Ribadu tells Code of Conduct Tribunal, You can’t try me

Assets declaration: You can’t try me, Ribadu tells Code of Conduct Tribunal

The former Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, on Thursday in Kaduna, told the Code of Conduct Tribunal that it lacked the jurisdiction to try him for alleged failure to declare his assets while in office.

Ribadu said this in a notice of preliminary objection filed before the tribunal which sat in its North-West zonal office. In the application argued by his lawyer, Mr. Sola Egbeyinka from Femi Falana Chambers, Ribadu challenged the jurisdiction of the CCT on two grounds.

The former EFCC boss had insisted that the tribunal was not properly constituted and also claimed that the charge against him before the tribunal was incompetent, frivolous and vexatious. Ribadu‘s notice of preliminary objection was supported by a four-paragraph affidavit, deposed to by Egbeyinka.

The lawyer also said that he had filed a reply to the counter-affidavit earlier filed by the prosecution. He relied on the provisions of Section 20 part 2, sub-section 2 of the Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act and paragraph 15 of the Fifth Schedule of the 1999 Constitution which stipulates that the CCT shall consist of a chairman and two other members.

Egbeyinka argued that the tribunal, as currently constituted and made up of only its chairman, Justice Constance Momoh and one other member, Mr. Adebayo Sani (SAN), was not properly constituted to hear the charge against his client. He further submitted that the charge sheet served on his client’s wife indicated that as at January 13, 2009, the names of the three members of the tribunal were listed in the document.

On second ground of objection, Egbeyinka argued that the charge was incompetent in view of the fact that as at the time the charge was preferred against his client, he had already ceased to be a public officer and so could not be tried within the provisions of the CCT Act.

In his submission, the prosecuting lawyer, Mr. Thomson Olatigbe, argued that the charge against Ribadu was valid and properly filed before the tribunal. Olatigbe submitted that Ribadu assumed the chairmanship of EFCC in 2003 and that up till the time he left office, he did not declare his assets.

He also argued that Ribadu should have declared his assets during his tenure as EFCC chairman because he was never dismissed from that office but rather completed his term. Justice Momoh consequently adjourned the matter till April 30 for ruling on Ribadu‘s notice of preliminary objection.

from The punch