Foreign account: Tinubu knows fate Nov 30

THE Code of Conduct Tribunal will determine on November 30 whether former governor of Lagos State, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, has a case to answer or not on the operation of foreign account while in office.

The Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) had, on September 21, brought a new three-count amended charge against the former governor, a situation which stalled his trial that day, leading the tribunal adjourning till Wednesday (yesterday).

At the resumed hearing on Wednesday, counsel for Tinubu, Chief Wole Olanipekun SAN, who led a host of Senior Advocates of Nigeria, brought an application praying the court to quash the three-count amended charge against Tinubu.

He also challenged the jurisdiction of the tribunal, saying that it did not have any power under the law to try any matter that did not follow a condition precedent.

Olanipekun argued that the CCB did not have any coercive power but rather a persuasive one, adding that the bureau had not at any time invited the applicant on the issue he was being accused of.

He added that the applicant was not served with any summons but he volunteered to be in court.

He also argued that the present application constituted an abuse of court process as an application was still pending at the Court of Appeal.

He further stated that the charge preferred against the applicant was omnibus and it did not disclose any prima facie case against him, urging the tribunal to dismiss the application intoto.

The prosecuting counsel, Alex Izinyon SAN, opposed the application, arguing that the CCB had discretion on who to invite and not to invite.

He added that Tinubu had been invited on several occasions by the bureau and he had not at any time honoured the invitation.

Izinyon said that the charge brought against the applicant showed a prima facie case and that the proof of evidence would be brought when the trial started fully, adding that it was too premature to say that the charge was defective.

He, therefore, urged the court to dismiss the application for lacking in merit.

Earlier, a hot argument had ensued on whether Tinubu should be docked or not.

As soon as the tribunal’s clerk mentioned the case and Tinubu indicated his presence, the chairman of the tribunal, Umar Danladi, ordered him to enter the dock but his counsel, Olanipekun, objected saying that the applicant was objecting to the charge preferred against him and that he had not taken any plea and therefore could not be docked.

He added that there was no arraignment yet until the tribunal overruled the objection brought by him, adding that the indication was that the defendant could not be docked.

Olanipekun further argued that the defendant did not even need to be in the court once his counsel was around stating that he was in court out of respect for the court.

Opposing the objection, Izinyon asked whether an accused person in court and not in the dock could be said to be in court or not?

He argued that the accused will not need to be docked if he had taken his plea and later challenged the authority of the court, adding that in the instant situation where arraignment had not taken place, he could be docked.

The tribunal ruled in favour of the accused by leaving him to sit in the gallery, adding that the issue of jurisdiction should be argued without putting him in the dock.

The tribunal later adjourned till November 30 for ruling on the objection.

SOURCE: Nigerian Tribune

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