The Code of Conduct Tribunal has dismissed as untrue, reports that the corruption case against a former Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Elder Godsday Orubebe, had been withdrawn by the Federal Government.
Mr. Orubebe was arraigned before the tribunal on November 9, 2015 over alleged four count charge of false declaration of assets and acceptance of about N70million bribe.
However, some national dailies yesterday reported that the charges against the ex-minister were withdrawn based on a purported legal advice from the Federal Ministry of Justice, which argued that the case against Orubebe as presently constructed and filed, was fundamentally defective.
The reports further state that the purported legal advice from the Ministry was to the effect that since the ex-minister was not invited to make a statement on the allegations against him, the process of arraignment was fundamentally flawed.
Reacting to the reports, spokesperson for the tribunal, Ibrahim Al-hassan, said in a statement Monday that the case was ongoing and that new charges were substituted with the initial ones filed against Mr. Orubebe.
Hearing in the case, Mr. Al-hassan said, will resume on April 7.
The statement reads, “Our attention at the Code of Conduct Tribunal has been drawn to recent publications from some section of mass media, indicating that the Federal Government has withdrawn charges against former Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Mr Godsday Peter Orubebe.
“The Tribunal is compelled to refute the said publications, particularly those contained in ThisDay Newspaper, Leadership and some online media, dated March 21st, 2016. The purported withdrawal of the case was quoted to be based on the case being fundamentally defective.
“Pursuant to the above, CCT advices that, to the best of our knowledge based on available records, as at the time of this report, the information is misleading, distortive and as such it should be ignored.
“The case of Mr Godsday Peter Orubebe before CCT in Charge NO: CCT/ABJ/02/15 is ongoing. What transpired in court in the last session held on 8th March, 2016 was a substitution of the initial charge with a newly filed charge by the prosecution, of which leave was sought from, and granted by the Tribunal.
“The case had been adjourned to 7th April, 2016. Thus; there is no withdrawal of the case by the prosecution”.