February 28, 2024

The Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) sitting in Abuja on Wednesday fixed January 12 for ruling on a motion filed by the Chairman of the Kano State Public Complaints and Anti-Corruption Commission (PCACC), Muhuyi Magaji.

The motion challenged the competence of the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) to prosecute him in the charge marked: CCT/KN/01/2023.

The three-member panel of the Tribunal, headed by Justice Danladi Umar, adjourned the matter after Magaji’s counsel, Adeola Adedipe (SAN), and the counsel to the CCB, Musa Usman, presented their arguments and adopted their briefs.

In the motion on notice, Adedipe sought an order prohibiting the complainant from prosecuting the instant charge or any other charge against the defendant, whether by way of arraignment or seeking any form of indulgence before the tribunal or any other court in Nigeria.

The lawyer argued that there must be compliance with the orders made by Justice Farouk Lawan Adamu of the High Court of Kano State on August 28, 2023, in the suit marked K/M1128/2023, between Attorney-General (A-G) Kano State and two others vs. Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) and two others.

According to him, the said orders remain extant and valid for all intents and purposes, having not been set aside by any court.
He also sought an order setting aside the leave granted to prefer the charge and discharging Magaji of all offences contained therein.

He said the charge was unlawfully preferred by the complainant in disregard of the orders made by Justice Adamu.

The CCB had, on November 16, 2023, arraigned Magaji on a 10-count charge bordering on alleged conflict of interest and false declaration of assets, among others.

He, however, pleaded not guilty to all the counts and was admitted to bail in the sum of N5 million with two sureties who must be residing within the jurisdiction of the tribunal and must be deposed to an affidavit of means, verified by the chief registrar of the court.

The tribunal adjourned till Wednesday, January 10, to hear Magaji’s motion, and upon the resumed hearing, Adedipe informed the panel of his motion on notice dated November 16, 2023, against the charge number: CCT/KN/01/2023.

He said the process was served on the prosecution on the same date it was filed, and the complainant filed a counter affidavit on December 28, 2023.

The senior lawyer said a better and further affidavit was filed on Tuesday in response to the counter affidavit.

While moving the motion, Adeola called the attention of the tribunal to the two prayers, which were predicated on six grounds.

He said in the Kano matter, where the CCB was the 2nd defendant, the court granted an interim injunction, “restraining the defendants from interfering in the affairs or taking any step related to or in connection with the functions, duties, and affairs of the defendant, who in that case was the 3rd plaintiff in Exhibit B.”

Adedipe said the prosecution undermined the order, adding that the complainant made an effort to harass the defendant (Magaji), kept inviting him, and interrupted his affairs until they charged him in court.

“That means the status quo antebellum was not complied with, and the matter is still in court.

“We want the court to know that we are not in a lawless society, and the court is the last hope of the common man,” he said.

The lawyer prayed for the panel to strike out all the processes filed by the CCB, including the oral submission, for non-compliance with the mandatory provision of Paragraph 13(2) of the CCT Practice Direction 2017, which gave a party three days to respond to any process served on them.

Justice Umar, who adjourned the matter till January 12 for a ruling, said the decision would determine whether the trial would proceed or not.

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