Alleged N10m bribe: Saraki Faults EFCC’s Clearance Of CCT Chair, Danladi Umar

Bukola Saraki-Danladi UmarThe Senate President, Bukola Saraki, has dismissed the clearance of the chairman, Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT), Justice Danladi Umar, over an alleged N10million bribe.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, last Wednesday reiterated its position that there was no concrete evidence of corruption that could provide grounds for the prosecution of Justice Umar, saying the allegations against the CCT chair were “suspicious” and “insufficient”.
Reacting to the EFCC’s clearance of Mr. Umar at the weekend in Abuja, the Senate president’s lawyer, Prince Ajibola Oluyede, said that the anti-graft agency lacked the power to override the recommendation made in 2014 by the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) for the CCT chairman’s prosecution.
Oluyede said it was only the AGF that possessed the power, under the law, to reverse a decision to prosecute, arguing that Saraki’s application urging Umar to disqualify himself from the trial was still before the tribunal.
The defence counsel insisted that there was no time the EFCC cleared Umar, and that even where such clearance existed, it was a confirmation of his client’s position that the CCT under Umar, cannot ensure fairness in his trial.
It would be recalled that Oluyede and the CCT chairman engaged in a heated exchange last week following the former’s insistence that Justice Umar disqualify himself from further hearing of Saraki’s trial over alleged false and anticipatory assets declaration, due to likelihood of bias.
Mr. Oluyede, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN, faulted media reports that the motion he filed for Justice Umar to disqualify himself had been thrown out by the tribunal, noting that since the prosecution was yet to respond to it and it had not been heard, the tribunal cannot decide on it.
He also faulted reports that he was thrown out of the tribunal’s sitting venue, saying he was at the proceeding until it was adjourned, vowing to argue the motion 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 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”, Oluyede said.