The trial of the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, assumed another dimension on Wednesday, as the embattled former Governor of Kwara State asked the Chairman of Code of Conduct Tribunal, CCT, Justice Danladi Umar, to withdraw himself from his trial for alleged false declaration of assets on the ground that he was biased.
Saraki, in an application filed by Raphael Oluyede, insisted that Umar must disqualify himself from the case.
This is even as the a detective with the EFCC, who is also a prosecution witness, Mr. Michael Wetkas told the Tribunal today that his team could they could not retrieve document documenting Saraki’s foreign transactions from the GTB, because the bank said they had been destroyed by fire.
The application asking Umar to hands off the false assets declaration case agsinst Saraki was filed on Wednesday at the CCT, and it read in part: “An order disqualifying/recusing the Honourable Justice Danladi Umar (Chairman of this tribunal) from sitting on the panel of this tribunal for hearing and determination of the charges filed in these proceedings for the reason that his continued presence on the said panel of this tribunal offends the provisions of section 36 (1) of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria which prescribes that ‘In the determination of his civil rights and obligations, including any question or determination by or against any government or authority, a person shall be entitled to a fair hearing within a reasonable time by a court or other tribunal established by law and constituted in such manner as to secure its independence and impartiality.”
Meanwhile, Wetkas, while being cross examined by Saraki’s lawyer, Paul Usoro (SAN), said “Several telexes from American Express Bank and facts are here from the bank (GTB).
“All the transfer requests made by the investigating team to provide information was an offshoot of a debit transaction that was already consummated on that account, which showed that the bank carried it out.
“There is no doubt that the transaction was actually carried out by American Express Bank.
“There were also police report and an affidavit, which they (GTB) swore to, to show that some of the documents were burnt. There is an affidavit and I believe it was a fire outbreak.”
When asked by Usoro if he did not investigate to find out if American Express Bank exists, Wetkas responded: “My investigation was not on American Express Bank, but on the account.”
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