CCT adjourns to hear Kano’s anti-corruption boss motion challenging charge against him
The Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) sitting in Abuja, on Thursday, fixed Jan. 10, 2024, for hearing a motion filed by Muhuyi Magaji Rimingado, Chairman, Kano State Public Complaints and Anti-Corruption Commission (PCACC), challenging the competence of the Federal Government to prosecute him.
The motion on notice, filed by Muhuyi’s counsel, Adeola Adedipe, before Justice Danladi Umar-led CCT, sought two orders.
The application was dated Nov. 14 and filed Nov. 16 against the charge number: CCT/KN/01/2023.
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 this honorable tribunal or any other court in Nigeria.
The lawyer argued that except and unless there was compliance with the orders made by Justice Farouk Lawan Adamu of the High Court of Kano State on Aug. 28 in a 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 charges, are unlawfully preferred by the complainant in disregard of the orders made on Aug. 28 by Justice Adamu.
Adeola, who gave seven grounds why the charge should be set aside, said the motion challenged the competence of the prosecution.
He said there was a subsisting order of court by Justice Adamu, restraining the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) and all its proxies, from taking actions relating to investigating and or prosecuting Magaji, pending the determination of the case in suit number: K/M1128/2023.
He said the said case was still ongoing and the referenced order had neither been appealed or vacated.
He said going ahead with the charge would amount to open confrontation by the complainant against the judiciary.
The lawyer stated that the prosecution suppressed these facts from the tribunal.
When the matter was called on Thursday, prosecuting lawyer, Musa Usman, told the tribunal that the case was slated for arraignment and he was ready to proceed.
But Adedipe notified the court that he was just coming into the matter afresh and a notice of change of counsel had been filed and served on the prosecution earlier in the morning due to the strike by the Nigeria Labour Congress.
Usman acknowledged the receipt of the application.
Adedipe, therefore, argued that in the course of filing, he discovered a fundamental issue that might not allow the prosecution to proceed on the trial, citing the Kano court order.
He argued that the peculiarity of the application affected the competence of the prosecuting counsel and or the complainant to proceed in the conduct of further proceedings in the case.
He urged the court to suspend Muhuyi Magaji’s arraignment so that their motion would not be overtaken by event.
But Usman disagreed with Adedipe, insisting that the matter was listed for plea.
The prosecution cited a case involving Destra Investment Ltd Vs. FRN and Section 396(2) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA) to back his argument.
Adedipe faulted the authority and the section Usman cited, saying they deal with issues of preliminary objection.
According to him, we are not challenging the jurisdiction of the court or talking about the competence of the court
“We are challenging the competence of the prosecution to prosecute this case,” he said.
The panel, in a ruling, directed Magaji’s arraignment.
Magaji was, however, arraigned on a 10-count charge bordering on alleged conflict of interest, false declaration of assets, among others.
He pleaded not guilty to all the counts and was granted a bail on liberal terms.
Ruling on the bail application, a member of the panel, Justice Julie Anabor, admitted him 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 affidavit of means verified by the chief registrar of the court.
Meanwhile, while the tribunal was about to take the defence motion on notice, Usman notified that since he was just being served with the.application, he would need to respond.
Justice Umar, consequently, adjourned the matter until Jan. 10 for hearing of all pending applications.