The Senate Commitee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions on Tuesday announced the suspension of the investigation of alleged assault against the Chairman of the Code of Conduct Tribunal ( CCT), Danladi Umar.
Chairman of the Committee and Senator representing Ondo central, Senator Ayo Akinyelure, said the Senate premised its decision to suspend the investigation on a pending court case slammed on it and the Attorney – General of the Federation by the respondent, Danladi Umar.
In the suit with file no FHC/ABJ/ CS/671/2021, the CCT Chairman through his counsel, lawyers, Sunday Edward (ESQ) and other Attorneys from Abuka and Partners is challenging Senate’s Constitutional power to conduct investigation and purpose for which it is exercisable.
Among his prayers, the CCT Chairman is asking the court to interpret the constitutional powers granted by the Senate or House Committees on Ethics and Public Petitions whether it covers public assaults vested in the Police and the Courts of Law by the Constitution.
But Barrister Timizing Venyir Ramnap, who is the lawyer to the alleged Assaultee (Clement Sargwak), objected to the Committee decision to step aside from the investigation sinedie (indefinitely).
Ramnap in his brief submissions before the Commitee’s ruling, said the purported originating summons from Federal High Court Abuja forwarded to the committee by counsel to the accused, were mere court processes and not declarative orders.
He said:” Courts have procedures of doing things. The present document before this Committee as read out by the Chairman is not an order from any court but a mere court process served on the Senate.
“Were it to be valid order from the court of competent jurisdiction, Senate may back out, but since it is not, the Senate through this Committee still have its constitutional powers on the case and can forge ahead with the investigation.
“We hereby wish to submit that the Senate do look at its position as contained in law by rejecting this temptation.”
But Senator Akinyelure assured Ramnap that Umar’s legal move would be challenged in court.
He said: ” We have submitted all the originating summons to the leadership of the Senate, Clerk to the National Assembly, Clerk of the Senate and the legal department of the National Assembly.
“All the issues raised by the respondent who has turned himself to a plaintiff now will be challenged in the court because investigation on the alleged assault started here before the CCT Chairman ran to court.
” Be rest assured that the matter will not die like that but we have to stop investigation for now, pending the outcome of consultations we are seeking for from relevant authorities and in particular the counteroffensive being made against the CCT Chairman in the court of law.
“This is a clear case of circumventing the constitutional powers of the Senate after submitting himself to us for investigation and begged for time to study the allegations made against him.
“He appeared at the first sitting, sought for a week to study allegations on assault levelled against him. We gave him three weeks for that. Thereafter, at the second, third sessions, he sent representatives that he couldn’t come due to ill health, only for him to inform us through his lawyers at the fourth sitting two weeks ago ( July 13, 2021), that he was already in court.
“Here today, neither he nor any of his representatives is here which will make us stop the entire process for now because we can’t write a report on the investigation by hearing from only one side.
“We hereby step this investigation aside Sine dies.”