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VP protests composition of conduct tribunal

Posted by By Tobi Soniyi, Abuja on 2006/10/11 | Views: 464 |

VP protests composition of conduct tribunal


Vice-President Atiku Abubakar, on Tuesday, in Abuja protested the constitution of the Code of Conduct Tribunal and objected to its power to try him for abuse of office.

Vice-President Atiku Abubakar, on Tuesday, in Abuja protested the constitution of the Code of Conduct Tribunal and objected to its power to try him for abuse of office.

When the tribunal called the case, only the Chairman, Mrs. Constance Mommoh, and one member, Prof. Peter Oluyede, were seated.

No explanation was given for the absence of the third member of the tribunal, Mr. Samuel Iyorkha.

The last time Iyorkha sat as a member of the tribunal, he was physically sick and had be to be brought into the tribunal‘s court room.

Abubakars lawyer, Chief Kola Awodein (SAN), quickly objected to the arrangement, citing Section 15 (1) of the Fifth Schedule to the 1999 Constitution, which established the tribunal.

The section reads, ”There shall be established a tribunal to be known as Code of Conduct Tribunal which shall consist of a chairman and two other persons.”

Awodein said, ”What we have, I say this with all sense of respect, is my lady and one person.

”For today‘s proceeding, the two cannot carry on as the tribunal.”

The chairman called on the prosecutor, Mr. Thomson Olatigbe, to react.

Olatigbe asked the tribunal to disregard the protest.

He said the section cited by Awodein related only to the establishment and not the tribunal‘s quorum.

Olatigbe argued that members of the tribunal needed not be three when sitting.

He cited the Interpretation Act, which stated that a tribunal would be properly constituted when it had two members sitting.

The chairman was not quite satisfied with Olatigbes argument and asked him to expatiate.

Olatigbe said he was taken by surprise. He asked that the case be stood down, but the chairman refused.

Mommoh said that she was aware of the fact that two people can sit where the law provided for three.

Awodein argued that Section 28 of the Interpretation Act would not apply because the provisions of a law could not amend or duplicate the provision of the constitution.

Also on Tuesday, Abubakar lost the battle to persuade a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja to dismiss preliminary objections by the Federal Government to his suit against the reports of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and the Administrative Panel of Inquiry.

Abubakar also urged the court to stop the objection raised by the Federal Government and the EFCC.

Justice Abimbola Ogie declined the vice-presidents request for consolidation of all applications filed in his suit together with the substantive suit. Ogie said she would hear the preliminary objection brought by both the Federal Government and the EFCC first.

She said the outcome of the preliminary objection would determine whether or not the substantive suit would be heard or not.

She adjourned hearing in the case to November 16.

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Fay(Katy, Texas, US)says...

Actually translates to bravehearted.