The judge presiding over the case by Senate President Bukola Saraki [above] challenging the corruption charges against him by the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) has withdrawn from the hearing.
Justice Ahmed Mohammed of an Abuja Federal High Court on Wednesday hands off the case citing crisis of confidence generated by ‘negative social media reports’ surrounding his earlier ruling.
He ordered that the case be remitted to the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court for re-assignment to another judge ‘in the interest of justice’.
Saraki had on September 17 approached the court through an ex parte application seeking to halt his arraignment before the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) in Abuja on 13-count charges of false declaration of assets.
Justice Mohammed in his ruling ordered counsels to Saraki, Joseph Daudu (SAN) and Mahmud Magaji (SAN) to serve notice of hearing on the Ministry of Justice, CCB, CCT, and Muslim Hassan- a principal prosecutor in the Ministry of Justice, to appear on September 21 to show cause why the application should not be granted.
However, Saraki on Monday September 21 again approached the Appeal Court in Abuja after a bench warrant was on Friday issued against him by presiding judge of the CCT, Justice Danladi Umar. But the application was not granted. He was subsequently arraigned on Tuesday September 22.
Justice Mohammed was angered by subsequent media reports which claimed that he had granted the application to stop the trial and have unsuccessfully tried to stop the senate president’s trial at the CCT after he was compromised.
“While it is not my intention to join issues with the authors of the said publication, but I strongly feel that the records should be set straight.
“In the first instance, I have never made any restraining order against any of the defendants and in particular, the Code of Conduct Tribunal vide a Motion Ex parte or any Motion at all.
“Those who are conversant with the workings of this Court knows it is not in the habit of granting restraining orders to stop public institutions from carrying out their statutory duties,” he said.
Explaining the decision to withdraw from the case, the judge noted that if Saraki’s claim succeeds in the end, the allegation in the country calls publication would seem to have been proved, while if it fails in the court, it would seem that he was blackmailed by the publication not to do justice in the matter.