Disqualify yourself, I can’t get justice from you, Saraki tells tribunal chairman

Disqualify yourself, I can’t get justice from you, Saraki tells tribunal chairman
April 20 22:49 2016

The ongoing trial of Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki took a fresh twist on Wednesday when the defendant accused  Code of Conduct Tribunal,
Danladi Yakubu Umar of bias.

Saraki insisted that Umar must disqualify himself because he
cannot get justice from him since the tribunal chairman is under investigation by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

Saraki in a motion he filed against Umar, prayed the
CCT boss to disqualify himself from further participating
in his trial on alleged false declaration of assets.

In the motion on notice filed by Saraki’s lawyer,
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 is being conducted by Umar,
there is 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  Danladi
Yakubu Umar and the second member of the Tribunal
Agwadza Williams Atedze.
In a 20 paragraph affidavit in support of the motion,
Saraki was said to be standing trial before the Code of
Conduct Tribunal (CCT) being presided over by Danladi
Yakubu Umar.

The affidavit averred that the applicant had sought to
enforce his fundamental right 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 Code
of Conduct Tribunal cannot be guaranteed while Danlaidi
Yakubu Umar presides over the trial of the applicant.
It also averred that Saraki is 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 proved 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 EFCC.
The affidavit deposed to by Paul Akase claimed that
neither the Attorney General of the Federation AGF nor the
EFCC or Umar has ever denied that 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
complain of breach of the Code of Conduct for public
officers is the exclusive duty of the CCB and not EFCC.
The affidavit further stated that the EFCC’s usurpation of
the CCB 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 the interest of justice would be served
if Danladi Yakubu Umar recuses or disqualifies himself
from sitting in a the panel of the tribunal to hear and
determine the charges being prosecuted against the
applicant.
No date was fixed for hearing of the motion.