The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership (CACOL) has urged the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), not to succumb to pressure to abandon the bribery case it filed against the Chairman of the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT), Mr. Danladi Umar.
Mr Debo Adeniran, The Executive Chairman of CACOL, while expressing the position of the Centre stated: “We were all living witnesses to the fact that the EFCC filed corruption charges against the CCT Chairman, Danladi Umar, at the high court of Federal Capital Territory, Abuja early in February, 2018. The charge was that Umar, tried to compromise his exalted position by demanding for an N10m bribe from one Rasheed Owolabi Taiwo, a defendant standing trial before the CCT in 2012.
The EFCC also accused Danladi Umar of receiving the sum of N1.2m through his personal assistant, Alhaji Gambo Abdullahi, as part payment for the illegal transaction. These are very grave allegations, especially against a person that is holding such a sensitive public position”.
“It is therefore, surprising to us, as an anti-corruption civil society group to observe that the case has remained stalled till date on the orders of the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami, who queried both the Acting Chairman of EFCC and the agency’s private prosecutor, Festus Keyamo (SAN) over the case. We are aware that Malami had demanded their explanations for filing the charges even when the Commission had earlier declared that it had no evidence to prosecute the CCT Chairman. The Commission and their lawyer, we learnt, replied as required, by justifying the filing of the charges. Incidentally, the judge to whom the case was reassigned, Justice Yusuf Halilu, of the Jabi Division of the FCT High Court in Abuja, has not fixed a date for arraignment of Umar while the EFCC seems reluctant to continue with the case due to the query from the Attorney General of the Federation.”
The CACOL boss further stated that: “Our concern is that corruption cases involving highly placed public officers attract serious attention as they are used to gauge the Federal Government’s commitment to the anti-graft war. This is why public confidence and trust remains germane in handling such cases. It is instructive that the same CCT Chairman, Danladi Umar, shoddily handled the Senate President, Bukola Saraki’s case of assets declaration that was eventually thrown out of the nation’s apex court. For Nigerians to fully identify with the anti-Corruption fight, all parties involved-especially the government and all its agencies- must be alive to their responsibilities which they must discharge without fear or favour. This transparent disposition is the only tonic that can mobilize the critical segments of the public to the fight directed at stamping out the evil of corruption from our nation.
We therefore call on the EFCC, to immediately resume arraignment and prosecution of Umar if indeed there is sufficient ground for case to continue. On the other hand, the Attorney General of the federation should issue a direct notice of withdrawal of the case with convincing explanations, if he is convinced that it would be in public interest to do so. This is the honourable and correct path to tread to in order to retain public confidence in the system.
Media Coordinator, CACOL
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