The Senate has indefinitely postponed the investigation of the Chairman, Code of Conduct Tribunal, Danladi Umar, in the case of assault brought by a petitioner Mr. Clement Sargwat and his lawyers.
The Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petition which is tasked with investigating the assault case is disclosing that Mr. Umar has gotten an originating summon from the court last week, challenging the jurisdiction of the Senate and its committee to continue to entertain the case of assault brought before it.
He is asking the court to determine whether or not the Senate is usurping the powers of the police and the court.
Presenting the court summon, the Chairman of the Committee Senator Ayo Akinyelure announced the decision of his committee to set aside the case, pending the outcome of the case in court.
However the lawyer to the Petitioner, Timizing Venjiris maintained that the Ethics committee cannot be restrained from going on with its investigation noting all that was served the Senate was a mere originating summon which he said was not an Order of any court stopping the Senate from concluding its investigation into the matter.
The committee however set aside the case indefinitely.
The Senate then summoned the CCT Chairman to defend himself.
Umar when he appeared before the lawmakers on Tuesday said he was not properly served with the petition and based on the principle of fair hearing, he should be given sufficient time to allow him to study the petition.
The Chairman of the Committee, Ayo Akinyelure, said the committee resolved to give Mr Umar two weeks – till May 18, to reappear before the committee.
The Senate following the viral video directed its Committee on Ethics, Privileges, and Public Petitions to probe the assault on the security guard.
The petitioner said he was assaulted by Mr. Umar and a policeman attached to him after he informed him that his car was wrongly parked at the popular Banex Plaza in Abuja.
The Senate Committee on Ethics and Privileges is granting the Chairman Code of Conduct Tribunal Mr. Danladi Umar, two weeks grace period to reappear before the committee and answer allegations of an assault on a security guard at Banex Plaza in Abuja.
Mr. Umar who is appeared before the committee on Tuesday told lawmakers that he was not properly served with the petition, and based on the principle of fair hearing, he should be given sufficient time to allow him to study the petition.
The Senate committee is consequently giving him two weeks to prepare and face the lawmakers.
The Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) has insisted that Justice Danladi Umar remains its chairman in the prosecution of public officers who contravene asset declaration laws in the country, as mandated by the Federal Government and the Nigerian Constitution.
CCT Head of Press and Public Relations, Mr Ibraheem Alhassan, made the clarification during an interview with PRNigeria in Abuja.
According to a statement from the media outfit on Thursday, Justice Umar has fixed June 20 and 21 for the trial of public officers from Bauchi and Kwara states, for allegedly violating various provisions of the Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act.
Alhassan, who made the clarification following insinuations in the social media, disclosed that the CCT chairman had promised that all the forthcoming cases in Kwara and Bauchi State would be treated dispassionately to ensure that justice was done.
The supposed defaulters to be arraigned for prosecution by the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) are mostly political appointees and civil servants.
The CCT spokesman, however, urged Nigerians to disregard the insinuations concerning the status of Justice Umar in the Tribunal.
He stated that contrary to the reports, the position of the justice and members of the Tribunal are guaranteed by the Constitution.
Meanwhile, the media outfit had interviewed a legal practitioner, Mr Yunus Abdulsalam, who explained that the CCT was established by Section 15(1) of the Fifth Schedule, of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Mr Abdulsalam said, “By virtue of the further provisions in Section 15, the Chairman of the tribunal must be qualified to hold office as a judge of a superior court in Nigeria. Also, the Chairman and other two members are appointed by the President on the recommendation of the National Judicial Council.”
“The Chairman’s tenure of office ends when attaining the age of 70 and the Chairman cannot be removed by the President except upon an address supported by two-thirds majority of each House of the National Assembly, which means the Senate and House of Representatives praying that he be so removed for inability to discharge the functions of the office,” he added.
The lawyer stressed further that Section 17 clearly stated that anyone holding the office of chairman or member of the CCT should vacate the office when attaining the age of 70.
He said if anybody who held office as chairman or member of the Tribunal for a period of 10 years or more retires at 70, such person would be entitled to a life pension.
Abdulsalam argued that such person cannot be removed from office before the retiring age except in accordance with the provisions of the act.
He, however, stated that, “According to section 18, where the Code of Conduct Tribunal finds a public officer guilty of contravening any of the provisions of the Code of conduct for public officers, such public officer may be directed to vacate the office or seat in any legislative house as the case may be, or, be disqualified from membership of a legislative house and from holding any public office for a period of 10 years or seizure and forfeiture to the state of any property acquired in abuse or corruption of office.”
The lawyer noted that the penalties are without prejudice to any penalty that may be given by a court in cases where the offence was of a criminal nature.
He maintained that CCT has jurisdiction over public officers at all tiers and arms of the government.
The arraignment of the Chairman of Code of Conduct Tribunal, Mr Danladi Umar has been stalled.
Mr Umar was scheduled to be arraigned on Thursday, over an allegation of receiving N10million from one Rasheed Owolabi Taiwo.
He was to be arraigned before the Chief Judge of the FCT High Court, Justice Ishaq Bello, but court authorities said the matter has been transferred to FCT High Court, Jabi.
The charge was filed on behalf of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) by Festus Keyamo, SAN, at the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory.
The Attorney-General had directed the EFCC Chairman, Mr Ibrahim Magu, to explain why he instituted the charge at the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory against the Chairman of Code of Conduct Tribunal, Danladi Umar.
In the query, the Attorney-General also demanded an explanation from Mr Festus Keyamo to explain who briefed him to file the charge against the CCT Chairman.
The CCT chairman is accused of asking for a bribe to the tune of ten million naira from one Rasheed Owolabi Taiwo, in 2012, as payment for a favour to be afterwards shown to him in relation to the pending Charge in the Code of Conduct Tribunal.
An Abuja High Court has fixed March 15 for the arraignment of the Chairman of the Code of Conduct Bureau, Danladi Umar, over alleged corruption.
The Federal Government had filed a two count corruption charge against Mr Umar.
The two-count charge marked CR/109/18 was signed by Festus Keyamo.
In the charge, Mr Umar is accused asking for a bribe to the tune of 10million naira only while presiding over a case with Charge No. CCT/ABJ/03/13 involving one Rasheed Owolabi Taiwo, in 2012, at Abuja, for a favour to be afterwards shown to him in relation to the pending Charge (in thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 12(1)(a) & (b) of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2003.
Mr Umar is also alleged have received another one point eight million naira from the said Rasheed Owolabi through his Personal Assistant Gambo Abdullahi, for a favour to be afterwards shown to him in relation to the pending charge in discharge of his official duties and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 12(1)(a)&(b) of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2003.
The case has consequently be assigned to the Chief Judge of the court, Justice Ishaq Bello.
Mr Danladi Umar, as chairman of the Code of Conduct Tribunal, will continue the trial of Mr RasheedOwolabii-Taiwo over alleged non-declaration of assets, despite the pending charge against him.
The Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) has struck out an application filed by the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, against the Chairman of the tribunal, Justice Danladi Umar.
Senator Saraki had accused Mr Umar of being bias and asked him to disqualify himself from hearing the case on alleged abuse of office and non-declaration of asset levelled against the Senate President.
Saraki filed the application at the last sitting of the Tribunal on July 8, following a statement Umar made on July 7 that the defendant must face the consequences of his trial, no matter how much he delayed the proceedings.
Fair Trial From Tribunal
In the motion argued by his lawyer, Paul Erukoro, the Senate President had insisted that the statement was prejudicial and that he was not confident of a fair trial from the Tribunal.
In a ruling delivered at the resumption of the hearing on Wednesday, the Chairman of the Tribunal first apologised for the comment made.
“As human beings, we are bound to make mistakes and it is only (the) Almighty God that is infallible,” said Umar.
He also expressed surprise that since the alleged comment was made, no one had taken time to verify it, claiming that his statements were misconstrued.
Justice Umar further told the Tribunal that hiscomment was not intended to prejudice the defendant.
Allegation Of Bias
The Chairman, however, declined to disqualify himself from participating in the trial on the ground of the comment, noting that it was constrained by the provisions of the Code of Conduct Act.
He stated further that the act empowered only the Tribunal to try cases of abuse of office and non-declaration of assets.
Umar pointed out that the Chairman of the Tribunal could not be removed, except where he had reached the age of retirement, or unless the President of Nigeria sent an address to the National Assembly.
He maintained that without any address from the President, there was nothing the National Assembly could do to remove the CCT Chairman.
Umar concluded that that the allegation of bias in the instant case was based on hearsay and not verifiable facts.
He, therefore, threw out the application for lack of merit.
After the decision was made, counsel to the Senate President said they would look at the decision of the Tribunal before taking a position on it.
The Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) sitting in Abuja, on Tuesday pronounced former Minister of Niger Delta, Godswill Orubebe, guilty of non-declaration of asset.
The asset is in a choice area of Abuja, Asokoro.
Chairman of the tribunal, Justice Danladi Umar, announced a forfeiture of the property.
Justice Umar explained that the testimonies and document presented by the prosecution prove that the former minister is guilty as charged.
He further stated that while the minister claimed that the property was on rent from the federal government, the rejection of the claim by his former landlord to allow him exercise his right over the property rendered the power of attorney useless.
Mr Orubebe was charged by the Code of Conduct Bureau for alleged failure to declare landed property in Kyamu and Asokoro district, both in Abuja, on assumption of office as minister on September 26, 2007.
In the other counts, Mr Orubebe was also accused of allegedly accepting bribes totalling 70 million naira for the award of contracts in favour of his company.
Mr Orubebe’s name had been in the news after the presidential election of March 28, 2015.
The Senate is to begin investigating allegations of corruption levelled against the Chairman of the Code of Conduct Tribunal, Mr Danladi Umar.
The Senate took the decision to commence the investigation after a federal lawmaker, Senator Obinna Ogba, submitted a petition on behalf of a group, the Anti-Corruption Network which made the allegations against the CCT Chairman.
Senate President, Bukola Saraki, referred the petition to the Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions for legislative work.
The same group had submitted a petition to the House of Representatives against the CCT Chairman over similar allegations.
The Chairman of CCT, Mr Danladi, is currently hearing a case of false asset declaration against the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki.
The House of Representatives has received a petition alleging corruption against the Chairman of the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT), Mr Danladi Umar.
The CCT Chairman is alleged to have been involved in the misappropriation of funds amounting to millions of Naira, including fictitious contract for the supply of office furniture and fittings in the sum of 11.4 million Naira.
Presenting the petition on behalf of a civil society organisation, Anti-corruption Network, the Chairman, House Committee on Army, Representative Shawulu Kwewum, alleged that Mr Umar was to be arrested based on the recommendation of the former Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation, Mr Mohammed Adoke.
According to him, Mr Sdoke had recommended that two persons be arrested and investigated for alleged corruption, but while one Ali Abdullahi was arrested and prosecuted the other person, who is the current chairman of the CCT, was not.
Mr Kwelum insisted that the CCT Chairman be made to face the law in compliance with the recommendations of the former Attorney-General of the Federation.
The Speaker, Yakubu Dogara, later directed that the petition be laid before the House, while the Committee on Public Petition should take charge of the matter.