President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbanjo may have contravened the constitution by reconstituting the board of the Code of Conduct Tribunal, according to a report by the Premium Times. President Muhammadu Buhari had last month sent the name of the nominees to the Senate.Vice President Professor Yemi Osinbanjo appointed the board members in June this year, while the President was away on medical leave.
How the Presidency may have erred
The Vice President may have inadvertently shown disregard for court processes by ignoring the pending suits on the dissolution of the former Board of CCB at the Court of Appeal and the National Industrial Court (NIC).
The board members that were removed were yet to attain the mandatory retirement age of 70 years as stipulated by the constitution. The removal was also done without the approval of two thirds of the Senate as stated in the law setting up the bureau. The members can only be removed on the grounds of ill health and gross misconduct.
The letter removing the board members was addressed to the Chairman of the board, Sam Saba while the members were given individual appointment letters.
While a letter addressed to Saba stated that the removal was due to their reaching the end of their tenure, the constitution does not specify the length of tenure of the Chairman and board members.
The Code of Conduct Bureau was established by virtue of the 1979 constitution and has since been retained in subsequent constitutions. The Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act of 1990 outlines the bureau’s functions which include to receive asset declaration forms, ascertain them, and ensure compliance with the laws. The commission is also mandated by the law to receive complaints pertaining to asset declarations and if need be, refer them to the code of conduct tribunal.