Assets Declaration: How Petitions Land Ex-Customs Chief at CCT
The Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) Abuja has been told that a body Isale Eko Youhs Movement and an Abuja based lawyer Mr. Amobi Nzelu Petitioned a retired Deputy Comptroller General of the Customs Mr. Rasheed Owolabi Taiwo at the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) over his alleged failure to declare his assets as required by law.
At the commencement of trial of the defendant, the prosecution witness 1 Mrs Kahinde Balogun, a staff of the Intelligence Investigative and Monitoring unit of the Code of Conduct Bureau said her office received the two petitions against Taiwo for not declaring his assets.
Mrs Balogun in her evidence in chief stated before the two man panel of CCT, chaired by Mr. Danladi Yakubu Umar, that her office in Abuja, received two petitions from Isale Eko Youth Movement and Amobi Nzelu & Co.
‘‘I am here to tell the court what I know about the defendant in this case. In March 2010, two petitions were received by Code of Conduct Bureau, against the Dependant, the first petition was written by Isale Eko Youth Movement, alleging amongst other things that the defendant owns some properties in various places, including Government Reservation Area in Ikeja, Lagos state’’ she said.
Mrs Balogun, said that ‘‘the second petition was written by a Law Firm Amobi Nzelu & Co, alleging non-declaration of asset’’.
Upon the receipt of the petitions, she said that her Department in the headquarters wrote its office in Lagos, instructing it to carryout preliminary investigation of the alleged properties in Lagos.
She however, maintained that her department in the headquarters sought for the confirmation from Bureau Asset Department, the status of the defendant’s assets declaration, and that the Lagos office investigation reports revealed that the ownership of the those properties could not be ascertained.
The witness further said that assets department in the headquarters responded that the defendant has not declared his assets with Code of Conduct Bureau as required.
The PW I tendered the first petition by Isale Eko Youths Movement, and other documents, which the defense counsel Mr. Lanre Ogunlesi (SAN) objected its admissibility.
The defense counsel submitted that the documents sought to be tendered were photocopies and that they cannot be admitted as evidence claiming that the provision about certification is very clear in the Evidence Act, because the documents in question are not certified copies.
He maintained that the prosecution has not laid the foundation for his documents to be admitted as legal document to be relied upon.
He said: ‘‘if my learned friend can produce the original copies of the documents, I would not have any problem with him’’.
After a prolonged argument both sides, agreed on the admissibility of the documents as exhibit for the trial to go without delay, but with condition that the prosecution would in the later date make a proper submission.
The Tribunal Chairman adjourned the matter for continuation of trial to November 13, 2017.