ABUJA (Code of Conduct Tribunal Report)
The Code of Conduct Tribunal has on Tuesday July 7, 2015 struck out a five – count charge against the former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory of Abuja, Jeremiah Timbut Useni (Rtd. General) concerning non-declaration of assets.
According to the report published on Thursday July 9, 2015 by the Publicity Department of the Tribunal which was chaired by Danladi Yakub Umar (Justice) and Agwadza William Atedze (Justice), the tribunal during its sitting in Abuja struck out the five-count charge on the grounds of lack of diligent prosecution. Adding, at the resumption of hearing lately, the lead Prosecuting Counsel – Peter Danladi (Esq) demanded the tribunal to adjourn the case, pending the appointment of the new Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice for his decision on the status of the matter.
In his response, the lead Defence Counsel – Victor O. Odjemu (Esq) opposed the application for indefinite adjournment on the grounds that the case has suffered frivolous delays for the past 15 years. He contended that granting an indefinite adjournment in a case that has already lasted for 15 years would amount to further infringement on his client’s right to determination on the case against him within reasonable time.
He added that though striking out the case would not prevent the prosecutors from re-filing the case whenever they were ready, it would give his client psychological satisfaction that there was no pending charges against him. Victor Odgjemu objected to the application, saying he would rather pray the court to strike out the matter.
“This matter has lasted for 15 years in this honourable tribunal. Striking out the case will make the accused person’s mind to be at rest as there will be no pending charge against him,” he said.
In his ruling, the Judge explained that the prosecution’s request for an adjournment was unacceptable and struck the matter out, indicating that whenever the prosecution is ready to proceed, they could come up.