The Chairman of the Code of Conduct Tribunal, Danladi Umar, revealed on Tuesday that there were attempts to influence the tribunal to rule in a particular way during the trial of a former Governor of Lagos State, and the National Leader of the All Progressives Congress, Bola Tinubu.
Tinubu, a leader of the then opposition to the Peoples Democratic Party-led Federal Government, was charged before the CCT and discharged in 2011 during the administration of the former President Goodluck Jonathan.
Umar said at the opening of the trial of the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki on charges of false and anticipatory asset declaration, among others, on Tuesday, that despite the pressure mounted on the panel members, the tribunal ruled on what was put before it.
The CCT chairman said this while allaying the fears of Saraki and his lawyers that the tribunal was being controlled by external influence.
He assured the defence of the determination of the tribunal to do justice in the case as he and his co-panel member would give account to God.
He alluded to Tinubu’s case, saying that despite the pressure mounted on the tribunal ruled in favour of the former Lagos State Governor.
He said, “During the trial of Bola Tinubu we were under influence. But you saw what happened.
“We did what we needed to do based on what was before us.”
He urged the lawyers on both sides of Saraki’s trial to conduct themselves in a manner that would enhance speedy determination of the case.
“The bench is begging the bar that we must make progress in this matter,” Umar said.
In response, Saraki’s lawyer, Chief Kanu Agabi (SAN), said the CCT chairman had allayed the defence’s fear of prejudice.
Agabi said, “Nothing more a lawyer fears more than prejudice.
When a judge of calibre says you fear God, we thank you for it.”
The co-member on the tribunal’s panel, William Atedze, also debunked a newspaper publication accusing him of not contributing to the decisions and proceedings of the tribunal.
“I believe the article must have been written by a layman. A lawyer would not have written that nonsense.
“Are we supposed to be fighting on the bench? The bench is not a motor park. If there are differences we resolve it in chamber.”