THE acting national publicity secretary of the All Progressives Congress, Timi Frank has accused the Code of Conduct Tribunal of double standard over its stance in the ongoing trial of the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki.
Frank in a statement also expressed disappointment at what he described as the silence of the leaders of the party in the face of Saraki’s ordeal.
Querying while Saraki’s trial at the CCB took a different dimension compared to that of an unnamed party leader in 2011, the party’s acting national secretary said the CCT’s ruling of Thursday undermined Section 3(d) of the CCB/CCT Act.
“The question is: Why is the case of Saraki being treated differently at the CCT than it was in 2011, when this same tribunal struck out the case against one of our national leaders because he was not given the opportunity to deny or admit the alleged discrepancies in his asset declaration forms in line with Section 3(d) of the CCB/CCT Act. Why is this case unlike the 11 other ex-governors who had similar cases of irregularities thus, the charges were subsequently dropped by the CCB after they were invited by the agency.”
For the avoidance of doubt, Section 3(d) of the CCB/CCT Act which has been so undermined by the CCT in its Thursday ruling states that the CCB shall: “Receive complaints about non-compliance with or breach of this Act and where the Bureau (not the AGF or EFCC) considers it necessary to do so, refer such complaints to the Code of Conduct Tribunal established by Section 20 of this Act in accordance with the provisions of Sections 20 to 25 of this Act: provided that where the concerned makes a written admission of such breach or non-compliance, no reference to the Tribunal shall be necessary.”
It is pertinent to mention that when this section of the Act was pleaded in the defence of one of the leaders of the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) in 2011, the selfsame Justice Danlandi Umar struck out the case for lack of jurisdiction to entertain the suit when he ruled that “…On Section 3(d), I feel compelled by the argument of the learned SAN for the accused. It is a condition precedent for referring a charge to this Tribunal that the accused ought to have been invited to either deny or admit the allegations against him.
This is missing in this case as the complainant has no such evidence of a prior invitation. It would be proper for me at this stage to simply decline further exercise of jurisdiction having held that the co diction precedent to the instituting of charges against the accused has not been complied with. I hereby resolve this issue in favour of the accused…”
He added: “It is based on the above precedent that I want to ask why Saraki’s case is different? Why is the judiciary suddenly giving in to apparent blackmail from a section of the media by refusing to do their job as required by law? He queried.
The statement read further: “I sincerely hold that the current trial of Saraki is not only underserved, but amounts to paying a good man with evil.
“I also want to say that the leaders of our great party have unfortunately remained quiet in the face of evil.
“I don’t believe we have forgotten that the victory of the APC during the last general elections could not have been possible without courageous strategists like Saraki who lent their political weight in favour of the APC at the risk of their own lives and personal survival.
“I don’t think we have forgotten how Saraki as a Senator in the 7th Senate brought the attention of Nigerians to the fraud perpetrated by the last administration in the name of fuel subsidy,” he said.