FORMER chairman of the EFCC, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, reacted yesterday to a court ruling declaring him wanted and said, â€œthere is no substance to this case.â€
The Code of Conduct Tribunal in a ruling last Friday, declared him wanted for not declaring his assets.
But in a formal reaction from exile, Mallam Ribadu said: â€œMy attention has been brought to the decision today of the Code of Conduct Tribunal headed by Justice Constance Momoh, declaring me wanted and a fugitive of the law. For those not familiar with the case, this is in respect of Suit No. CCT/ABJ/01/2009 accusing me of not declaring my assets while in office from March, 2008 to December, 2008.
â€œI am naturally surprised at this decision of the court, knowing full well that I had to leave the country in January 3, this year, after a relentless persecution which climaxed in two assassination attempts.
Prior to this, I had been investigated like no other for alleged financial impropriety including for a bogus allegation of treason. Shortly before December 23, 2008, when my dismissal was announced from the police, the Presidency commenced an investigation into the assassination attempts. Till date, no results have been announced on this.
â€œA month after I left Nigeria, Michael Aondoakaa, filed the case against me and the Code of Conduct served the notice of this trial.
On February 10, 2009, when Femi Falana, my counsel asked the Tribunal to guarantee my safety, and announced my full preparedness to stand trial in Nigeria, no tribunal guarantees were issued. Just two months ago, on September 23, Mr. Falana wrote on my behalf to the Code of Conduct Bureau requesting certified true copies of my asset declaration forms which were submitted on assumption of office in March 2003 and my exit from office in December 2008, nothing has come out of this.
â€œMy request for certified true copies of my asset declaration forms cannot be conceived as a privilege, they are indeed a right and the basic condition to enable my lawyers prepare my defence against the charges ahead of the trial.
I put it all to the relentless persecution against me, even though I cannot see how using the code of conduct trial can be any helpful than other discredited measures of the past.
Is it not simple logic that I could never have been confirmed for my position in 2003 if I did not submit an asset declaration form to the Senate as all officers needing Senate confirmation are obliged to do.
Is it also not in the power of the tribunal to simply order the Code of Conduct Bureau to publish certified true copies of my assets declaration if this is what truly concerns the tribunal?”