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Update: CCT Refuses Saraki’s Application for Chairman to Step Down


The Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT), Wednesday, refused the application of the Senate President Bukola Saraki for the Chairman of the Tribunal, Danladi Umar, to excuse himself from his trial.
The Tribunal ruled that the Chairman will not withdraw from the trial.
However, before the ruling, Umar had stirred the the mammoth audience who had besieged the court into laughter.
“The atmosphere is cool, there is no rancour. Yes, I made mistakes, we all do, only God is above mistake”, this threw the audience into laughter.
Saraki had in an application filed on June 13, accused Umar of making remarks that purportedly betrayed his bias against his client during the June 7, 2016 proceedings.
Saraki had asked Umar to withdraw from his trial on the grounds that he was biased.
‎But in his ruling on Wednesday, Umar held that he would not withdraw from the trial because there would be no one to sit in judgment over the case, if he withdrew.
“The application to excuse myself has not been contemplated in the constitution. In the absence of a Chairman, this trial cannot go on, therefore I cannot excuse myself. The Chairman is the Tribunal, without the Chairman there is no Tribunal.” he said.
According to Umar, the constitution which set up the CCT says that before the Chairman is removed the President of the country must first write to the National Assembly an address to remove him, stating without the address the National Assembly cannot act until his tenure expires.
Umar further stated that directing him to excuse himself from the trial by virtue of statement would mean the trial of the Senate President cannot continue because there be no Chairman.
He said the defendant’s fear that he is not likely to get justice from the Tribunal was unfounded.
“I am surprised that no one has checked the veracity of the statement. The statement was not intended to prejudice the defendant. We shall not allow this bottle neck in the interest of justice.
“The defendant ought not to be carried away by this statement when it has not been verified that the statement is that of other members of the Tribunal.
“He ought to have waited until the end of the trial, if unfavorable, use it as ground for appeal.
“Bias is a serious attack on the person of a Judge.
“It is serious allegation on the part of the applicant but is founded on mere conjunctural.
“Issue of bias is a serious allegation and must be proved beyond reasonable doubt unlike this that is based on mere conjunctural. The application is therefore refused”, Umar ruled.
This is the second time Umar is dismissing Saraki’s application for him to withdraw from the trial.
In April, Saraki had filed a similar application alleging corruption against Umar.
Then, he alleged that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), was using the chairman against him.
But Umar dismissed the application for lacking in merit.
The Tribunal adjourned to November 7 for continuation of the trial.
Saraki’s Counsel, Kanu Agabi speaking after proceedings said his client will not appeal the judgment but is prepared for the continuation of trial.

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