Ex-customs controller, Rasheed Taiwo alleges bias in trial, urges CCT chairman to disqualify self

A former Area Controller, Apapa Area Command of Nigerian Custom Service, retired Comptroller Rasheed Taiwo Owolabi, has asked the Chairman, Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) Danladi Umar, to disqualify himself from his trial, alleging the likelihood of bias against him.

Owolabi is standing trial on a one-count charge of failure to declare his assets throughout his career in the public service, contrary to paragraph II (1) of the Fifth Schedule, Part 1 and punishable under Paragraph 18 (1) and (2) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999.

The ex-Customs comptroller claimed that Umar had in 2012, shortly after the charge was slammed on him, approached him for a bribe of N10 million to pervert the cause of justice in a criminal matter filed against him by the Federal Government.

In his Motion on Notice dated May 25 and argued yesterday by his Counsel, Festus Ukpe, Owolabi claimed that he reported Umar to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) prompting his arrest and interrogation on the alleged bribery request.

Owolabi added that he might never get fair trial and justice from the CCT boss, having implicated him in the bribery allegation, which led to the ongoing trial of his Personal Assistant, Ali Gambo Abdullahi, at the Abuja High Court.

At the resumed hearing, Owolabi through his counsel asked the court to strike out the charge for want of diligent prosecution and for the likelihood of bias against him.

But Counsel to CCB, Peter Danladi, told the tribunal that the motion was a ploy to further delay the trial, adding that the tribunal had in 2013, filed a motion at the court of appeal but abandoned the appeal.

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