The Chairman of the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT), Justice Danladi Umar, has signed the warrant for the arraignment of six former governors for falsifying their assets declaration forms.
Photo above: CCT Chairman, Justice Danladi Umar, (top right) presiding over Senate President Bukola Saraki’s false declaration of assets case in Abuja.
The six former governors, according to reports include ex-Benue State governor, Gabriel Suswam, and his Cross River State counterpart, Liyel Imoke.
Reports on Saturday November 14, 2015 say the identities of the four others could not be ascertained at press time.
Also to face trial is a retired permanent secretary for abuse of office while a former governor from the North East is believed to have gone on exile barely a week after the conclusion of paperworks for his trial by the Justice Danladi Umar’s CCT.
Reports indicate that the the trial of the ex-public office holders will start any moment from now.
Now, juxtapose the above information with a report the following day on Sunday November 15, 2015 that the Presidency is in a dilemma over what to do with the embattled Chairman of the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) the same Justice Danladi Umar who has been embroiled in a N10 million bribery scandal, forcing the two other members of the tribunal to refuse sitting with him.
The two other judges of the CCT, Robert Odu (Rtd.) and Agwaza Atedze had in a joint letter to former President Goodluck Jonathan and copied to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) made their position known. The two members in the letter dated April 4, 2014 said, inter alia:
“May we with respect, draw His Excellency’s attention to the allegation of N10 million bribe made against Justice Danladi Yakubu Umar, current chairman of Code of Conduct Tribunal, Abuja, which is being investigated by the EFCC.
We, the two members of the CCT and the entire staff are embarrassed and saddened by this allegation because a tribunal set up to check corruption should not be accused of being corrupt. This would not be in keeping with the transformation agenda of the administration.
We are mindful of the fact that the Federal Government has zero tolerance policy for corruption, and this is the reason for the establishment of the CCT as one of the agencies to fight corruption in all its ramifications.
It is our prayer therefore that this allegation will be looked into so that the tribunal can start sitting in the interest of litigants and their counsel”
– Justice Robert Odu (Rtd.) and Justice Agwaza Atedze, Members of the CCT panel.
I am befuddled as to how an obviously indicted judge (though still innocent until proven guilty) can in his infinite wisdom (with all the scandals trailing his judicial or non-judicial actions) sign the warrant for the arraignment of six former governors for falsifying their assets declaration forms.
The presidency must quickly make their stand known on this charade playing out before our very eyes.
While the war against corruption has my implicit and assured support, the said war must be fought well without doling out the impression that lays credence to a time-worn adage that says: ‘pot calling kettle black‘
What an effrontery by Justice Danladi Umar.
By Nnamdi Ebo