Code of Conduct Tribunal has discharged and acquitted Mr. M. A. Maishanu, a Special Assistant to former Governor of Kano State, Ibrahim Shekarau, from a charged slammed against him by the Code of Conduct Bureau in 2013.
While delivering its judgment in Abuja, the two man panel, chaired by Danladi Yakubu Umar, unanimously held that ‘‘in view of reasons highlighted, supra reasonable doubt has been cast over the case of the prosecution, which has to be resolved in favour of the accused person.”
‘‘In conclusion, the Tribunal finds the accused person not guilty of the charge of failure to submit written declarations of his asset to the Code of Conduct Bureau.’’ And the case was, accordingly, dismissed and acquitted.
However, the Tribunal further adduced its reasons of the decision that the testimonies of principal witnesses 1 and 2 in this matter, fall short of the burden required to sway the Tribunal to enter a conviction. He added that the nature of trials before the Tribunal was effectively settled by Supreme Court in the case of Dr. Olubukola Abubakar Saraki vs FRN S.C 852/2015, where in the lead judgment, delivered by Walter Samuel Nkanu Onnoghen, JSC, he held inter alia that ‘‘…from the totality of the provisions, it is in my view clear that the intention of the Legislature is to make the proceedings of the Tribunal Criminal Proceeding to be regulated by criminal procedure.”
The Chairman consequently stated that the prosecution must not only prove the guilt of the accused, the proof must be reasonable, as stipulated by section 135(1) of the Evidence Act. As such, the burden rests on the prosecution, and does not shift.
He added that there must be no doubt in the mind of any person reading the fact of the case, that the accused is indeed guilty, and where there is doubt or the prosecution’s case is shaky, the accused would be entitled to have the benefit of such doubt resolved in his favour.
He concluded that the Tribunal has carefully examined the exhibits tendered and weighted them against the testimony of the witness, and has come to the firm conclusion that the processes put in place by CCB, from receiving complete asset declaration forms from Public Officers, up to the time acknowledgement slips are issued, need to be strengthened.