Posted by By Ise-Oluwa Ige on
VICE President Atiku Abubakar has now been served criminal information preparatory to his prosecution at the Code of Conduct Tribunal for alleged abuse of office and illegal diversion of public funds.
* It is all balderdash, says Atiku; tasks EFCC on Obasanjo's library
ABUJA—VICE President Atiku Abubakar has now been served criminal information preparatory to his prosecution at the Code of Conduct Tribunal for alleged abuse of office and illegal diversion of public funds.
But the VP who confirmed being served with the court processes in the case dismissed the legal move to try him as sheer balderdash.
His campaign organisation challenged the EFCC and the Code of Conduct Bureau to make public the report of their investigation of the letter sent by Lagos lawyer, Chief Gani Fawehinmi on the donations at the launch of the Presidential Library project.
Vice President Atiku said his planned trial was not only unconstitutional in view of the provisions of section 308 (1) (a) (c) of the 1999 constitution but also an affront to the rule of law.
Vice President Atiku speaking through his lead counsel, Chief Oluwole Olanipekun (SAN), said necessary court processes would be filed to dismiss the entire legal process instituted against him.
He also said the information filed was an abuse of court process in view of the on-going legal battle before the Federal High Court, Abuja which subject-matter was the same with the charges preferred against Atiku at the tribunal.
Counsel representing both parties are expected to lock horns before the tribunal on Tuesday, next week.
Charged with Atiku are his Personal Assistant, Mr. Umar Pariya; former Executive Secretary of the Petroleum Technology Development Fund, Alhaji Yusuf Hamisu Abubakar (a.k.a. Mirago).
According to Federal Government's counsel, Mr. Thompson Olatigbe, the bureau recommended the vice-president for trial for violating the code of conduct for public officers. He said the charges preferred against them had nothing to do with what was before the high court.
Olatigbe who dismissed the arguement that any public officer who enjoys immunity could not be charged said the tribunal was a constitutional court with powers to try all public officers who violate the code of conduct tribunal and that the provisions of section 308 did not apply.
He said: “We have filed the charges. They are facing about 18 counts. Let them come with their objection, we will counter it.”
Members of the three-man tribunal are Justice (Mrs.) Constance Momoh (Chairman); Prof. Peter Oluyede; and Mr. Samuel Iyokrah.
The vice-president would be tried for the alleged mismanagement of the PTDF money amounting to about $165 million.
Obasanjo library: Atiku tasks EFCC on Gani’s petition
Vice President Atiku has called on the EFCC and the Code of Conduct to make public the reports of their investigations of the petition sent to them last year by Chief Fawehinmi on donations to President Olusegun Obasanjo’s library project.
Vice President Atiku made the call in a statement issued yesterday by his spokesman, Dr Adeolu Akande.
“The Atiku Abubakar Campaign Organisation is sending out an appeal to the Code of Conduct Tribunal, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC)and the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) to brief the nation on the progress they each have made so far into the investigation of the petition sent to them more than a year ago on the propriety or otherwise of the President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo’s receipt of money in excess of N6 billion in the name of a so-called Presidential Library project.
“The fund raising was launched by the President for a N7 billionn Library in Abeokuta on Saturday, May 14, 2005.
“About N6.4 billion was raised at the ceremony that saw the captains of industry, telecom moguls, ministers, bankers, state governors, the NNPC, the NPA falling over themselves to please the President by supporting his library with cash.
“The petition, it may be recalled, was sent to the anti-corruption bodies in June 2005 by Lagos lawyer and human rights activist, Chief Gani Fawehinmi, but since then, nothing has been heard on the progress of their investigations.
“This would appear to be a stark contrast to the ‘lightening speed’ with which the speculations and conjectures of acts of impropriety alleged to have been committed by the Vice President Atiku Abubakar are being treated and dispensed with.
“For instance, the Code of Conduct Tribunal received the concocted lies put together by Nuhu Ribadu and the so-called Attoney-General, Ojo’s Administrative Panel on September 22, 2006, but to the amazement of all, it took the tribunal no more than seven days to complete all processes and the procedures and served the Vice President of all his papers for the summons and appointed October the 10th, as the date for the commencement of the case against Atiku.
“For a panel that has in the last seven years not successfully tried one high profile case including those from the predecessor administration, the speed of the Atiku prosecution will definitely make it a feat worthy of the Guinness Book of Records.
“It would be recalled that Chief Gani Fawehinmi had petitioned the anti-corruption bodies, asking the legal and moral correctness of a sitting president’s open solicitation for donations to a private project, donations that shockingly came from beneficiaries of the government’s policies in the oil and gas sector."
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