The Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions of the Senate has suspended the investigation of the alleged assault on a security man, Clement Sargwak, by Chairman of the Code of Conduct Tribunal, Danladi Umar.
The committee had sat for the continued hearing on the matter in Abuja on Tuesday, when the Chairman, Senator Ayo Akinyelure, ruled that the exercise be suspended indefinitely based on the legal action taken by Umar.
The Senate, President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan; the committee and the Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami (SAN), were joined in the suit.
Lawyer to the petitioner, Timzing Venyir Ramnap, however, protested against the decision by the committee.
Ramnap dismissed the originating summons from Federal High Court Abuja, which was forwarded to the committee by counsel for the accused, as mere court processes.
The lawyer said, “The document before this committee, as read out by the chairman, is not an order from any court but a mere court process served on the Senate. Were it to be a valid order from a court of competent jurisdiction, the Senate may back out. But since it is not, the Senate through this committee still has its constitutional powers on the case and can forge ahead with the investigation.”
Akinyelure, however, stated that efforts were being made by somebody to circumvent the probe, which would be challenged in the court.
He added, “This is a clear case of circumventing the constitutional powers of the Senate after submitting himself to us for investigation and begged for time to study the allegations made against him. He appeared at the first sitting, sought a week to study allegations of assault levelled against him. We gave him three weeks for that. Thereafter, at the second and third sessions, he sent representatives, that he could not come due to ill health; only for him to inform us through his lawyers at the fourth sitting two weeks ago that he was already in court.”
Recall that in the suit, Umar challenge Senate’s powers to conduct investigation and the purpose for which it is exercisable.
The CCT chairman, among others, asked the court to interpret the constitutional power granted the Senate or House Committees on Ethics and Public Petitions, and to determine whether it covered public assaults, which his lawyers argued, were part of the functions of the police and the courts.
The petition was brought to the floor by the Senator representing Plateau North, Istifanus Gyang.
Gyang had said, the petitioner, who was also the victim of the attack, Clement Kargwak, wanted the Senate to get justice for him.