Saraki returns to Appeal Court, insists on Umar’s disqualification

Saraki returns to Appeal Court, insists on Umar’s disqualification
April 28 22:56 2016

The Senate President, Dr Bukola
 Saraki, has appealed against the refusal of Code of Conduct Tribunal chairman, Danladi Umar to disqualify himself from his ongoing corruption trial.
Saraki is standing trial at the tribunal over alleged false declaration of assets
One of his representatives , Raphael Oluyede, had on
April 20 filed an application
demanding the disqualification of
the CCT chairman for alleged bias
and intimidation.

In that application, Oluyede
alleged that Mr. Umar exhibited
obvious traits of bias in his
previous rulings and that the
tribunal chairman was himself
under investigation by the EFCC.
In view of this, the lawyer
argued, Mr. Umar should
therefore not chair the trial.
Counsel to the prosecution, Rotimi
Jacobs, submitted that the 
application should be dismissed,
saying it was ironical for
 Saraki to still be occupying his
seat as Senate president and then
ask Umar to disqualify
himself on the grounds of an
“unfounded allegation”.

After listening to both counsel, the
tribunal chairman dismissed the
application, stating that it was
within the constitutional powers
of the EFCC to investigate him.
Mr. Umar further said he was
however not charged because the
commission found no reason to
institute a charge against him.

He said the commission would
have charged him, through the
office of the Attorney General of
the Federation, if there was such
case against him.
“The tribunal holds that the application of
counsel to the accused lacks merit and is
hereby dismissed in its entirety,” Mr. Umar
stated.
Mr. Oluyede immediately stepped out of
tribunal after Mr. Umar dismissed the
application.
However, in the fresh notice of appeal, Mr.
Oluyede said Mr. Umar erred in law when he
concluded that the application filed on behalf
of his client lacked merit.

Mr. Oluyede said in the appeal that it was the
submission of his client that Mr. Umar had
assumed himself a judge in his own matter
and that the ruling so given was an abuse of
the office of the AGF.
According to the appeal, it was a complete
negation of law to assume that the office of
the AGF had no powers of investigation and
that the AGF’s office could not instruct the
EFCC to prosecute.
Mr. Saraki’s counsel therefore prayed the
Court of Appeal to set aside the ruling by the
tribunal May 10.