SARAKI SAGA: Appeals Refusal Of CCT Judge To Disqualify Self
The Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, has appealed against the Thursday’s ruling of the Code of Conduct Tribunal in Abuja, dismissing his motion asking the tribunal chairman, Danladi Umar, to disqualify himself from further presiding over his trial.
Saraki, through his counsel, Mr. Ajibola Oluyede, filed the three-ground notice of appeal before the Abuja Division of the Court of Appeal shortly after the two-man panel of the CCT dismissed his motion on Thursday.
The Federal Government is prosecuting Saraki before the Umar-led CCT on 16 counts of false asset declaration which he allegedly made between 2003 and 2011when he served as Kwara State Governor.
The charges which were originally 13 counts were amended to 16 counts which Saraki pleaded not guilty to on Thursday after the CCT’s ruling.
The trial was adjourned till May 10 for further cross-examination of the first prosecution witness, Mr. Michael Wetkas, after Saraki pleaded not guilty to the 16 counts on Thursday.
Ruling on Saraki’s application asking him to disqualify himself, Umar held that the motion “lacked absolute merit”.
He said he had been cleared by both the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami, of the bribery allegation which was the basis for the motion.
But Oluyede argued in the first ground of appeal that the ruling amounted to miscarriage of justice, adding that the CCT erred in law by allowing Umar “to single-handedly decide that the application for recusal (disqualification) lacks absolute merit”.
He argued that by so doing , the CCT “essentially” allowed Umar to be judge in his own case.
He argued further in the first grounds that the situation led to the CCT’s ruling “that was essentially a tirade against the office of the Attorney-General of the Federation which had in reaction to the ‘investigation report’ dated June 24, 2014 forwarded to him by the EFCC seeking his ‘further directives’ instructed the EFCC to prosecute the said Hon. Justice Umar on circumstantial evidence.”
In the second grounds of appeal, Oluyede argued that the CCT erred in law “when it decided that the application lacks absolute merit, merely because Justice Umar is of the opinion that the Attorney-General of the Federation has not constitutional right to investigate and lacked authority therefore to give instructions to the EFCC to prosecute him”.
The lawyer argued in the third grounds that the CCT erred in law “when it abandoned the main purport of the recusal (disqualification) and ignored the submissions of counsel thereon only to begin to write a ruling comprised of facts and arguments that are only known to Justice Umar and not raised or introduced by any parties in order to arrive at a conclusion not urged upon him by any of the parties concerning the constitutional and statutory relationship between the AGF and the EFCC”.
Posted from WordPress for Android