A fresh application by the Senate President, Bukola Saraki asking for the disqualification of the Chairman of the Code of Conduct Tribunal, Danladi Umar from further presiding over his trial for false assets declaration has been countered by the Federal Government.
Kanu Agabi, Saraki’s lawyer had on June 13 filed the application accusing Umar of showing bias in one of his statements during the proceedings on June 7.
Danladi Umar had said to Saraki that employing tactics of delay would not “reduce the consequences the defendant will meet in this tribunal at the end of the trial.”
The defense therefore in its fresh application alleged that Umar’s statement shows that the presiding judge has been prejudiced towards the outcome of the trial.
Opposing the application, the Federal Government said the statement which Saraki had filed his case on was taken out of context by the defence team.
The counter-affidavit stated in part, “That as a counsel appearing with the lead counsel in this case, I know as a fact that if the Chairman of this honourable tribunal disqualifies himself, based on this application, the honourable tribunal would have taken over the jurisdiction of the Court of Appeal in deciding the appeal.”
“That I am aware that the Chairman of this honourable tribunal on the said June 7, 2016 stated clearly that his mind is open to do justice to this matter and that he has no prejudice against any of the parties.”
“That the statement quoted in the affidavit in support, allegedly made by the chairman of the honourable tribunal was quoted out of context without referring to the statement made by the chairman to the effect that his mind was open to do justice to this matter and that he has no prejudice against any of the parties.”
“That since the charge was filed on September 17, 2015, the defendant has employed all forms of delay tactics to ensure that this matter is not expeditiously heard and to frustrate the prosecution of this case.”
The tribunal chairman fixed June 21 for the hearing of the application, following Saraki’s lawyer’s request for time to respond to the prosecution’s counter-affidavit.