Efcc Cannot Clear Umar Of Corruption Allegation – Saraki
SAN FRANCISCO, April 24 (THEWILL) – The Senate President, Bukola Saraki has declared that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) cannot issue clearance to the Chairman of the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT), Danladi Umar, in relation to his alleged involvement N10million corruption case.
Saraki contended that there was no time the EFCC cleared Umar, and that even where such clearance exists, it was a confirmation of his (Saraki) position that the CCT under Umar, cannot ensure fairness in his (Saraki’s) trial before Umar at the CCT.
Saraki, who spoke in Abuja through his lawyer, Ajibola Oluyede, argued that the clearance purportedly issued Umar by EFCC cannot override the recommendation made in 2014 by the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) for Umar’s prosecution.
Oluyede said it was only the AGF that possesses the power, under the law, to reverse a decision to prosecute, arguing that his client’s application urging Umar to disqualify himself from the trial was still before the tribunal.
He faulted media reports that the application had been thrown out by the tribunal, observing that since the the prosecution was yet to respond to it, and it has not been heard, the tribunal cannot decide on it.
He also faulted reports that he was thrown out of the tribunal’s sitting venue revealing that he was at the proceeding until it was adjourned and assured that he will argue the application before the tribunal once it was ripe for hearing.
“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 his to excused 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,” Oluyede said.
Referring to some additional documents he filed before the tribunal, Oluyede noted that upon the EFCC report of June 24, 2014, the then AGF directed then EFCC Chairman, Ibrahim Lamorde to prosecute Umar and his aide, Ali Gambo for accepting bribe from an accused person, Rasheed Taiwo.
EFCC had declared in the letter to the AGF that evidence suggested that Umar “might have demanded and collected money from the complainant (Taiwo) through his Personal Assistant (PA).
Efforts made to recover the telephone handset used by Justice Umar proved abortive as he claimed that he had lost the telephone in 2012.
“This has made it impossible to subject it to independent scientific analysis with a view to corroborating the allegation. Justice Umar also admitted that he met privately with the complainant in his chamber at the tribunal. This is a most unethical and highly suspicious conduct on his part,” Lamorde said in the letter.
Oluyede is of the view that Umar’s admission of having a private meeting with an accused person, standing trial before his tribunal was a breach of Rule 5(i) and (ii) of the Code of Conduct for Judicial Officer, for which he can be penalised.
Saraki’s lawyer, who also exhibited a copy of the bail bond endorsed by Umar at the EFCC, said Taiwo has admitted bribing Umar, in his testimony at the on-going trial of Umar’s PA in charge No: CR/137/15 before Justice Orji of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory FCT).
Oluyede said his client’s application for Umar to disqualify himself from the case, and their further affidavit, detailing these fresh facts would be heard when the tribunal resumes on Wednesday.
Story by David Oputah