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‘Accept my sympathies’ — Saraki mocks CCT chairman over EFCC fraud charge
Bukola Saraki, the Senate President, has expressed his “sympathies” to Danladi Umar, Chairman of Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT), who is facing a corruption charge from the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFFC).
On behalf of the EFCC, Festus Keyamo, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), filed a suit at a Federal Capital Territory High Court accusing Umar of demanding a bribe of N10 million from one Rasheed Taiwo who had a case at the tribunal, back in 2012.
Umar was also accused of receiving N1.8 million of the N10 million bribe through one of his personal assistants, Gambo Abdullahi.
Saraki’s legal team had asked Umar to disqualify himself for the trial of false assets declaration against the Senate President, on account of the allegations
However, after investigating the matter, EFCC wrote to the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), saying “the allegations levelled against Justice Umar were mere suspicions and consequently insufficient to successfully prosecute the offence”, meaning he could continue presiding over the trial.
Now that EFCC has reopened the case, Saraki, whom Umar eventually declared innocent after a contentious trial, said: “I sympathize with the chairman of the tribunal, Mr. Danladi Umar, for his travail in the hands of the EFCC which suddenly woke up four days to the resumption of this case to file criminal charges against him.
“You will recall that in April 2016, when our lawyers asked the Tribunal Chairman to recuse himself from our case, because of the criminal investigation against him, the EFCC swiftly cleared Mr. Umar of any wrongdoing.
“Now, I find it amusing, that in a dramatic turnaround, this same EFCC now thinks that Mr. Umar has a case to answer just before the commencement of my case before him. What has changed since April 2016?
“As much as many Nigerians want to continue to believe that this my case is merely about asset declaration irregularities, the maneuvers, manipulation, intrigues, schemes, and “House of Cards” nature of this whole case proves otherwise.
“I really wonder whether those who genuinely love this government appreciate the damage that all this is doing to our so-called ‘War Against Corruption.
“However, in all of this, my confidence in the judiciary and its ability to do justice in all cases, remains unshaken.”