Lagos lawyer, Femi Falana (SAN), has urged Senate President Bukola Saraki to stop attending the sittings of the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) with other senators.
The frontline lawyer noted that it was illegal and unlawful for the Senate President to suspend Senate’s sittings whenever his case was to be heard at the CCT.
Besides questioning the political will of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration to fight corruption and impunity in the country, Falana said the action of the Senate and its President was an assault on the nation’s collective morality.
In an address, titled: As Corruption Fights Back, delivered on Monday at the investiture of Mr. Dare Oseni as the 2015/2016 President of the International Association of Lions Club, Lagos Isolo Lions Club, at Samkoll Graden, Idimu, Lagos, Falana noted that Saraki violated Paragraph 1 of the Code of Conduct for Public Officers.
The paragraph states that ”a public officer shall not put himself in a position where his personal interest conflicts with his duties and responsibilities”.
He said: “If this morally despicable behaviour is not halted, the distinguished senators may soon resolve to appear in the various courts in the country in solidarity with other members who are facing terrorism and corruption charges.
“As the Senate President, Dr Bukola is required to preside over the affairs of the legislative house in the discharge of its constitutional duty of making laws for the country. Attendance at court sittings in solidarity with any criminal suspect is certainly not part of the constitutional responsibilities of the senate.”
The frontline lawyer averred that it was wrong to allow public servants facing corruption allegations to remain in office in the course of the trial.
He said the proper thing was for such officers to step aside, pending when they would be cleared of such allegations.
According to him, paragraphs 303, 404 of the Federal Government Public Service Rules (Corrected Version 2008) stipulates that when a public officer is charged to court with a criminal offence he/she shall be interdicted and cease to report for duty until the determination of the case.
Falana noted that this contradicted what he called the misleading impression by some lawyers that public officers accused of corruption could not be asked to step aside.
He said: “During the period of interdiction the public officer concerned shall be entitled to 50 per cent of his/her entitlements provided that if he/she is discharged or acquitted, the officer shall be immediately reinstated and receive his/her full entitlements which have been denied him/her during the period of interdiction.”