By Ikechukwu Nnochiri
ABUJA—The Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, yesterday, refused to stop the Senate from probing the Chairman of the Code of Conduct Tribunal, CCT, Mr. Danladi Umar, over alleged misconduct.
The CCT boss was caught on camera last year, beating a security man at a popular plaza in Abuja.
He had shortly after both the Senate and the Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, announced their decisions to probe him, lodged a suit before the court to stop them.
Umar, in his suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/ 671/2021, specifically challenged the powers of the Senate to investigate him over the incident.
He prayed the court for an order of perpetual injunction, restraining the Senate, its members and agents from conducting or continuing to conduct investigations into allegations of assault levelled against him in a petition submitted to the Senate.
He urged the court to determine whether the alleged case of assault, which took place at Banex Plaza in Abuja on March 29, 2021, formed part of the matters the Senate is constitutionally empowered to investigate.
Besides, he prayed the court to determine whether the Senate and its Committee on Ethics and Public Petitions, are competent to investigate or invite him in relation to the investigation of the allegation of assault brought against him, and wether the powers of the Senate to conduct investigations are not governed or subject to the provision of sections 88 and 89 of the 1999 Constitution.
Upon determination of the questions, the plaintiff asked the court to declare that the purported case of assault, which took place on March 29, 2021, did not form part of the matters the Senate is constitutionally empowered to investigate.
He further asked the court to declare that the Senate’s move to conduct investigation in the matter is unconstitutional as same amounts to unwarranted usurpation of the functions of the police and of the court of competent jurisdiction.
Cited as defendants in the matter were the Senate, the Senate President, Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions, as well as the Attorney-General of the Federation.
Meanwhile, the court, in the judgement delivered by Justice Inyang Ekwo, held that Section 88 of the 1999 Constitution, as amended, gave the Senate the powers to investigate any public officer accused of engaging in acts of misconduct.
It held that the suit the CCT boss filed to halt his planned appearance before the Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions, constituted an abuse of the judicial process.
Justice Ekwo held that since both the CCT and the Code of Conduct Bureau, CCB, are products of an Act that was ratified by the National Assembly, their officers, are also subject to its investigative powers.
He, therefore, dismissed the suit as lacking in merit.
It would be recalled that Umar had, in an attempt to exonerate himself, claimed that his action against the security man occurred after he was attacked at the said plaza by persons he described as “Biafran boys.”