Saraki Accuses Tribunal Chairman of Bias Again, Asks Him to Step Down

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By Tobi Soniyi in Abuja

The Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, has again asked the Code of Conduct Tribunal Chairman, Mr. Danladi Yakubu Umar, to recuse himself and allow someone else preside over his trial for alleged ‎false asset declaration.

Saraki based his application for Umar to disqualify himself on the threat by the CCT Chairman to make sure that the delay being allegedly employed by Saraki would not reduce the consequences that he (Saraki) would meet from the tribunal at the end of trial.

Saraki claimed that the threat by Umar in the open court was a clear indication that he had made up his mind to convict him at all costs irrespective of the evidence at the trial.

The senate president has therefore asked the CCT chairman to step aside from further participation in the trial initiated against him by the Federal Government.

In a fresh motion on notice brought pursuant to section 36 of the 1999 Constitution, Saraki insisted that the Tribunal Chairman was in a hurry to convict him without giving him a fair hearing and a fair opportunity to defend himself.

In the motion filed by his lead counsel, Mr. Kanu Godwin Agabi (SAN), he stated that the CCT chairman has become openly biased and that there was no way he could get a fair trial.

Saraki had raised a similar application before on different grounds but Umar overruled him and insisted he would go ahead with the trial.

The new application was predicated on eight grounds.

Saraki said that the threat of consequences issued by Umar had caused him to lose confidence in the impartiality of the chairman and that he was no longer confidence that he could get justice from the tribunal if the chairman continued to participate in the hearing and determination of the case against him.

Part of the grounds of the motion was that the defendant (Saraki) has lost confidence in the ability of the tribunal chairman to conduct a fair trial and dispense justice according to law.