- Saraki seeks disqualification of CCT Chairman
- Senators vow to stick with Senate President until proven guilty
Senate yesterday moved to reconcile its members and foster unity amongst them by suspending all contending matters like the amendment of the Code of Conduct Tribunal Act, Administration of Criminal Justice Act and case against Senator Kabiru Marafa.
They also resolved to stand with embattled Senate President Bukola Saraki currently facing trial before the Code of Conduct Tribunal, CCT, until the matter is over.
Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu who presided over the executive session where other decisions were taken said, “We agreed that this Senate will stand behind the Senate president in his trial until proven guilty by the tribunal in accordance with our constitution and democratic practices all over the world, including South Africa, Brazil and Russia.
“We also agreed to set up a committee with each geopolitical zone nominating two senators to address all those remaining issues and as part of the reconciliation, those that have cases should consider withdrawing them.”
According to him, the nominated members are for South-South- Senators Godswill Akpabio and James Manager; North-West – Ahmed Sani and Suleiman Hunkuyi; North-East- Bukar Abba and Joshua Lidani; South-East – Sam Egwu and Hope Uzodinma; North Central – Banabas Gemade and Abdullahi Adamu; South-West – Munsurat Summonu and Gbenga Ashafa.
The Senate session had commenced yesterday with Senator Ekweremadu presiding as the Senate president continued with his appearance at the CCT.
It would be recalled that the eighth Senate had been polarised into two factions – the Unity Forum and Like Minds – with the emergence of Senator Bukola Saraki as Senate president.
Meanwhile, in his effort to get fair trial from the Code of Conduct Tribunal, CCT, Senate President Bukola Saraki has accused the chairman of the tribunal, Mr. Danladi Umar, of bias and insisted that he could not get justice under his chairmanship.
Saraki in a motion he filed against Umar prayed that the CCT boss should disqualify himself from further participating in his trial on the alleged falsification of his assets.
In the motion on notice filed by Saraki’s lawyer, Mr. Raphael Oluyede, it was contended that the continued presence of Umar on the panel of tribunal offended the provisions of Section 36(1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
The constitutional provision prescribes that “In the determination of his civil rights and obligations, including any question or determination by or against any government or authority, a person shall be entitled to a fair hearing within a reasonable time by a court or other tribunal established by law and constituted in such manner as to secure its independence and impartiality.”
The applicant claimed that the unfolding events and the ways and manners his trial was being conducted by Umar, there was likelihood of bias from the chairman and as such, he should withdraw himself from further prosecuting him.
The motion on notice was brought pursuant to section 36(1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 as amended, the common law rule on likelihood of bias and the rules of natural justice.
The defendants in the motion on notice are Mr. Danladi Yakubu Umar and the second member of the tribunal, Mr. Agwadza Williams Atedze.
In a 20-paragraph affidavit in support of the motion, Saraki was said to be standing trial before the CCT being presided over by Umar.
The affidavit averred that the applicant had sought to enforce his fundamental rights in suit number FHC/ABJ/CS/905/2015 before a Federal High Court in Abuja on the ground that the independence and impartiality of the CCT could not be guaranteed while Umar presides over the trial of the applicant.
It also averred that Saraki was being tried by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, and that Umar as chairman of CCT is an object of investigation by the same EFCC on corrupt practices.
The affidavit also claimed that by his conduct in the proceedings, the CCT boss had allegedly proven to be a willing tool in the hand of the executive arm of the government which was responsible for his appointment and particularly, as he (Umar) was himself under investigation for corruption by the EFCC.
The affidavit deposed to by Mr. Paul Akase claimed that neither the Attorney General of the Federation, AGF, nor the EFCC or Umar had ever denied that the CCT boss was under investigation.
It also claimed that by the 1999 Constitution, the Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act, the power to investigate complaint of breach of the code of conduct for public officers was the exclusive of the CCB and not the EFCC.
The affidavit further stated that the EFCC’s usurpation of the CCB’s power had been admitted by the AGF in previous court action instituted by Saraki against the AGF, EFCC, Umar and other defendants.
It therefore stated that the interest of justice would be served if Danladi Yakubu Umar disqualifies himself from sitting in the panel of the tribunal to hear and determine the charges being prosecuted against the applicant.
No date has been fixed for hearing of the motion.