it to its former glory.
Also the director of the bureau in Ekiti State, Akinfolarin Feyisola, who took the lawmakers through the procedure for the filling of the asset declaration forms, said public office holders are expected to collect and fill the forms within 30 days.
“We urge each officer to assist the Code of Conduct Bureau and our great country in achieving the aims and objectives for which it was set up by complying with our constitutional responsibility and performing our duties effectively and efficiently,” he said.
Members of the house, both elected and outgoing, also used the forum to ask pertinent questions and were enlightened on the various pitfalls of asset declaration.