Cct’s Ruling In saraki’s Trial is Sheer Incompetence, Umar Should Resign
It turns out, when the court of law begins to call a spade a shovel, justice becomes a fairytale where stories are twisted to appeal to the emotions of listeners while satisfying the story teller.
The presiding judge of the Code of Conduct Tribunal, CCT, Danladi Umar who ruled on the jurisdiction to continue with trials of the Senate President, Bukola Saraki following the tribunal’s violation of Section 3D of the CCB and CCT act evidently showed ineptitude.
Consequent to a suit filed by Saraki’s counsel, Kanu Agabi, it was argued that the 13-count charge was invalid procedurally because the CCB which filed the charges, failed to allow his client explain inconsistencies in his assets declaration forms as required by law.
Ruling on the case Umar said there was no breach of law as the Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act, 1989, still allows the accused to raise clarification at the level of the tribunal.
According to Section 3D of the CCB Act which clearly stipulates the functions of the Bureau, it is clear it can;
“(d) receive complaints about non‐compliance with or breach of this Act and where the Bureau considers it necessary to do so, refer such complaints to the Code of Conduct Tribunal established by section 20 of this Act in accordance with the provisions of sections 20 to 25 of this Act:
Provided that where the person concerned makes a written admission of such breach or noncompliance, no reference to the Tribunal shall be necessary, and before any complaint is forwarded to the tribunal. The Bureau must first follow the procedure as stipulated in section 3(d) of the Act, read in conjunction with the provisions below it.”
Bearing in mind the decay in Nigeria’s judicial system, this is obviously one of its kind. A famous saying goes, “to see the band on your wrist, you need not look twice” this section of the Act in its totality was violated.
When the CCT whose core responsibility amongst others is to check corruption begins to contradict itself by entertaining procedural errors on different grounds, Nigerians may have to question the competence of the Tribunal.
Observers at the proceedings have reported that Umar not only stuttered throughout his way while delivering the entire judgement which was supposedly written by him but also made a caricature of the CCT by ruling against an act which he has ruled “for” others in the past, (an example is the Bola Tinubu case from 2011).
Umar with regards to jurisdiction had also claimed a judicial precedent before the court which enabled him to cease further exercise of jurisdiction because the condition precedent was not met.
While writing the judgement on Saraki which I doubt he wrote himself, he may have deliberately paid blind eyes to the same judicial precedent he considered, thereby contradicting his own rulings.
This is not the first time Umar will be making mockery of the CCT, he is currently awaiting trial over a N10 million bribery scandal such that his colleagues at the CCT, Robert Odu and Agwaza Atedze, refused to sit with him.
In a joint letter to former President Goodluck Jonathan and the EFCC dated April 4th 2014, Odu and Agwaza mentioned that Umar's scandal had brought serious embarrassment to them and the tribunal.
Evidence against him confirmed that transactions were carried out in collaboration with his PA, Gambo Abdullahi, who received the first tranche of the money on his behalf.
Now the question is what are the likes of Umar still doing in the CCT and presiding over delicate cases? He has been swayed before, he can be swayed again. A leopard does not change its spots.
Former Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Mohammed Adoke, had said Umar ought to be removed from office based on evidence of his misdemeanours, yet he still remains the tribunal's judge so we cannot expect anything less.
Civil society groups, human right agencies and a number of well meaning Nigerians have called on President Muhammadu Buhari to replace him. This has been to enable him answer the corruption charges against him in line with the principles of fairness.
According to Eleanor Roosevelt; “justice cannot be for one side alone but must be for both”. In essence seeking revenge can never become justice, they are two sides of different coins. Yet it explains the nature of the corruption fight ongoing in Nigeria. How do we fight “corruption” with “corruption”?
He who goes to equity must do so with clean hands.
Written by Yahaya Mohammed.