Senate makes fresh move to amend CCB, CCT Act
• Tribunal chairman, Umar apologises over remark on Saraki
• Refuses to disqualify self
• Adjourns trial to November 7
The Senate, yesterday, made fresh move to amend the Act, which established the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) and the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT), with a bill which has passed through its first reading.
The Upper Chamber had in April tinkered with the idea in a bill sponsored by Senator Peter Nwaoboshi (PDP, Delta North). It was, however, withdrawn due to public outcry, as it coincided with ongoing trial of Senate President, Bukola Saraki, by the CCT over alleged false declaration of assets.
But at yesterday’s plenary, the bill resurfaced through another sponsor, Senator Ali Ndume (APC, Borno South). It reads: “Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act Cap C15LFN 2004 (Amendment) Bill 2016 (HB. 320)- First Reading.”
The CCT, meanwhile, has adjourned the trial of Saraki to November 7, 2016.The move was at the instance of Saraki’s counsel, led by Chief Kanu Agabi, and that of the Federal Government, led by Mr. Oluwaleke Atolagbe.
At the resumed trial, yesterday, Mr. Rotimi Jacobs, billed to lead the Federal Government’s defense team, had been attending another matter at the High Court.
Atolagbe, who stood in for him, informed the court that his principal would join the tribunal. He, however, failed to be specific when Jacobs would arrive.
Before the adjournment, chairman of the tribunal, Mr. Danladi Umar, apologised over comment made against Saraki in the course of the trial.Saraki, who had earlier pleaded not guilty to a 16-count charge of false declaration of assets, had asked the chairman to disqualify himself over allegation of bias.
His counsel, Paul Erokoro, alleged that Umar on June 7 had threatened Saraki, saying delayed tactics by his lawyers would not reduce the consequences he would face.
Umar declined to disqualify himself from participating in the trial on account of the remark. “As human beings, we are bound to make mistakes. It is only God that is infallible,” he said.
The CCT boss said the comment had been made with a free mind and without prejudice to the Senate President or the trial.