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EFCC clears Justice Danladi Umar of fraud

*Second clearance for Justice Umar

Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Wednesday affirmed its position that there was no strong evidence of corruption that could provide basis for the prosecution of the Chairman of the Code of Conduct Tribunal, Justice Danladi Umar.

The anti-graft body said the allegations against Mr. Umar were “suspicious” and “insufficient.”

In a letter addressed to the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Babachir Lawal, the EFCC said Mr. Umar was being cleared the second time after its personnel carried out a thorough investigation on the petitions against the tribunal chairman.

The Head of Public Relations of the Code of Conduct Tribunal, Ibraheem Al-hassan, who disclosed the details of the letter in a statement, said the EFCC was responding to the conclusion of a petition against Mr. Umar that he allegedly received a N10 million bribe from one Abdulrashid Owolabi.

Mr. Al-hassan quoted excerpts of the letter from the EFCC as saying, ‘‘We would like to reiterate the Commission’s position in regard to this matter as earlier communicated to you and stated that the allegations levelled against Justice Umar were mere suspicious and consequently insufficient to successfully prosecute the offence.”

Mr. Al-hassan said the letter, with reference number EFCC/P/NHRU/688/V.30/99, and dated 20th April, 2016, was signed by the secretary to the commission, Emmanuel Aremo.

The spokesperson for the EFCC, Wilson Uwujaren, confirmed the letter.

Wednesday’s letter is the second written to federal authorities by the EFCC to clear Mr. Umar.

The first was written on 5th March, 2015 through the office of the former SGF, Pius Anyim.

In that letter, the EFCC said there was no strong case against Mr. Umar but that there was prima facie evidence to prosecute his personal assistant “who could offer no coherent excuse for receiving N1.8 million into his salary account from Taiwo who is an accused person standing trial at the Tribunal.”

Mr. Umar has come under intense scrutiny since the commencement of trial of the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, over alleged false assets declaration, with many accusing him of being equally tainted and calling on him to excuse himself from Dr. Saraki’s case.

Last December, a group, the Anti-Corruption Network (ACN), had also alleged that Mr. Umar used his office to purchase N34.9million exotic vehicles, furniture and other household items without following due process.

The ACN, led by Senator Dino Melaye, an ally of the Senate President, dragged Mr. Umar before the House of Representatives Committee on Public Petitions over the allegations.

Mr. Umar denied the allegations.

In December 2015, the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, said there was no “material fact” to put Mr. Umar on trial.

Mr. Malami said based on the presentation by Mr. Umar, the petition by the Melaye-led ACN and the submission by the EFCC, it would be difficult to initiate prosecution against the CCT Chairman.

“Deriving from the conclusions, it became difficult for any prosecution to be initiated on the basis of facts as they were presented,” the AGF said.

“The position of the Office of the Attorney General of the Federation is that in the absence of further material fact in the allegations, we find it very difficult to prosecute Alhaji Umar in the circumstances against the background of his presentation and further conclusion arrived at by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.”

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