The Chairman of Code of Conduct Tribunal Justice Danladi Umar yesterday blew his top threatening to walk out one of the lawyers representing Senate President Bukola Saraki.
This was as a result of the lawyer’s request that the Chairman should disqualify himself from the tribunal over allegation of bias and N10m bribery leveled against him.
At this point, the judge produced a letter from the EFCC clearing him of the allegation of taking a bribe of N10 million and handed it to Mr. Rotimi Jacobs (SAN) to read to the tribunal. This allegation was the basis of the motion filed by counsels to Bukola Saraki accusing the judge of bias.
However, the insistence of Ajibola Oloyede on making his claims after getting the floor from Mr. Adelodun angered the judge who kept shouting at Oloyede to sit down. When Oloyede would not sit down, the judge ordered the court orderlies to take him away. However, with the plea of the lead prosecutor, Mr. Rotimi Jacobs (SAN) and the tribunal’s registrar, the judge became calm and order was restored.
Earlier, while Oloyede was bringing the application to the notice of the tribunal, Jacobs had interjected, saying the matter was adjourned for continuation of cross examination of the witness, and that when he was served the application, he told Oloyede to serve him through Saraki’s lead counsel, Agabi.
Jacobs premised his argument on Section 349 (7 and 8) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA), insisting that the application was not ripe for hearing since it was just served and would have to reply to it.
The tribunal gave Jacobs the clearance letter from the EFCC, after which Oloyede jumped to his feet, openly accusing the chairman of having some questionable relationship with the anti-graft agency.
Mr. Kanu Agabi (SAN) then walked in and said Oluyede was a member of the defence team and the judge should listen to him. Saraki had accused the chairman of the CCT, Danladi Umar, of bias, saying he would not get justice under his chairmanship.
The CCT while ruling on the motion held that it was not ripe for hearing and that the prosecutor had not been served.
After the trial, the CCT again refused to grant Saraki’s plea for a week-long adjournment but changed the day-to-day trial to adjourn the trial for three days.
Lead counsel to the defendant, Mr. Kanu Agabi (SAN) while making the plea to adjourn for a week, had made reference to the sacred covenant the counsels to both parties and the judges had earlier made in the judges’ chamber. He also made reference to the adjournment for one month yesterday granted Mr. Godsday Orubebe by the tribunal. He added that the Supreme Court had ruled that lower courts and tribunals should not deviate from precedents in other not to enshrine unpredictability into judgments.
However, Mr. Rotimi Jacobs (SAN) objected to this plea. He said the Supreme Court was actually not referring to cases of adjournment. He added that adjournment falls under the discretion of the judge and pleaded with the judge to consider Tuesday or Wednesday next week. Justice Umar then adjourned the trial to Wednesday, April 27, 2016 for continuation of cross-examination of the first prosecution witness.