Senate President, Bukola ‎Saraki accuses CCT chairman of bias, seeks his disqualification

Senate President Dr. Bukola Abubakar Saraki has accused the chairman of the Code of Conduct Tribunal, Mr. Danladi Yakubu Umar of bias and insisted that he cannot get justice under his chairmanship. Saraki in a motion he filed against Umar, prayed that the CCT boss to disqualify himself from further participating in his trial on the alleged falsification.

In the motion on notice filed by Saraki’s lawyer Mr. Raphael Oluyede, it was contended that the continued presence of Umar on the panel of Tribunal offended the provisions of Section 36(1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The constitutional provision prescribes that “In the determination of his civil rights and obligations, including any question or determination by or against any government or authority, a person shall be entitled to a fair hearing within a reasonable time by a court or other tribunal established by law and constituted in such manner as to secure its independence and impartiality”.

The applicant claimed that the unfolding events and the ways and manners his trial is being conducted by Umar, there is likelihood of bias from the chairman and as such he should withdraw himself from further prosecuting him. The motion on notice was brought pursuant to section 36(1) of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 as amended, the common law rule on likelihood of bias and the rules of natural justice. The defendants in the motion on notice are Mr. Danladi Yakubu Umar and the second member of the Tribunal Mr. Agwadza Williams Atedze. In a 20 paragraph affidavit in support of the motion, Saraki was said to be standing trial before the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) being presided over by Danladi Yakubu Umar.

The affidavit averred that the applicant had sought to enforce his fundamental right in suit number FHC/ABJ/CS/905/2015 before a Federal High Court in Abuja on the ground that the independence and impartiality of the Code of Conduct Tribunal cannot be guaranteed while Danlaidi Yakubu Umar presides over the trial of the applicant. It also averred that Saraki is being tried by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and that Umar as chairman of CCT is an object of investigation by the same EFCC on corrupt practices. The affidavit also claimed that by his conduct in the proceedings, the CCT boss had allegedly proved to be a willing tool in the hand of the executive arm of the government which was responsible for his appointment and particularly as he (Umar) was himself under investigation for corruption by EFCC.

The affidavit deposed to by Mr. Paul Akase claimed that neither the Attorney General of the Federation AGF nor the EFCC or Umar has ever denied that CCT boss was under investigation. It also claimed that by the 1999 Constitution the Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act the power to investigate complain of breach of the Code of Conduct for public officers is the exclusive of the CCB and not EFCC. The affidavit further stated that the EFCC’s usurpation of the CCB power had been admitted by the AGF in previous court action instituted by Saraki against the AGF, EFCC, Umar and other defendants. It therefore stated the interest of justice would be served if Danladi Yakubu Umar recuses or disqualifies himself from sitting in a the panel of the tribunal to hear and determine the charges being prosecuted against the applicant. No date has been fixed for hearing of the motion.

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