The Senate President’s application seeking the Chairman of Code of Conduct Tribunal, Danladi Umar, to disqualify himself from Bukola Saraki’s ongoing trial has been dismissed.
In a judgment on Thursday, Umar held that the Attorney General’s office had the legal prerogative to institute a suit against anyone found to have a case of fraud.
He also held that it was within the powers of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission to investigate him.
Umar said since no case was found against him, his trial could not have been ordered by the Attorney General.
He therefore said it was a matter of intimidation on the part of the defence to have come up with its application.
“The Tribunal holds that the application of counsel to the accused lacks merit and is hereby dismissed in its entirety,” he held.
The Chairman of the Tribunal had Wednesday 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, Raphael Oluyede, on Wednesday told 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.
Saraki’s lawyer, Oluyede, during the hearing, insisted that the Chairman 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 Umar 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
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.
Meanwhile, there was apprehension earlier, when the Tribunal Chairman and EFCC counsel, Jocabs were yet to arrive Court one hour behind the 10 am fixed for the ruling.