- Alleged graft petitions against Justice Umar laid before Reps
- The Lamorde connection
Twist in President Muhammadu Buhari’s anti-corruption war campaign is brewing as Chairman of the Code of Conduct Tribunal, CCT, Mr. Danladi Yakubu Umar is facing allegations of corrupt practices in the discharge of his official duties. The Mission for Peace and Development, a pressure group, had filed a case at the Federal High Court, Abuja, alleging grievous allegation of corruption against Mr. Danladi Umar while another group, yesterday in the House of Representatives, unfolded a fresh set of cases of graft practices, financial impropriety and abuse of office allegedly perpetrated by the man.
In two different petitions signed by its Executive Secretary, Mr Ajufo I. Ajufo and laid before the House during its plenary, an Abuja based group, the Anti-Corruption Network, stated that it had discovered ‘startling facts and documents that reveal a scandalous and outrageous level of corruption’ in the CCT which it described as ‘as a vital judicial institution’.
The group stated that Umar has been “engaging in dishonest, unscrupulous and discreditable conduct” and has “committed financial impropriety, misuse of office and disregard for due process”.
It listed six different cases of misappropriation of public funds, award of fictitious contracts, disregard for due process and conversion of public funds for personal purposes against the CCT chairman. The petitions were supported by copies of payment vouchers and schedules.
In one of the transactions referred to in the petition, the Anti-corruption Network alleged that Umar caused a payment of N1million to be made to him vide payment voucher CCT/ABJ/DC/206/11 dated July 14, 2011 for the purpose of organising his own wedding ceremony, an act which amount to misuse of public funds.
Also, the group alleged that Umar approved without following due process the payment of N4.2million for the “replacement of external security light bulbs”. The money was paid to Chinox Global Investment Ltd vide payment voucher CCT/ABJ/ DC/153/11.
“Not only is this monstrous amount a gross inflation of what may have been needed to replace light bulbs in the premises, it is an entirely fictitious contract. No replacement of external security lights were carried out”, the group stated.
It also alleged that Umar made a fake request for supply of furniture and approved the payment of N11, 430, 000 to one Luminous Engineering Services and payment was effected through e-payment schedule dated March 22, 2011. It also noted that the engineering company was used by Umar for several fraudulent transactions as it was obviously not a furniture or supply company.
In another allegation contained in the five-page petition, the Anti- corruption Network said Umar awarded the contract for the supply of a Toyota Prado Jeep in the sum of N15,273,000 without following due process for procurement.
“The contract was awarded to one Maigoro Engineering NIG Ltd. This company was an engineering company and not a car dealership but Mr. Danladi Umar foisted the company on the CCT. This is a gross abuse of office and a violation of procurement regulations”, the group noted.
While claiming that numerous cases of “dubious and questionable payments”, approved by the CCT chairman for which payments were effected, the Anti-corruption Network listed among others the payment of N1,723,770.32 to a company called NUHMS International Business Ltd, for the renovation of the official quarters of a Tribunal member in Asokoro, Abuja, a contract which was never executed.
It also added that between February and May 2011, Umar caused various sums to be paid to crony companies like N4.2 million to one Raji Kehinde for ‘purchase of welfare items’,N1,575, 000 to NUMHS International for ‘supply of additional furniture’, N3.78million for ‘repairs’ to Chinox Global Investments Ltd, N1.35 million to NUMHS International, N1.62 million paid also to NUMHS for ‘repairs of electrical fitting’, N4.23 million for ‘plumbing works’, paid to Luminous Eng. Works and N1.62 million paid to MUTONICS NIG Ltd for ‘supply of beverages and toilet services’.
The group urged the House of Representatives to investigate all the allegations contained in its petition as it claimed that “ the financial impropriety of the CCT chairman is not limited to those listed above”,
Also in another petition titled, “Petition Against the Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation for Neglect of Duty and Cover Up”, Anti-Corruption Network alleged that the office of the Chief Law Officer of Nigeria should be made to explain why it has neglected the report by EFCC and the recommendation of the erstwhile occupant of the office, Mr. Mohammed Bello Adoke, SAN, on the case of bribery leveled against the CCT chairman, Umar, while only acting on the part of the report concerning his Personal Assistant, Ali Gambo Abdullahi.
According to the group, former EFCC chairman, Ibrahim Lamorde, on June 24, 2014, submitted the report of an investigation to the office of the AG with Ref. No.: EFCC/EC/ JUS/07/117.
“That report was about evidence of criminal allegations against Umar and Gambo and the AG then instructed the EFCC chairman by minuting on the same letter to proceed to prosecute the suspects”. This was communicated in writing to the former EFCC chairman vide a letter ref HAGF/EFCC/2014/vol.1/19 dated 26 June 2014, the group explained.
The group wondered why the AG’s Office later went silent on Umar and is prosecuting only Abdullahi. “This is in clear breach of the order of the AG. Since then, the office of the Attorney General has been silent on this failure to prosecute as directed…We believe this neglect is deliberate. This has led us to believe there is a cover-up in this matter. When the Nigerian public becomes aware of this fact, they would be very much interested to know the reason for this cover up”, it said.
The petition to the House of Representatives is coming on the heels of a suit filed by another group, Mission for Peace and Development Initiative at the Federal High Court, Abuja, calling on the court to determine whether Umar is a fit and proper person to sit in judgement over Nigerians, particularly in the face of sundry facts on his alleged corrupt tendencies.
The group attached processed official letters from high quarters, including the Presidency to support its allegation of corruption against Umar.