CCT boss to decide over Saraki’s trial July 13

CHAIRMAN of the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT), Danladi Yakubu Umar, will, on July 13, decide on whether or not to disqualify himself  from presiding over the trial of the Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki.

Saraki is being prosecuted by the Federal Government at the tribunal over allegations of false declaration of assets and money laundering.

After listening to the submissions of both the prosecution counsel, Rotimi Jacobs and the defence counsel Paul Erokoro, on Saraki’s application, where-in he asked Umar to disqualify himself from presiding over his (Saraki) trial, the CCT chairman fixed July 13 to deliver ruling on the application.

The CCT chairman had, on June 7, during the last proceedings, threatened Saraki that the delayed tactics employed by his lawyers would not reduce the consequences he would face at the end of the trial.

Following the said comments, Saraki asked the CCT chairman to disqualify himself from further participating in the trial because of his bias disposition.

Erokoro, while moving Saraki’s application on Tuesday, claimed that the comment by the CCT chairman was prejudicial to his client and that he could  no longer get fair trial from the tribunal, in line with the provisions of Section 36 of the 1999 Constitution as amended.

He told the tribunal that neither the chairman, who was personally served with the motion informing him of the prejudicial statement made in the open court, nor the prosecution, had denied the statement.

Erokoro further submitted that the independent and impartiality of the chairman as ennvisaged in Section 36 of the constitution could no longer be guaranteed and that a good reason for the CCT chairman to disqualify himself had already been established.

“Once a judge by word or action show that he cannot hold the scale of justice, he should disqualify himself,” he told the tribunal.

When asked on what happens to the tribunal should the chairman disqualify himself, Erokoro said there is a statutory provisions for the establishment of the tribunal with a full complement of three members and that the appointing authority could do the needful by appointing more.

On his part, the prosecuting counsel, Jacobs, who vehemently opposed the motion, said the application was frivolous, abuse of court process and a deliberate attempt to delay the trial.