Embattled Kano anti-graft agency boss appeals against CCT ruling

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By Taiye Agbaje

Mr Muhuyi Magaji, the Chairman, Kano State Public Complaints and Anti-Corruption Commission (PCACC), who was suspended by the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT), on Friday, appealed against the ruling.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the three-member tribunal, headed by Justice Danladi Umar, had, on Thursday in Abuja, ordered Magaji’s suspension following allegations of misconduct preferred against him by the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB).

Delivering the ruling, Justice Umar, who dismissed Magaji’s motion, held that the tribunal had the competence and jurisdiction to hear the case.

He directed Gov. Abba Yusuf of Kano State and the Secretary to the State Government (SSG) to appoint the most appropriate officer to take over as acting chairman of the commission, pending the hearing and determination of the case.

He held that Magaji could not continue to discharge the duties and responsibilities of his office, while facing trial, to avoid any interference with the case.

Dissatisfied with the ruling, Magaji, through his counsel, Mr Adeola Adedipe, SAN, approached the Court of Appeal, Abuja.

In the notice of appeal dated and filed April 5, by Adedipe, the senior lawyer gave five grounds why the appeal should be allowed and the CCT’s ruling be set aside by the appellate court.

He argued that the CCT erred in law, when it denied his client a right to fair trial, fair hearing and right to be presumed innocent, by making an order directing him to step aside as the chairman of PCACC, thereby determining his guilt, at an interlocutory stage.

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He described the ruling as “a miscarriage of justice.”

He also argued that the tribunal erred in law, when without the requisite jurisdiction, it granted the reliefs sought by CCB, giving specific orders to Gov. Yusuf and SSG, “knowing fully well that they are not parties to the present charge as constituted; it thereby occasioned a miscarriage of justice.”

He further said that the tribunal erred in law when it adjudged Magaji as capable of interfering with CCB’s witnesses in PCACC, even though no material evidence was put forward to support such a speculative claim.

The lawyer argued that the tribunal erred in law when it acted without jurisdiction and denied the embattled PCACC boss of a right to fair trial by making far-reaching findings which were speculative and prejudicial in nature.

Moreover, Adedipe submitted that CCT erred in law, acted without jurisdiction and denied Magaji a right to fair hearing, when suo motu, it raised and determined issues of purported contradictions his counter affidavit, and further insisted he conceded to the speculative facts in CCB’s further and better affidavit.

Adedipe, in a motion on notice with charge number: CCT/KN/01/2023 dated and filed on April 5 before the tribunal, also sought an order for stay of execution of the order delivered on April 4 pending the determination of the appeal lodged at the Appeal Court.

Besides, he also sought an order of injunction restraining the CCB from executing, implementing the orders and decisions made by the tribunal, pending the hearing and determination of the appeal.

NAN reports that the CCB had, on Nov. 16, 2023, arraigned Magaji before the CCT on a 10-count charge bordering on alleged conflict of interest, false declaration of assets, among others.

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Magaji, however, pleaded not guilty to all the counts and was admitted to bail in the sum of N5 million with two sureties.

But Magaji had, in a motion filed by Adedipe, challenged the competence of the CCB to prosecute him.

Adedipe, who gave two prayers, predicated the argument on six grounds.

The senior lawyer argued that a High Court of Kano State presided over by Justice Farouk Adamu had, on Aug. 28, 2023, restrained the CCB from interfering in the affairs or taking any step in connection with the functions, duties and affairs of his client until the matter is dispensed with.

He restated that in the Kano matter, CCB was the 2nd defendant and that the court directed parties to maintain status.

He said the prosecution undermined the order by preferring the instant charge against Magaji.

He argued that filing the charge against Magaji in the face of Exhibit B presented before the tribunal was a recourse to self help.

He, then, prayed 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 three days for a party to respond to any process served on them.

Adedipe stated that the prosecution was served with their motion for more than 30 days before they responded.

He urged the tribunal to stop the CCB from proceeding with the charge.(NAN)(www.nanews.ng)

Edited by Sadiya Hamza

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