From: Godwin Tsa, Abuja
The Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) will rule on the application brought by the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki seeking to disqualify Danladi Umar from further participating in his trial on July 13.
The Federal Government described the application as an abuse of court process and a ploy to delay the trial.
The tribunal had earlier dismissed a similar application brought by one of Saraki’s lawyer, Prince Raphael Oluyede.
Moving the fresh application yesterday, counsel to the Senate President, Mr. Paul Erokoro told the Tribunal that his client who is standing trial on false assets declaration cannot get justice from its chairman because of his bias and prejudicial comments in the trial.
Erokoro therefore asked the CCT chairman to disqualify himself from further participating in the trial because of his bias disposition.
The CCT chairman had on June 7 told Saraki that the delayed tactics employed by his lawyers would not reduce the consequences he would face at the end of the trial.
In the motion on notice, Saraki claimed that the comment was prejudicial and that he can no longer get fair trial from the Tribunal in line with the provision of Section 36 of the 1999 constitution.
He submitted 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 has denied the statement.
Saraki further submitted that by implication, the CCT chairman and the prosecution have implicitly admitted making the statement and therefore, should disqualify himself in the interest of justice and fair trial.
“Once a judge by word or action, shows that he cannot hold the scale of justice, he should disqualify himself,” he said.
However, the prosecution counsel, Rotimi Jacob while defending the alleged prejudicial comment of the CCT chairman, said it was true that the trial was being delayed by the defence and that the chairman only warned on the consequences of the trial and not the consequences of the charge.
“The consequences of a trial as provided in sections 309 and 310 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA), 2015 is that trial must come to an end and an accused person will either be convicted or discharged and acquitted.
“What the chairman meant was that he must conclude this case no matter the delay tactics as he did not expressed his opinion to say I will convict you no matter the delay tactics.”
Jacobs further submitted that the foundation of Saraki’s application was premised on falsehood.
He submitted that granting the application would amount to bringing the tribunal into a head on collision with the Court of Appeal, in view of Saraki’s appeal on the same relief. The Sun