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The Hunter now the Hunted: Senate Begins Probe of CCT Chairman

Justice Danladi Umar of the CCT

In a fate of the hunter becoming the hunted, Senate yesterday begun probe of the chairman of the Code of Conduct Tribunal, CCT, Mr Danladi Umar, over alleged fraud, bribery and inflation of contracts.

 A petition against the CCT chairman was laid before the upper legislative chamber by Senator Obinna Joseph Ogba (PDP Ebonyi Central) on behalf of a group known as Anti-corruption Network, has already been referred to the Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions for immediate investigation. Senate President, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, gave the committee, chaired by Senator Samuel Anyanwu (PDP Imo East) two weeks to complete its investigation and report back to the Senate at plenary.

 Saraki is currently standing trial before the CCT over a 13-count charge of alleged false declaration of assets which was contained in the form he filled as Kwara State governor, at the Code of Conduct Bureau sometimes in 2003. Speaking with newsmen over the petition, Ogba explained that the petition was signed on behalf of the group by one Ajaso I. Ajaso, adding that the petitioners were not seeking judicial remedy against Umar but senate intervention to probe the corrupt allegations contained in the document. 

The senator said the petition submitted by the group had nothing to do with the trial of senate president before the CCT chairman but with alleged fraud and bribery scandal against Umar. 

When contacted after plenary to get details of the petition, the committee chairman said it had already received legislative action. It will be recalled that a group, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria, on Tuesday last week, petitioned the two chambers of the National Assembly demanding an immediate probe of alleged N10million bribery scandal involving Umar. HURIWA’s petition, a copy of which was obtained by our correspondent in Abuja, was signed by its National Coordinator, Emmanuel Onwubiko, and addressed to Senate President, Bukola Saraki, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon Yakubu Dogara.

 The group noted that the EFCC had started an investigation into the alleged bribery allegations leveled against Umar and his personal assistant, Mr. Ali Gambo Abdullahi. HURIWA clarified that as a Civil Society Group whose main objective is advocacy and protection of human rights in Nigeria, said the immediate probe of the CCT boss would send a strong signal to those still doubting President Muhammadu Buhari’s anti corruption war. 

The petition read in part, “We write to bring to your attention for further investigation and necessary action a report of likely conspiracy by the EFCC, Office of the Attorney General of the Federation and the Code of Conduct Tribunal to remove the Senate President from Office using the instrumentality of their public offices to achieve their aims. 

The group alleged that the EFCC, through the CCT, launched a counter attack on Saraki following the decision of the senate to probe the former chairman of the anti – graft agency, Lamorde sometimes in August this year. According to the petition, “The Senate recently launched an investigation against the activities of the Chairman of the EFCC.

 The EFCC as a hcounter attack initiated and launched the prosecution of the Senate President as a retaliatory measure using the offices of the Attorney General of the Federation and a highly compromised Code of Conduct Tribunal to achieve their aim of removing the Senate President from office.

 “The EFCC is aware that a compromised Code of Conduct Tribunal will always do its bidding because it has already concluded investigation into an N10 million bribery allegation against the Chairman Code of Conduct Tribunal, Justice Danladi Umar and his personal assistant, Mr. Ali Gambo Abdullahi”.

 The group further alleged that the former Attorney General of the Federation, Mohammed Adoke, had already given a written directive to EFCC to proceed to prosecute the accused persons but that the anti – graft agency, for reasons best known to it decided to file charges against only Abdullahi, the personal assistant.

 It said both chambers of the National Assembly should note that the so called investigation report in the trial of the senate president at the CCT was probably prepared by the EFCC and that the prosecutor at the prosecutor, Mr. Rotimi Jacobs, is a well known EFCC counsel. 

Part of the petition further reads, “The Senate and the House of Representatives should further note that the Chairman Code of Conduct Tribunal is still standing on EFCC Administrative bail of the sum of N5,000,000.00 (Five Million Naira). 

“The Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in collaboration with their counterpart in the House of Representatives have the constitutional powers to recommend to Mr. President to remove any person found culpable in the above abuse of offices for inability to discharge the functions of that office on ground of misconduct or for or for contravention of the laws.”