Wednesday 27 April 2016

Bukola Saraki files fresh application to disqualify CCT Chairman, Danladi Umar from trial

Saraki vs Umar
The Senate President, Bukola Saraki, has filed another application to disqualify Danladi Umar, the chairman of the Code of Conduct Tribunal, from continuing to preside over his trial.

Ajibola Oluyede, a counsel to Mr. Saraki, who is being tried for alleged false and anticipatory assets declaration, filed the application shortly after the trial resumed on Wednesday morning.

Mr. Oluyede said the tribunal chairman still had a serious corruption case against him with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

Mr. Oluyede premised his application on Section 36(1) of the Constitution which addresses the issue of biases and the rules of natural justice.

Mr. Oluyede had unsuccessfully moved a similar application last week, which resulted in a heated exchange between him and Mr. Umar.

After reading his motion, Mr. Oluyede called the attention of the court to a letter written to the Attorney-General by the EFCC chairman in February 2015, which was part of his exhibits against Mr. Umar.

Mr. Oluyede read out paragraph four of the letter:
“There are indications that the tribunal chairman might have demanded and collected money from the complainant through his said personal assistant. However, efforts made to recover the telephone handset used by Justice Umar proved abortive, as he claimed that he had lost the telephone in 2012.

“This has made it impossible to subject it to independent scientific analysis with a view to corroborating the allegation. In the same vein the complainant could also not make available his telephone set for analysis on the grounds that he had lost it. Justice Umar also admitted that he met privately with the complainant in his chamber at the tribunal. This is a most unethical and highly suspicious conduct on his part.”
Justice Umar had initially declined to entertain the motion, but prosecution counsel, Rotimi Jacobs, urged him to admit the application so that it can be argued.

The letter cited is a 2014 petition sent to the EFCC, in which Rasheed Taiwo, a retired Customs official claimed to have been pressured by Mr. Umar for a ₦10 million bribe.

The EFCC has repeatedly said that it has no evidence to prosecute Mr. Umar over the matter.

Credit: Samuel Ogundipe/Premium Times

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