Senate summons Saraki’s tribunal judge

The Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges, and Public Petitions on Monday summoned Danladi Umar, the Chairman of the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT), who is presiding over Bukola Saraki’s corruption trial.

 

Mr. Saraki, the Senate President, is facing 13 counts of false assets declaration and fraud before the CCT.

According to The Nation newspaper, Justice Umar‎ was asked to appear before the Committee “unfailingly” by 2 p.m. on Thursday.

The invitation came hours after the judge ruled that Mr. Saraki’s trial would sit daily between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m., with a one hour break in between.

The Senate president’s lawyer had argued for the trial to hold only when the Upper Chamber is not in plenary, but Mr. Umar insisted that Mr. Saraki, and not the Senate, was on trial.

The letter of invitation requested Mr. Umar to “come personally” with 12 copies of any submission he wishes to present.

The Senate Committee said it was inviting the CCT chairman following allegation of bribery against him.

“Your letter with reference number CCT/HT/126/S/111/515 dated 1st April, 2016, in which you requested for more time to enable you attend the hearing was received,” read the invitation letter signed by Freedom Odolo, the Committee’s Clerk.

“After due consideration of your request, the Committee rescheduled the hearing to give you at least two weeks from the 4th of April when you should have appeared.”

The Senate’s invitation‎ of the CCT judge is coming after repeated efforts by Mr. Saraki to halt his trial had failed.

Last Friday, a Federal High Court in Abuja dismissed his application asking ‎the court to nullify his trial at the CCT.

The ruling followed an earlier decision by a Court of Appeal dismissing the same application by Mr. Saraki.

On February 5, the Supreme Court nullified Mr. Saraki’s application challenging the jurisdiction of the CCT ‎to try him.

On March 24, Mr. Umar struck out an application by Mr. Saraki’s lawyer, Kanu Agabi, that the Code of Conduct Bureau ought to have invited the Senate president to clarify allegations against him before the commencement of trial.

The Senate is currently engaged in a hurried amendment of the Acts setting up the Code of Conduct Bureau and the Code of Conduct Tribunal, an action many Nigerians interpreted as legislative intimidation of the two agencies.

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