N10 Million Bribe: Senate Begins Probe Of CCT Chairman

The Senate on Thursday began the probe of the Chairman of the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT), Mr. Danladi Umar over allegations of corruption.

The probe followed the presentation yesterday of a petition to the parliament by Senator Obinna Ogba (Ebonyi Central) by a group, Anti-corruption Network signed by one Ajaso I. Ajaso.

After the presentation, Senate President Bukola Saraki referred the petition to the Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions, mandating it to report its findings to the Senate in two weeks.

Although details of the petition were not made available to journalists, the Senate’s probe of Umar is not unconnected to Saraki’s trial at the CCT for false assets declaration in 2003.

Umar has come under pressure in the last two weeks following reports of an investigation carried out by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in 2014 into allegations made by a retired Comptroller of Customs, Mr. Rasheed Taiwo, that the CCT chairman demanded N10 million as bribe from him to quash a case against him.

Also on November 6, a non-governmental organisation (NGO) – Registered Trustees of Mission for Peace and Development Initiative – filed a suit at the court seeking to compel Umar to vacate his position as chairman of CCT.

The suit also sought to compel the EFCC to carry out the instruction of a former Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Mohammed Adoke (SAN), to prosecute Umar for allegedly collecting a bribe of N1.8 million through the bank account of his personal assistant, Abdullahi Gambo.

The alleged N1.8 million bribe was part payment of the N10 million Umar was purported to have demanded from Taiwo.

Umar, CCT, EFCC and the AGF were listed as first to fourth defendants respectively.

Among the exhibits attached to the suit were the photocopy of the cheque with which a bribe of N1.8 million was allegedly paid to Umar through Gambo; the statement by Umar himself where he admitted meeting privately with the petitioner in his (Umar) office at the CCT premises; statements made by his PA; Umar’s bail application; and a letter to former President Goodluch Jonathan by the two other members of the tribunal, among other exhibits.

The group, in its originating summons filed on its behalf by Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN), asked the court to order Umar to hands-off the trial of any Nigerian, having confessed to corruption and admitted meeting with the accused person standing trial before him, in the absence of the prosecution and court officials.

The plaintiffs also wanted the court to order the CCT to halt further sittings or proceedings against accused persons brought before it, or currently standing trial before it until it is reconstituted to exclude its present chairman.

While fielding questions from journalists on whether the probe would not be misconstrued as a vendetta against the CCT chairman who is currently trying Saraki, Senator Ogba said people have the freedom to say what they pleased, but Senate would not be deterred from carrying out its lawful duties.

Source: The Trent