Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, has faulted the alleged clearance issued to the Chairman of the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT), Justice Danladi Umar, by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in relation to his (Umar’s) alleged involvement in a N10 million corruption case.
Recall that one Mr. AbdulRashid Owolabi Taiwo, who was being tried by the CCT, had alleged that the CCT chair demanded a N10 million bribe from him.
According to Taiwo, after part of the money was paid into the bank account of the personal assistant of the chairman, he decided to write a petition against the chairman to the EFCC.
But in a recent development, the EFCC exonerated the CCT chairman from the case while his personal assistant is standing trial for accepting the bribe from Taiwo.
Speaking through his lawyer, Ajibola Oluyede, Saraki argued that the clearance which was purportedly issued Umar by EFCC cannot override the recommendation made in 2014 by the Attorney General of the Federation for Umar’s prosecution.
Oluyede explained that it was only the AGF that possesses the power, under the law, to reverse a decision to prosecute.
He argued that his client’s application urging Umar to disqualify himself from the trial was still before the tribunal.
Oluyede faulted media reports that the application had been thrown out by the tribunal, noting that since the prosecution was yet to respond to it and since it has not been heard, the tribunal cannot decide on it.
He said: “We are not saying he (Umar) is guilty.
“We are saying he is tainted and that he cannot act independently while the EFCC that is investigating him and had indicted him is now prosecuting our client before him.
“That is why we asked him to excuse himself from the trial.
“He did so before in the case involving former FCT Minister, Jeremiah Useni, where he excused himself from the hearing on the ground that he had close relationship with Useni.
“We are asking him to do so again now because of the facts that we have presented.”