*But admits statement a mistake
By Tobi Soniyi in Abuja
Again, the Chairman of the Code of Conduct Tribunal, Danladi Umar, has declined an application to recuse himself from the trial of the Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki, over a statement which the Senate President claimed was prejudicial to me.
However, he admitted that the statement was a mistake, saying, “As human beings, we are bound to make mistakes and it is only the Almighty God that is infallible.”
He said that the alleged comment was made with a free mind and without prejudice to the Senate President and the trial.
Umar said he was surprised that since the alleged statement was made, nobody had bothered to find out the veracity of the comment.
He said: “We will give account t of our deeds on earth to God on the Resurrection Day and we must therefore be fair and just in anything we are doing while on this earth”.
Umar said that the alleged comment was not intended to prejudice the defendant and that the tribunal would move on in spite of the criticism that had tailed the comments.
He also said that as the chairman, he could not afford to step down from the trial because the 5th Schedule to the 1999 Constitution conferred jurisdiction on assets declaration matters on the tribunal in it alone and not on any other court in the country.
He further pointed out that paragraph 51 of the constitution which established the tribunal made provisions for the chairman and two other members, adding: “The moment the chairman recuses himself from proceedings, the tribunal would collapse because it must have a chairman.”