Senate President Bukola Saraki tribunal probe gathers momentum as his counsels again failed in an application to prevail on the Code of Conduct Tribunal [CCT] to suspend further hearing on the charges against him. The CCT described Saraki’s application as an abuse of judicial process.
Saraki, who is facing a 16-count charge before the tribunal, also failed to disqualify the Chairman of the tribunal, Justice Danladi Umar, from hearing the case.
This is the second time that the Senate President would be making such requests on the tribunal.
The two-member tribunal on Wednesday, dismissed the fresh application by a former Attorney General of the Federation, Chief Kanu Agabi, on behalf of Saraki.
Reasons for application dismissal
In dismissing the application, the tribunal said it was an abuse of judicial process.
Justice Umar who read the ruling said Saraki had earlier filed a similar application which was dismissed on April 28.
In a report Concisenews obtained from NAN, Saraki, in a fresh application, urged Justice Umar to hands-off his trial and accuses Umar of bias.
His lawyers contended that remarks the judge made in the open court clearly portrayed his prejudice against the defendant.
Saraki said he no longer have confidence in the ability of the panel as presently constituted to accord him fair hearing.
The ruling on Saraki tribunal probe
In its ruling, the Justice Umar-led panel held that Saraki’s allegations were founded on “mere conjectures and alleged sensational statements that have not been verified”.
It held that the defendant has enough avenues to ventilate his grievances against Justice Umar.
“It is not for the defendant to ask the Chairman to disqualify himself which is tantamount to terminating further hearing of the case.
“The CCT is the only court that is constitutionally empowered to hear the charge brought against the defendant.
“The Chairman is the tribunal, without the Chairman the tribunal will collapse.’’
“The Chairman can be disqualified but such action must be based on overwhelming evidence and not by mere conjecture or a frivolous application.’’
The accused persons must establish his allegation for his request to succeed.
“Allegation of bias is a very serious attack on integrity of a judge. For such allegation to succeed it must be supported by concrete evidence”, Justice Umar held.