Adetutu Folasade-Koyi and Godwin Tsa, Abuja
Barring any change in plans, the Code of Conduct Bureau, (CCB) is set to file charges against the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the November 16 governorship election in Bayelsa State, Senator Duoye Diri, at the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT), over alleged non declaration of assets.
Daily Sun, yesterday, gathered that the CCB would file charges against Diri at the CCT for his failure to appear before it thrice, after a whistleblower had accused him of non-declaration of assets during his time as a deputy chief of staff and principal executive secretary to Governor Seriake Dickson in 2012 and 2014, respectively.
Diri was expected to appear before the CCB on Wednesday but did not show up.
His invitation at the CCB followed a petition by a non-governmental organisation, Bayelsa Coalition for Good Governance and Accountability (BCGGA), over allegations of breaches of code of conduct for public officers.
A source at the investigation department of the Bureau reiterated that Diri shunned the CCB’s invitation on three different occasions; a situation that left the CCB with no other option than to file charges against him at the CCT.
“The Bureau has given him the opportunity to come and clarify the issues contained in the petition against him but he has refused to take advantage of it.
“This is the third time he has turned down our invitation and the Bureau cannot be waiting for him forever. As a responsible organisation, we know what to do within the law. That is to say that the Bureau may have no other better option than to file charges against him at the Code of Conduct Tribunal as soon as possible.”
However, the NGO alleged that the CCB has failed to act on its September 17, 2019 petition.
Executive Director of the BCGGA, Joseph Ambakederimo, told newsmen in Abuja, yesterday, that having waited since September and no action has been taken on the petition, even after the petition had been confirmed, the next step is to sue the CCB and compel the court to issue an order of Mandamus on the matter.
Ambakederimo also disclosed that a copy of the petition would be forwarded to President Muhammadu Buhari, for further action.
“This petition is based on the non-declaration of assets and false declaration of assets by senator Diri. I wrote the petition to the CCB, as it is saddled with the responsibility to check public officers. I undertook discreet investigation and in the course of the investigation, I stumbled on actionable materials because whoever wants to be governor of Bayelsa State must be seen to be above board.
“The PDP candidate was invited thrice by the CCB, the third time being on October 23, and he didn’t show up. I appeared before the CCB on October 7. I am from Bayelsa and when the CCB said they had no address to serve him, the excuse was that as a sitting senator, he could be served through the Clerk of the National Assembly. That was done. Still, he didn’t show up. The next thing was his lawyer showing up at the CCB, they collected the letter, acknowledged it and, he was supposed to appear on October 23, but again, he didn’t. His counsel is not in breach of the law; it is senator Diri.
“When he worked in 2012, as the deputy chief of staff and later, principal executive secretary to the governor in 2014, he didn’t declare his assets. The law states that on assumption of office, he was supposed to declare his assets. Also, on leaving office, he was supposed to declare his assets. That is the law. So, for the two appointments, he is supposed to have declared his assets four times. The fact that he was elected to the House of Representatives was even faulty; same as his swearing in as a senator. If the security agencies did their jobs, he would not even have been elected to the House of Representatives.
“There is also the issue of false declaration of assets. Materials from my investigation have been submitted to the CCB; yet, coupled with his non-appearance, what is senator Diri hiding and what is the CCB doing? What is holding them back, few weeks to the election?
“My fears are coming to reality. Since September, nothing has been done. That is why I’m addressing this press conference today (yesterday). I want Nigerians to ask the CCB chairman what is happening. Having been invited three times, is he above the law? Is a serving senator above the law?