Senate President Bukola Saraki yesterday told the chairman of the Code of conduct Tribunal, Danladi Umar, who is trying him on false declaration of assets, that he lacked moral justification to preside over his trial.
Saraki at the resumed hearing insisted that the CCT chairman was under investigation by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, the same agency that allegedly filed the criminal charges against him.
In a motion on notice argued by Prince Rapheal Ajibola Oluyede, Saraki claimed that since the EFCC was largely responsible for the trial and also responsible for investigation in the N10 million bribery allegation against the CCT chairman, there was no way the chairman would be objective and impartial in the prosecution.
He claimed that since the sword of Damascus is dangling on the tribunal chairman’s head, be would be tempted to dance to the tune of the EFCC if only to rescue himself from the allegations against him.
Oluyede, whose submissions made the CCT chairman very comfortable on several occasions, asked Umar to honourably withdraw himself from further participating in Saraki’s trial in the interest of justice.
The counsel insisted that available facts had proven that EFCC was largely responsible for the investigation of Saraki and that it was the same EFCC that filed the charge and allegedly deployed its main lawyer, Mr. Rotimi Jacobs, to prosecute the matter.
Oluyede stood his ground that in the course of the N10million investigation, the CCT chairman had been indicted in a report signed by the EFCC former chairman, Ibrahim Larmode, and that a purported letter of EFCC clearing the chairman of the allegation after over one year indictment could not stand on the face of the law, because it did not emanate from the Attorney General of the Federation being appropriate authority to make such clearance.
“Mr. Chairman, with all these facts placed before this tribunal, the legitimacy of this proceeding is questionable because the chairman may not be impartial.
“There is something wrong with EFCC for it to have accused your lordship of having audience with the accused in his chambers and there are circumstantial evidence that your lordship collected bribe, only for them to come out now with a letter of clearance, that is suspicious, cloudy relationship between the EFCC and the Tribunal chairman.
“We do not know what prompted EFCC to recount on the indictment of the CCT chairman when there are sufficient grounds for the EFCC to request for the call logs of the conversation of Umar and one Rashidi Taiwo, who the N10 million bribe was demanded from.”
He also faulted the mode of prosecution, claiming that the duty of the prosecution was not to prosecute but to pursue justice; but in the instance case, there are incontroversible facts that Umar is in EFCC investigation because he granted audience with an accused person in his chambers.
However, in his objection to the motion, the prosecuting counsel, Rotimi Jacobs, SAN, prayed the tribunal to dismiss the motion for lacking merit.
He accused the defendant of harassment, saying the bill before the Senate was designed to whittle down the powers of the CCT chairman.
“The absurdity in this application is that the defendant here is still performing his duty as Senate president and still presided over the Senate as at today. He has been charged to court whereas the investigation of the CCT chairman by the EFCC remains an investigation. He has not been charged to court or convicted. It is the defendant rather that has been charged to court.
“The issues raised in the application are matters of sentiment which has no place in law. Mr. Oluyede has never appeared for Saraki at this tribunal as at the time he filed the motion; he is not a counsel on record as at the day he filed his motion. He predicted his case on wrong assumption that the EFCC is a party before the tribunal.”

READ ALSO  Because I stopped pension thieves I am subjected to relentless persecution, media trail – Maina