A former Lagos State governor, Bola Tinubu, escaped Federal Government’s appeal of his victory at the Code of Conduct Tribunal due to the benevolence of a former Attorney-General of the Federation, Bello Adoke, the latter has claimed.
Mr. Adoke said in an interview with The Cable that he prevailed on the Nigerian government to step down appeal process against Mr. Tinubu, after the tribunal in 2011quashed the APC chieftain’s trial for alleged operation of foreign accounts.
“Even I am told that the Tinubu people think I was the one responsible for his trial at the Code of Conduct Bureau, but I was not the one.
“In fact, when the government wanted to appeal, I stood my ground that Tinubu should not be disgraced.
“I argued that there are people in Nigeria that we just cannot afford to rubbish over anything,” Mr. Adoke said while responding to questions about why the anti-graft EFCC is trying him for his alleged role in the $1.3 billion Malabu scandal.
The ex-justice minister used the interview to deny any wrongdoing, despite his indictment and investigation by Nigerian and Italian authorities.
Mr. Adoke, who was AGF between April 2010 and May 2015, did not say if he made entreaties to relevant authorities before the government slammed a three-count criminal charge against Mr. Tinubu.
The former Lagos governor was tried before the CCT, led by Danladi Umar, on charges that he was running foreign bank accounts while governor, in violation of Section 7 of the Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act.
But on November 30, 2011, Mr. Umar, who chaired a three-member panel that tried the case, dismissed the Nigerian government’s charges, describing them as a “trial by ambush.”
“There is condition precedent before this court that the accused person ought to have been invited by the CCB before this charge was filed, though the prosecuting counsel tendered the initial one-count charge dated March 22, which it eventually replaced with an amended charge dated September 19 but filed on the 20th, as an exhibit before this court, it, however, failed to adduce evidence of invitation it extended to the accused person prior to the charge.
“Consequently, it will be proper for me at this stage to cease further exercise of jurisdiction since the condition precedent was not met before the charge was filed,” Vanguard Newspapers quoted Mr. Umar as saying at the time.
Yet, Mr. Adoke said the Jonathan administration was planning to appeal the verdict at the time, but he intervened to hush up the case, even at the risk of appearing to be working for the opposition.
“Tinubu knows very well that I did that,” Mr. Adoke said. “There was nothing legally possible that Tinubu wanted that I did not do for him, which made people even accuse me of working for the opposition at that time.”
Mr. Adoke’s comments came nearly a year after Mr. Umar said he came under “serious influence” to discard Mr. Tinubu’s case, but said he ultimately did what was in the best interest of the country.
“I want to say that during the case of Bola Tinubu, we were under serious influence so we did what we had to do,” the CCT chairman said, stressing that the tribunal “did what it had to do”.
Mr. Tinubu’s spokesperson, Tunde Rahman, did not immediately respond to PREMIUM TIMES’ requests for comments about Mr. Adoke’s statement Tuesday afternoon.