Politicians Are Corrupting The Court, Clarke insists

Mr Robert Clarke speaks during an interview on Channels Television’s Sunday Politics on June 28, 2020.

 

 

A Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Robert Clarke, has insisted that politicians contribute majorly to the problem of governance in the country.

Speaking during his appearance on Channels Television’s Sunday Politics, he decried that politicians have continued to corrupt the judicial arm of the government.

He said, “Judiciary is not a problem; judiciary is an institution that we need whether we like it or not, and it is the only force in the country today that one can still rely upon.

“Politicians are our problem; as I have said before in one of my interviews here that the politicians are corrupting the court; they are corrupting the judges and there is nothing we can do”.

Clarke believes the system itself is corrupt and the judiciary has a self-cleansing institution which is the Federal Judicial Service Commission which has the Chief Justice of Nigeria as its chairman.

He explained that the commission has the responsibility of sanctioning erring judges, but based on petitions received.

 

A Faulty Constitution?

The senior advocate decried the situation where two judges of coordinate jurisdictions give different judgements on political cases.

“It is the rascality we think should not creep into the judiciary, but I still hold it that these events have been created by politicians,” he stressed.

Clarke also faulted the system of governance in the country, saying the 1999 Constitution was the problem of Nigeria.

“This Constitution allows power to be given to individual governors or Mr President to the extent that as soon as they get into the position of responsibility, their personal ego takes over and there is no instrument that can stop them except impeachment and how do you get impeachment when virtually all members of the House are under the portfolio of the governor?” he questioned.

The SAN added, “So, it is the system that is wrong. When you spend billions of naira to get the nomination for a gubernatorial election in a party or when campaigning as a president, you have to traverse the whole of Nigeria; you don’t need such a system.

“It is too expensive; we cannot afford it. We have to change it.”

Without A New Constitution, Nigeria Will Be Burning In Five Years, Says Clarke

Mr Robert Clarke

 

 

A Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Mr Robert Clarke, says there is an urgent need for a total overhaul of the nation’s Constitution.

He stated this during his appearance on Channels Television’s weekend political show, Sunday Politics, where he warned that there might be consequences if the issue was not taken seriously.

The senior lawyer decried the level of poverty and unemployment which he said could set the nation on fire in the next few years if nothing was done.

He stressed that the crop of political elites in the country has no other option than to support a new Constitution.

“They (the elites) have no alternative and (President Muhammadu) Buhari is there, and God will give him that will.

“I am praying because, in five years’ time, I am not joking, Nigeria is going to be burning. Poverty is too much and we are not creating opportunities,” Clarke said.

He believes having a new Constitution is the right thing for the nation if it must tackle the numerous challenges facing it.

 

Change The Constitution

On the anti-corruption war of the Federal Government, he noted that the Buhari administration has made some progress but more needed to be done.

READ ALSO: Buhari Is Handicapped By The Nature Of Administration He Is Leading – Clarke

According to the senior advocate, the present administration has been able to close the tunnel of corruption but a new Constitution is significant to tackle the menace headlong.

He disagreed with the notion that the nation’s laws were encouraging corruption, stressing that Nigeria has a faulty Constitution.

“Restructure Nigeria, change the Constitution.  Let us change the Constitution and restructure because governance in Nigeria is taking 80 per cent, that’s what the new budget has told us.

“Why should we be spending 80 per cent of our revenue on government expenses?” Clarke questioned.

“It is not the laws, the laws are made to regulate. The Constitution is the cankerworm that is eating us up in corruption.

“The Constitution we are operating upon is a corrupt Constitution; is a rotten egg,” he added while insisting that it must be “terminated”.

 

Slash Political Appointments

The SAN noted that former Presidents Olusegun Obasanjo and Goodluck Jonathan made efforts to review the Constitution by organising conferences while in office.

He, however, stated that both leaders never laid a foundation for any legal basis upon which the recommendations of the conferences would be implemented.

Clarke advised President Buhari not to “make the same mistake” but send a bill to the National Assembly, informing them about his intention to set up a parliament to look into restructuring and review the Constitution.

He added that the President should urge the lawmakers to pass a bill which he would assent to that whatever decision the panel arrives at would be sent to Nigerians and if approved, it would be brought back to the National Assembly for proper legislation.

The senior advocate also recommended that President Buhari should cut the cost of governance by reducing political appointments, as well as Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs) in the country.

Buhari Is Handicapped By The Nature Of Administration He Is Leading – Clarke

 

Chief Robert Clarke says President Muhammadu Buhari is handicapped by the nature of government he is leading. 

The Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) who was a guest on Channels Television’s Sunday politics, says the government of today in Nigeria operating “the 1999 constitution that allows corruption to rear its head in every field of endeavor cannot be fighting corruption.

According to Chief Clarke, President Buhari is handicapped because the same system in which he operates is the one creating corruption.

READ ALSO: I Do Not Accept That The Whole 8th Assembly Frustrated Buhari’s Corruption Fight – Clarke

“You have a government that is fighting corruption whereas the system you are operating to fight the corruption is also breading the corruption. The system allows corruption to thrive,” Chief Clarke said.

He was of the opinion that corruption cannot be eradicated because it emanates from the system.

Speaking about possible solutions to the corruption problem, Chief Clarke was of the opinion that since the constitution is the canker-worm breeding corruption in Nigeria, then it must be done away with.

“The constitution we are operating upon is a corrupt one… Let us change the constitution and restructure,” Chief Clarke noted.

I Do Not Accept That The Whole 8th Assembly Frustrated Buhari’s Corruption Fight – Clarke

 

Robert Clarke, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) has said he slightly disagrees with the notion which suggests that the Eight National Assembly frustrated President Muhammadu Buhari’s Government in the fight against corruption.

Chief Clarke who was a guest on Channels Television’s Sunday Politics made the comment in reaction to a statement by the Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee against Corruption (PACAC), Professor Itse Sagay.

Professor Sagay had said that the capacity of corruption to fight back has been reduced with the expiration of the Eight Assembly.

READ ALSO: Eight Assembly Frustrated FG’s Efforts To Fight Corruption, Says Sagay

Sagay opined that the Eight Assembly did everything they could to frustrate the (Federal) Government in the fight against corruption, a claim which Chief Clarke believes is a very sweeping statement.

According to Chief Clarke, Prof Sagay’s statement is one which would need to be proven with evidence and facts.

“I don’t know what evidence he has, I know he is a very good lawyer and maybe he has facts which I don’t have but I believe and I agree with him that some or the leadership of the 8th Assembly could be described with that tag that he (Sagay) has now given to the 8th Assembly,” Chief Clarke said.

Mr Clarke said it is not fair to place the tag on the whole of the 8th Assembly, adding that he agrees with Professor Sagay that some of those in the legislature at the time could be said to be frustrating the government’s efforts.

“Professor Sagay is correct but it is not to the extent of the whole 8th Assembly, but the core leaders,” Chief Clarke stressed.

P&ID: ‘Is It Really A Scam?’ – Clarke Questions UK Judgement On Nigeria

A Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mr Robert Clarke, has reacted to the recent judgement delivered by a British Court in the case between the Federal Government and the Process and Industrial Developments (P&ID).

 

A Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mr Robert Clarke, has reacted to the recent judgement delivered by a British Court in the case between the Federal Government and the Process and Industrial Developments (P&ID).

Clarke who was a guest on Channels Television’s Politics Today on Thursday questioned the legality of the verdict that ordered the stay execution of the $9.6bn judgment delivered in favour of Process and Industrial Developments in August this year.

“I think we have to get the judgement set aside. I have not had the opportunity of reading, it calls for arbitration for so many years in international fora and this government was not aware.

“I am too clear that the judgement that was being enforced today has been delivered for some 24 or 30 months ago. And we have been sitting really wrong. Is it really a scam? If it is a scam, God has helped Nigeria a lot. We can use it as a defence,” he stated.

READ ALSO: $9.6bn Fine: FG Pleased With UK Court Stay Of Execution Order

When asked for his legal views on the judgement, Clarke noted that certain questions need to be asked relating to the development.

One of such is to ascertain whether the verdict is a scam aimed at siphoning billions from the coffers of the Nigerian government.

“How long will a judgment against the Nigerian government be? Who are the lawyers representing Nigeria? Did it take a year, two years or three years? All these are very necessary to know whether there is a scam or there is no scam,” he said.

Speaking further, the respected lawyers wondered if Nigeria had foreign lawyers to represent her in the United Kingdom.

His comments come shortly after the Federal Government said it is pleased with the UK Court Stay of Execution Order of the $9.6bn judgment it delivered in favour of Process and Industrial Developments in August.

FG through the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, described the development as a positive resolution which was an important step in the government’s efforts to have the matter resolved.

The British Court had granted Nigeria’s request for leave to appeal, enabling the Federal Government to appeal the Court’s recognition of the UK Arbitration Tribunal.

Politicians Have Brought Rot Into The Supreme Court – Clarke

Robert Clarke (SAN) has lamented over the rate of interference in Nigeria’s judiciary by politicians, thereby hindering the delivery of good governance.

The Senior Advocate who disclosed this in an interview on Channels Television’s Sunday Politics called for a reform of Nigeria’s judiciary and the constitution which he faulted for allowing “so much money to filter into the system of politics.”

“I stand by my words and I have no regret to have said that there is a rot in the Supreme Court. I did not say that the Supreme Court judges were rotten. I said politicians have brought rot into the Supreme Court.

“We are all Nigerians we have seen how this country has been managed in the past 20-30 years, it gives no hope to you and I.

“Since politics came in 20 years ago, the judiciary has not been the same, politics has not been the same. The politics of the first, second Republic are quite different from the politics (practiced) in these past 20 years.

“This is a rotten constitution that allows so much money to filter into the system of politics,” he lamented.

Clarke also gave his opinion on the Supreme Court verdict on the Osun State election

According to him, the Supreme court’s verdict is ‘deadly correct’ in the interest of fairness and justice.

“The judgement of the Supreme Court came as a surprise to some elements of the society in Osun State and also did not come as a surprise to many people who are learned in the law.

“The judgement was by a majority of five to two. The five judges giving judgement to the APC decided that due to the fact that the lead man who wrote the judgement in the tribunal never participated on the very valid day that certain decisions were taken and which he now read as judgement.

“The other two claimed that the malpractice surrounding the re-run itself was not necessary and that INEC was really wrong to have conducted that re-run.

“In the interest of justice and fair-haring, the Supreme Court was deadly correct.”

Clarke added that although Supreme court judges are very busy, cross-examination is vital and that the judge should not simply have written the judgement and in the interest of justice.

Onnoghen’s Resignation: Give Government Credit, They Know What They Were Doing – Clarke

 

 

Chief Robert Clarke, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), has said that the Nigerian Government should be given credit for taking the head of the judiciary to a tribunal.

Clarke in an interview with Channels Television’s Seun Okinbaloye on Sunday Politics noted that the government knew what they were doing before they took the action against the Suspended Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen.

He said, “The government has knowledge of many things which you and I don’t have, so if the government decided to go and take the head of the judiciary to a tribunal, give them credit that they know what they were doing.”

In further dissecting Onnoghen’s case with regards to the CJN’s resignation, Clarke noted that a petition by the EFCC warranted Onnoghen’s resignation and not the CCT or the tribunal’s findings.

READ ALSO: Onnoghen Ought To Have Resigned Earlier, Says Professor Tahir

“What has created the situation that he (the CJN) has found himself today is the petition written by EFCC. That petition, he had a copy of it in February,” Clarke opined.

He further stated that Onnoghen had a copy of that petition in February.

“As at February, the CJN was aware of those charges labeled against him.”

Clarke went on to note that at the stage when he got the EFCC’s petition, he should have resigned.

He argued that the politicizing of the situation stopped Onnoghen from doing the needful at the time.

When asked if he would accept Onnoghen’s resignation if he were the President of Nigeria, Chief Clarke said it is best that the political climate is not overheated.

“Let me be honest with you, we should not allow the politics or the political climate to be overheated. I will advise Buhari as President of Nigeria to accept the resignation because if he does not do so, he is creating another heatwave in the politics of the country.”

Nobody Can Challenge Buhari’s Votes In The North, Says Clarke

 

A legal practitioner, Robert Clarke Clarke, says the vote President Muhammadu Buhari got from the northern part of the country cannot be challenged in court.

He stated this on Sunday while appearing on Channels Television’s Politics Today.

The Senior Advocate noted that Buhari enjoys the goodwill from the northern people because of what he described as the ‘President’s track records’.

“Look at the presidential election, nobody can challenge the number of people who voted for President Buhari in the north because there is a track record.

“In 2003, Buhari beat any other candidate in the north, in 2007 he beat any other candidate in the north, in 2011 he beat any other candidate in the north, (same in) 2015. So in 2019, if you look at his performance when you look at his performance, there is a footprint.” He stated.

His comments come two weeks after the People Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate, inaugurated his legal team to challenge the result of the just concluded presidential election.

READ ALSOAnanaba Backs Electronic Voting As Solution To Ballot Box Snatching

Prior to the setting up of the team headed by a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Dr Livy Uzoukwu, Atiku had rejected the result, alleging several malpractices including the use of the military to perfect voters’ intimidation and suppression in PDP strongholds.

He had also accused the All Progressives Congress (APC) of conniving with INEC officials and security agents to fabricate “bogus figures and outright falsification of the returns from the polling units”.

The PDP candidate, thereafter, said he would use all available legitimate means to challenge the result of the election.

But Clarke stressed that he would have advised Atiku against challenging the result if he was his (Atiku’s) lawyer.

According to him, an aggrieved loser at an election should show that the election was riddled with malpractice before succeeding at the tribunal.

“Let’s be honest. The criteria for challenging an election is three-fold. When you go to an election petition, you must first of all show that the election was riddled with malpractice.

“After bringing out the malpractice, you must show that those malpractices affected the result declared by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

“If I were Atiku’s lawyer, I would have told him that it not easy to challenge an election that has given someone four million votes because when we look at the five states of the southeast, the totality of all the states is not up to half, two million votes of what Buhari (got) not to talk of four million,” he stated.

CJN’s Trial: ‘There Is A Rot In The Supreme Court’ — Robert Clarke

 

Robert Clarke, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) has said there is a rot within the Supreme Court. 

Chief Clarke made this assertion while reacting to issues regarding the allegations and planned arraignment of Justice Walter Onnoghen, the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN).

Speaking about the intricacies of the CJN’s case, Clarke said there are two sides to the saga that is playing out, “the legal and the political” side.

According to the advocate, the legal side to the CJN’s case is that due process was not followed before taking him to the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB).

He said, “One will not think that the Federal Government or the Attorney General is naive to know the position of the law as of today, before arraigning Onnoghen before the CC tribunal”.

Clarke said he took the matter to the Lagos High Court but was rejected, then he took it to the Court of Appeal, where a ‘profound’ finding as to the due process to be taken when you want to arraign a sitting Judge, should be.

He noted that according to law, the executive ‘can not and should not’ carry a judge who is still wearing the toga of a judge direct from his chambers straight to the court or tribunal without following due process.

“Being a judicial officer, the constitution has said that the only person or organisation that can question a sitting judge for any misconduct, and misconduct has been defined to include any felonious acts, that before you can do that, you must report him first to his pairs i.e the National Judicial Council (NJC) that looks after misconduct of judges,” the legal practitioner said.

READ ALSO: CJN’s Trial: Industrial Court Orders Substituted Service On CCT Chairman

Legal Practitioner, Mr Robert Clarke

Clarke further noted that until this process is followed and the judge is found guilty and disrobed, can he be taken to any court or tribunal.

“Until that aspect is done, and until he is found guilty, after that and after he has been disrobed as a judge, can you take him to any court or tribunal,” Clarke opined.

He said without going through the right channel, then the FG’s move against Onnoghen is an exercise in futility.

Speaking about the political side of the case, Chief Clarke said there is no other way the Federal Government would have revealed to the people that there was something fishy within the Supreme court.

“There is no way the Federal Government can make you and I know that a judge has so many accounts, has so much money in those accounts and has been operating those accounts”.

“So, the only way they can bring this out to us is to follow this route that they have followed”.

Clarke said while this is not the right route, there is a method in going through this path.

“They know they are not going to get success but they still want to inform you and I and the public that this is the rot in the Supreme Court; you and I must know,” he said.

When asked if there is a rot in the Supreme Court he said, “Definitely”.

While alluding to claims that the Nigerian Supreme Court is the most overworked in the world, Clarke however, noted that this is a self-inflicted injury.

He said the Supreme is taking upon itself cases that should not have been its priority.

Citing certain gubernatorial cases as an example, Clarke asked, “Why should they (Supreme Court) take over jurisdiction on gubernatorial matters”.

He said the law is that gubernatorial elections will terminate before the court of appeal.

The Senior Advocate also blamed politicians for corrupting judges in Nigeria.

He said in the Supreme Court on political matters,  the politicians have corrupted the judges, and “The judges have accepted the corruption”.

Clarke noted that the case against Onnoghen is not an attack against the judiciary.

The legal practitioner said, corruption must be stopped for Nigeria as a nation to progress.

“Corruption has eaten deep everywhere in Nigeria and if corruption creeps into the judiciary, that is the end of this nation,” Clarke said.

The Citadel Of Corruption Is In NASS, Says Robert Clarke

 

A Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Robert Clarke, has decried the rate of corruption in Nigeria, saying that the menace is more rampant in the National Assembly.

He said this on Sunday, during his appearance on Channels Television’s Sunday Politics.

“The citadel of corruption today is in the National Assembly and State Assemblies and in the Executive arm of government,” he said.

Clarke’s comments follow the implementation of the Executive Order (6) signed by President Muhammadu Buhari, to prevent government officials from engaging in corrupt practices.

The order seeks to restrain owners of assets under investigation from carrying out any further transaction on such assets.

The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, said the 50 prominent personalities (whose names were not stated) had been placed on a watch-list and are, therefore, restricted from leaving the country pending the determination of their cases.

Although the lawyer praised President Muhammadu Buhari for the ongoing war against corruption, he faulted the Federal Government for the travel ban, saying that only a court of competent jurisdiction can restrict one who is on trial from travelling out of the country.

He said, “You cannot just say that somebody cannot travel out. And if you have to say it, you have to go to court first. We have a constitution; the constitution says every Nigerian shall have the right to free movement.

“Therefore, if anybody wants to restrict a Nigerian’s freedom of movement for one reason or the other, he must go to court.

“Then he gets an Order ex-parte but that ex-parte order is an interim order which allows the other party to go to court and challenge it.

“Therefore, Government in its good sense will not just go and tell Customs or Immigration that Mr A should not be allowed to travel out.”

Maina Should Be Given A Chance To Speak With Buhari – Robert Clarke

A Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mr Robert Clarke, has supported the idea that the embattled former chairman of the Presidential Task Force on Pension Reforms, Mr Abdulrasheed Maina, should be given a chance to speak with President Muhammadu Buhari.

According to him, there is a lot of rot in the system which indeed needs to be exposed and it would be to the advantage of the government if the president allows Maina a chance to explain things.

He made this position known Tuesday on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily, while reacting to an exclusive interview of Maina in which he insisted that he was innocent of the allegations preferred against him.

Read Also: EXCLUSIVE VIDEO: Maina Breaks Silence, Begs Buhari For Chance To Prove Innocence

“His action now is not to prove his innocence, his action now is to prove that there is a leakage in the system which needs to be covered up and he knows it – It is in the interest of government to call him down and let him speak and show the government where these leakages are.

“Maina has come out now to say that through this system I have been able to steal so much, now I want to help you to curb this system.

“Whichever language he uses, when you recover and you did not tell people and you did not return it, what does that mean,” Mr Clarke questioned.

“If I recover on behalf of government and I still keep the money, it means something else, it’s not recovering.

“If he participated in it, then he has to pay the price, if he did not participate in it and he is aware of it and never blew the whistle then, he is also as guilty.

“But I will agree with him to sit down with Mr President and let Mr President know that the system you are running, there are so many loop holes. That the civil servants in this country have walked through this system and are making a hell of money out of this system – So I agree with him, he should be given the opportunity”.

Mr Clarke also decried the state of the present government, noting that it indeed gives room for corruption.

He, therefore, opined that the system has to be changed from its roots in order to prevent more instance such as this, from rearing its head.

“The system of governance we have, gives room for corruption. This is a classic example where within the system, somebody can sit down and in a long period of time be stealing trillions, whereas, we are now going around the world begging to borrow trillions.

“The problem in Nigeria is that the system is rotten. Unless we change the system of governance, these areas of corruption will always rear their heads”.

Magu’s Rejection, Based On His Inability To Show Competence – Isaac Anumudu

isaac-anumuduLegal practitioner, Isaac Anumudu, says the Senate’s rejection of Ibrahim Magu as the Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), was not based on the DSS report alone, but also bordered on his incompetence for the job.

“Some of us watched the screening and we saw that Magu was rejected not on the report alone but based on his inability to show competence for the job.

“He was asked critical questions based on his job which he could not answer,” he stressed.

Mr Anumudu, also stated that the issue has been unduly hyped by some persons.

He made this known while speaking on Channels Television’s breakfast show, Sunrise Daily.

“There is no complication whatsoever – It is just that certain gladiators, for certain reasons not yet known to Nigerians, are unduly hyping this issue and making a very simple, constitutional issue to look as if it is complicated”.

He, therefore expressed worry over the fact that there could be something else that meets the eye on the issue which according to him, is accentuating it beyond the way it is meant to be.

Quoting Section 2 (3) of the EFCC Act, Mr Anumudu, explained that the nomination and subsequent confirmation of the EFCC Chairman is not a duty of the President alone as it is subject to the confirmation of the Senate.

“We are in a democracy and the intendment of section 2(3) is to take away arbitrary powers from the executive because the issue of EFCC chairmanship is a very tough position and seeing the damage corruption has done to our society, the intention was to put someone there who would be above board, who would be transparent.”

Mr Magu has been in acting capacity as EFCC chairman since November, 2015.

President Muhammadu Buhari had sent a letter, re-nominating him as the substantive Chairman of the EFCC.

The Senate’s rejection, however, marks the second time in three months that he has been rejected by the lawmakers; a situation which another legal practitioner, Robert Clarke, has described as a slap in the face of the Presidency.