Lagos lawyer, Femi Falana (SAN), has criticized the continuing staying of President of the Senate, Dr. Bukola Saraki in office while facing trial at the Code of Conduct Tribunal over allegations of false declaration of assets.
He urged the senate president to step aside, adding, “It is wrong to allow public servants facing corruption allegations to remain in office in the course of the trial. The proper thing is for such officers to step aside, pending when they would be cleared of such allegations.’
Falana said this a lecture 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,
He cited paragraphs 303, 404 of the Federal Government Public Service Rules (Corrected Version 2008) which 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.
“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,” he said.
Falana also condemned a situation in which the Senate President Bukola Saraki appeared at Code of Conduct Tribunal with entourage of other senators.
He urged Saraki to stop attending the sittings of the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) with other senators.
According to him, it is illegal and unlawful for the Senate President to suspend Senate’s sittings whenever his case was to be heard at the CCT.
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”.
“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,” Falana said.
“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.”