Mild drama ensued at the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) on Wednesday when the lawyers to the former Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Elder Godsday Orubebe, argued that the tribunal double-booked itself by scheduling two cases at the same time, and on the same day.
The second case in question being that of the Senate President, Bukola Saraki.
Putting forward the argument that the Chairman of the CCT, Danladi Umar, had asked both Orubebe and Saraki to appear before the court on Wednesday, April 20th, 2016 at 10am, Orubebe’s counsel argued that because the CCT Chairman had assigned them their date before Saraki, the court proceedings for his client should go on.
However, in a drastic twist, the CCT Chairman insisted that the trial of the Senate President, Bukola Saraki would continue on a day to day basis, while that of Orubebe would be stood down.
The CCT Chairman Danladi Umar ruled that based on his powers of discretion in the selection of which cases are heard and when, he would be proceeding with the case of Saraki until further notice.
Tongue-lashing Orubebe’s counsel, Umar stated that he lacks respect, ordered him to sit down and adjourned his case till tomorrow Thursday, 21st April, 2016.
It will be recalled that at the Tuesday, April 19th, 2016 court proceedings, Mr. Saraki, through his counsel, Paul Usoro, had argued for an adjournment of the case to allow the defence team to study the exhibits that had been tendered.
However, in what legal experts have described as an inconsistent ruling, the CCT Chairman mandated that the trial must proceed on a day-to-day basis.
Umar, who at the beginning of the trial on Monday, stated that the court hearings will be on a daily basis from 10am-6pm has consistently failed to keep to his own words by resuming very late to court.
“Let me state it here for both the prosecution and the defence that the trial of the defendant shall proceed on a day to day basis till the conclusion of this matter and it will begin from 10am to 6pm,” Justice Umar held earlier.
Recall that counsel to Senator Saraki, Kanu Agabi (SAN) had on Tuesday requested for adjournment till 12pm today (Wednesday) to allow his team go over the evidences tendered by the prosecution. This request was refused by Umar on the grounds that he cannot go back on his words.
“We are not here for one person. We are doing this on the provisions of the Criminal Justice Act. I have said it and that is final,” Umar said.
Umar arrived the court today at exactly 11:39am instead of his scheduled 10:00am. At Tuesday’s proceedings, Umar also arrived at 1:40pm, when the hearing was set for 12 noon.
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