The Code of Conduct Tribunal, CCT, has clarified that Justice Danladi Umar remains its chairman in the prosecution of public officers who contravene asset declaration laws in the country as mandated by the federal government and the country’s constitution.
The Head of Press and Public Relations of the tribunal, Ibraheem Alhassan made the clarification following rumours of his (Mr Umar) suspension.
Speaking with PRNigeria in Abuja, the spokesman said Mr Umar had vowed to commence trial of public officers in Bauchi and Kwara states who violated various provisions of the Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act.
According to him, the chairman has fixed June 20 and 21for the trial.
The spokesman pointed out that the defaulters to be arraigned for prosecution by Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) are mostly political appointees and civil servants.
He urged the general public to disregard the insinuations concerning the status of Justice Umar in the Tribunal adding that contrary to the social media report, the position of Chairman and members of CCT are guaranteed by the Constitution.
Meanwhile, an Abuja based lawyer, Yunus Abdulsalam, offered some clarifications bordering the alleged suspension of the CCT chairman.
The lawyer said that based on Section 15(1) of the Fifth Schedule, of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, CCT chairman cannot be removed or suspended except if he or she is found guilty of grave offences.
He said. “The Chairman’s tenure of office ends when attaining the age of 70 and the Chairman cannot be removed by the President except upon an address supported by two-thirds majority of each House of the National Assembly which means the Senate and House of Representatives praying that he be so removed for inability to discharge the functions of the office.
“In fact Section 17 is very clear on this when it stated that: ‘A person holding the office of Chairman or member of the Code of Conduct Tribunal shall vacate his office when he attains the age of seventy years.
“A person who has held office as Chairman or member of the Code of Conduct Tribunal for a period of not less than ten years shall, if he retires at the age of seventy years, be entitled to pension for life at a rate equivalent to his last annual salary in addition to other retirement benefits to which he may be entitled.
“A person holding the office of Chairman or member of the Code of Conduct Tribunal shall not be removed from office before retiring age except in accordance with the provisions of this Code.
“According to section 18, where the Code of Conduct Tribunal finds a public officer guilty of contravening any of the provisions of the Code of conduct for public officers, such public officer may be directed to vacate the office or seat in any legislative house as the case may be, or, be disqualified from membership of a legislative house and from holding any public office for a period of 10 years or seizure and forfeiture to the State of any property acquired in abuse or corruption of office.
“The penalties are without prejudice to any penalty that may be given by a Court if the offence is of a criminal nature.
“Being a code of conduct for Nigerian public officers, according to the Constitution, the tribunal has jurisdiction over Public Officers at all tiers and arms of government,” the lawyer clarified.