In 2015, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission filed a case against Senate President Bukola Saraki at the Code of Conduct Tribunal. Mr. Saraki argued that the judge would be bais because the Judge had a case with the EFCC, the EFCC hurriedly cleared the Judge of all wrong doing. By 2017, the Judge, Danladi Umar, dismisses the case against Saraki. After a massively failed appeal, the EFCC resurrects the case against the Judge who did not rule in its favour; a case they themselves burried, twice in two years.
The EFCC filed 18-count false asset declaration charge against Saraki claiming the Senate President lied in declaring his asset. Mr. Saraki fought legally to challenge the case which was before the Code of Conduct Tribunal as led by Justice Umar. He failed.
Information began trickling in that Umar, the Chairman of the CCT, may be predisposed to convicting Saraki because he (Umar) had a corruption case before the EFCC. On April 28, 2016, a motion that Umar steps down from presiding over the case was rejected by Umar himself and the prosecution; being the EFCC.
EFCC’s lawyer, Rotimi Jacobs, had argued that the Comission had no evidence that Umar committed any offence and thus has no ground to prosecute him. Jacobs claimed that the case against the CCT Chairman was closed in March, 2015, even when it was alleged that Umar was only on Administrative bail.
In further support of the Tribunal Chairman, EFCC followed its argument up with a Press Conference claiming Mr. Umar was sent a letter which “exonerated him on the alleged 10 million naira bribe” and this letter was submited to the Secretary to the Government of the Federation in 2015.
The EFCC made a non issue out of its own findings that Umar had met a person before his Court in his private Chamber and that his Personal Assistant, Gambo Abdullahi, was found with part payment for the 10 million naira which was said to be bribe for a favourable verdict. Allegations which the EFCC has now dust up after the CCT, under Justice Umar, dismissed all 18-count charges against Saraki.
Why the CCT dismissed the Charges
On the 14th of June, 2017, the CCT’s 2 man panel led by Justice Danladi Umar ruled that the Federal Government failed to prove essential elements of the allegation it brought and that “oral and documentary evidences were so much discredited in cross examination“. It also ruled that proof of evidence was so “manifestly unreliable that no reasonable Court or Tribunal can rely on it to make any conviction”
The major damage to the Federal Government’s case however came when Mr. Samuel Madujemu, Head of Investigation and Intelligence Department at the Code of Conduct Bureau, who was a witness for the Prosecution, admitted to two damning facts. That, in contravention of the law, the accused was never invited to explain what was not clear to the Bureau and his information was from an unknow investigation team. The Court considered these enough evidence that the charges were speculative.
Appeal Court supports verdict
The judgment of the CCT, which was being represented in some part of the media as bought, was endorsed by the higher court when in December 13, 2017, the Court of Appeal described the case against Saraki as hearsay and causeless. Justice Timade Akomolafe-Wilson said there was no evidence to support 15 of the 18 charges, but the Senate President needs to go back to the CCT to answer for 3 out of the 18 counts.
It held that the Federal Government’s claim that Saraki operated a foreign bank account and used Kwara State salary for himself were not backed by any witness or evidence.
What Saraki has to answer
Based on the Court of Appeal’s ruling, Mr. Saraki only has to answer how he bought a house with procedes from business since the government has establish a case that he may have gotten the money from a Commercial Bank loan. The Court had ruled that this issue needs to be heard at the CCT and Mr. Saraki has appealed this part of the judgment, just as the Federal Government approached the Supreme Court on January 17 to restore all 18 count charges, all of which and 15 of which were thrown away by the CCT and the Appeal Court respectively.
Who does not want Umar now?
On January 28, just 8 days after approaching the Supreme Court to restore the 18-count charges against Saraki, the EFCC resurrected the 2012 accusation it had cleared Justice Umar of in Court, by a letter sent to the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, and through a Press Conference.
It filed a 2-count charge against Justice Umar, at the Federal High Court Abuja, in which the Commission claims Umar demanded 10million Naira bribe from one Rasheed Owolabi Taiwo in 2012 through his PA Gambo Abdullahi.
Before the charge, Justice Umar was set to recommence Saraki’s trial from Tuesday in accordance with the Appeal Court’s judgment.
He is to be arraigned on March 15.