By Henry Umoru & Joseph Erunke
ABUJA – SENATE President, Bukola Saraki, yesterday mandated the Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions two weeks to conclude the probe of allegation of corruption against the chairman of Code of Conduct Tribunal, Justice Danladi Umar.
Justice Umar is to face the probe,following a petition to the Senate over allegations of fraud, bribery and inflation of contracts by a Non Governmental Group under the aegis of Anti-Corruption Network, being operated by Senator Dino Melaye.
Recall that Saraki is also being currently tried by Justice Umar’ led CCT over a 13-count charge of alleged false declaration of assets which was contained in the form he filled as governor of Kwara State, and submitted at the anti-graft agency, sometimes in 2003.
Apparently on a revenge move, a member of the Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions, Senator Obinna Ogba, presented a petition against Umar on the floor of the Senate yesterday, during plenary.
Senator Ogba, representing Ebonyi South Senatorial zone, explained that the petition was signed by one Ajaso. I Ajaso on behalf of a group, and submitted for investigation.
He also said that the petitioners had not sought judicial remedy against Umar but seeking Senate intervention to probe the corrupt allegations contained in the document.
Saraki consequently referred the petition to the committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions and asked the chairman, Senator Samuel Anyanwu, to carry out a thorough investigation and report back in two weeks.
When contacted after plenary, to get details of the petition, the committee chairman said it was already receiving legislative action.
Another group, under the aegis of Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria, HURIWA, had also on Tuesday, last week, petitioned the two chambers of the National Assembly, demanding an immediate probe of an alleged N10,618,837,435 million bribery scandal against the CCT boss.
The group’s petition was signed by its National Coordinator, Emmanuel Onwubiko, and addressed to Senate President, Bukola Saraki, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon Yakubu Dogara, respectively.
The group noted that the EFCC had started an investigation into the alleged bribery allegations leveled against Umar and his personal assistant, Mr. Ali Gambo Abdullahi.
HURIWA clarified that as a Civil Society Group whose main objective is advocacy and protection of human rights in Nigeria, the immediate probe of the CCT boss would send a strong signal to those still doubting President Muhammadu Buhari’s anti corruption war.
The petition read in part, “We write to bring to your attention for further investigation and necessary action a report of likely conspiracy by the EFCC, Office of the Attorney General of the Federation and the Code of Conduct Tribunal to remove the Senate President from Office using the instrumentality of their public offices to achieve their aims.
The group alleged that the EFCC, through the CCT, launched a counter attack on Saraki following the decision of the senate to probe the former chairman of the anti – graft agency, Lamorde sometimes in August this year.
According to the petition, “The Senate recently launched an investigation against the activities of the Chairman of the EFCC. The EFCC as a hcounter attack initiated and launched the prosecution of the Senate President as a retaliatory measure using the offices of the Attorney General of the Federation and a highly compromised Code of Conduct Tribunal to achieve their aim of removing the Senate President from office.
“The EFCC is aware that a compromised Code of Conduct Tribunal will always do its bidding because it has already concluded investigation into an N10 million bribery allegation against the Chairman Code of Conduct Tribunal, Justice Danladi Umar and his personal assistant, Mr. Ali Gambo Abdullahi.”
The group further alleged that the former Attorney General of the Federation, Mohammed Adoke, had already given a written directive to EFCC to proceed to prosecute the accused persons but that the anti – graft agency, for reasons best known to it decided to file charges against only Abdullahi, the personal assistant.
The group said both chambers of the National Assembly should note that the so called investigation report in the trial of the senate president at the CCT was probably prepared by the EFCC and that the prosecutor at the prosecutor, Mr. Rotimi Jacobs, is a well known EFCC counsel.