Saraki’s Trial: CCT Chairman Dismisses Application Seeking His Disqualification
The Chairman of the Code of Conduct Tribunal has dismissed the application filed by Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki seeking his withdrawal from Saraki’s trial at the tribunal, holding that the application lacks merit.
In his ruling, Justice Danladi Umar said that the Attorney-General of the Federation has no powers to investigate any person. It is only the security and law enforcement agencies that have that power and it is only when they have concluded their investigation that the Attorney-General can prosecute.
Justice Umar said that in the instant case, the EFCC which carried out the investigation of the Chairman of the CCT has come out to say that it has no case against the Chairman.
The letter referred to by the defence was an interim report which was made to the Attorney-General in 2014 and that a further correspondence by the anti-graft agency indicated clearly that the Chairman has been cleared because there was no sufficient evidence against him.
He also said that the EFCC is not answerable to the Attorney-General in the cause of performing its constitutional duty as the position by the defence that only the Attorney-General can clear the CCT Chairman is misconceived.
He explained that only the EFCC which investigated the Chairman can clear him, and this they have done.
Finally, he added that it is to be noted that the letter of June 2015 supersedes that of March 5, 2014.
Therefore, the “tribunal holds that the application lacks absolute merit and is hereby dismissed in its entirety”.
The Chairman of the Tribunal, Mr Danladi Umar, had fixed Thursday, April 28 for ruling on the Senate President’s application and then continuation of the cross examination.
This was after the counsel to the Senate President, Mr Raphael Oluyede, on Wednesday told the Chairman of the Code of Conduct Tribunal, Mr Danladi Umar, that he lacked moral justification to preside over his client’s trial on an allegation of false declaration of asset.
He requested that he should disqualify himself from his trial.
Mr Oluyede, during the hearing, insisted that Mr Danladi was still under investigation by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the same agency that allegedly filed the criminal charges against him.
He alleged that it was obvious that the said investigation was used as a bait by the EFCC to get Mr Danladi to do its bidding.
He, therefore, asked the Chairman to excuse himself from the case, in the interest of justice and fair hearing.
Objecting the motion, the prosecuting counsel, Rotimi Jacobs, asked the Tribunal to dismiss the motion, claiming it lacked merit.
He accused the Senate President of harassment, citing a bill before the Senate attempting to amend the Act that established the CCT and the Code of Conduct Bureau.
Mr Jacobs also described the issues raised in the motion as matters of sentiment which had no place in law.
He also accused the Senate President and his team of predicating the motion on the wrong assumption that the EFCC was the one trying the Senate President when it was the Federal Government.
To this end, he asked that the motion be discountenanced.