A Group, the Registered Trustees of the Mission for Peace and Development Initiative, has sued the Chairman of the Code of Conduct Tribunal, Danladi Umar, before an Abuja Federal High Court, over alleged bribery and corruption.
The Group in a suit filed via an originating summons, is seeking an order of the court for the removal of Umar as the Tribunal Chairman.
The plaintiff prays the court to order Umar to hands off the trial of any Nigerian, on the ground that he had allegedly met with an accused person standing trial before him, in the absence of the prosecution and court officials.
Chief Mike Ozekhome, SAN, counsel to the plaintiff, who filed the suit on behalf of his client, Joined Umar, the Code of Conduct Tribunal, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF)as defendants in the suit.
The plaintiff also wants the court to order the Tribunal to halt further sittings or proceedings against accused persons brought before it, or currently standing trial before it, until it is reconstituted to exclude its present Chairman.
It further prays the court for an order directing the EFCC to start prosecuting Umar, “having investigated him and found him culpable of the offences of conspiracy, bribery, abuse of office and money laundering, which the Commission had actually prepared a charge, but failed, refused to file same till date for inexplicable reasons.
“That in consonance with the anti-corruption stance of the present government, we decided to dig into the ugly, murky cases of corruption against the 1st Respondent (Justice Umar) and we are shocked at a grand cover up by the powers-that-be, who refused to prosecute him for receiving a N1.8 million bribe out of N10 million, which he demanded from an accused he was trying in his Tribunal, notwithstanding the clear instructions of the then AGF, Mohammed Bello Adoke (SAN) that he should be prosecuted,” the group submitted in its supporting affidavit.
Mr Ogah Columba, a human rights activist and anti-corruption campaigner, who deposed to the affidavit, wondered how, in spite of the corruption cases hanging on the neck of Umar, he could still sit, morally and legally, to try any Nigerian citizen for any case of alleged corruption.
Giving details of the case against Umar, the organisation further claimed that EFCC chairman, Mr Ibrahim Lamorde, on June 24, 2014 wrote to the AGF, where he concluded that there was sufficient evidence, even if circumstantial, that Umar collected money from an accused person, Rasheed A. Taiwo, through his P. A, one Mr Abdullahi, and that there was an attempt to cover up judicial corruption.
The Group, therefore, seeks an order directing the AGF to, henceforth, stop regarding Umar as the rightful chairman of the Code of Conduct Tribunal.
No date has yet been fixed for the hearing of the suit.