The sudden news that the corruption case hovering over the Chairman of the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT), Justice Danladi Umar, was quashed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) caught Nigerians unaware. The timing of Umar’s vindication was extremely suspicious, especially after news reports showed that the CCT boss was engaged in corrupt practices, with documentary evidence provided on social media platforms.
Many people have refused to be surprised, knowing that the said letter of exoneration issued to Justice Danladi anew is no other document but the old one packaged by his accomplice and ally, the erstwhile EFCC Chairman, Ibrahim Lamorde. However, it remains amazing to see the EFCC, under the ‘saint’ government of President Muhammadu Buhari, become uninterested in prudent investigations like that of Danldadi Umar.
It is becoming justifiable that when one thinks of a ‘corrupt judge’, ones mind should not wander farther than Justice Umar. This is because investigations have revealed that as a former Special Assistant on Legal matters to Governor Nasir El-Rufai, over the past few months, Umar has demonstrated how incapable he is in the interpretation of the statutes and the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. To further demonstrate the level of his incompetency to serve as a judge on one of Nigeria’s most important tribunals, evidence has surfaced that point to Umar using his office as the head of Nigeria’s asset investigation tribunal to milk funds (bribes) from defendants.
To show the level of his alleged complicity in obtaining bribes, the EFCC obtained bank cheques, phone messages, and written statements that pointed to Dan Ladi Umar collecting a down payment of N1.8 million through his personal assistant, Abdullahi Gambo. This payment was said to have been a precursor to a larger agreed-upon settlement of N10 million.
With the renewed anti-corruption fight, Nigerians should not turn a blind eye to such allegations. Although Justice Umar is currently the head of the CCT, there should be a thorough investigation into his activities – especially as it relates to this bribery allegation. For us to look away, in these times of change, would amount to making a man with alleged unclean hands, a referee in a game where clean hands are needed to adjudicate justly, and fairly.
By Ridwan Omooba
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