By Vivian Okejeme, Abuja
The Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) yesterday hinted, it may vacate the temporary order it made asking Azuka Azinge, to step aside as the acting Registrar-General of the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), pending the determination of her trial.
This was made known yesterday, by a member of the three member-panel of the CCT, Julie Anabor, in reaction to a complaint made by Mrs Azinge’s lawyer, Abiodun Owonikoko.
Owonikoko informed the tribunal that he is not aware of the ex parte application, filed by the prosecution, which birthed the order.
“The order that was given by this tribunal is an interim order and not perpetual. All the counter and better affidavit put together would be looked into and the interim order can be vacated”, Mrs Anabor said.
Mrs Azinge, is facing an 11-count charges bordering on the breach of the code of conduct for public officers, brought against her by the federal government.
Mrs Azinge was arraigned before the tribunal on December 23, on an 11-count charge marked:
In a charge sheet marked, CCT/ABJ/03/2019, the prosecution alleged that the defendant concealed her naira, euro and dollar domiciliary accounts in Access Bank Plc and Standard Chartered Bank.
Also, the case filed on December 23, alleged Azinge received allowances she was not entitled to as an acting Registrar-General of the CAC.
She pleaded not guilty when the charges were read to her on December 23.
The tribunal then fixed January 29, 2020, for the commencement of her trial.
However, the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB), before the next adjourned date, approached the court for an ex-parte order.
The tribunal on December 24, heard and granted the prosecution’s ex-parte request.
An ex-parte order is one granted a requesting party in the absence of the other party to the suit. In this case, Mrs Azinge’s counsel was not notified or represented when the order was granted.
The three-member panel of the tribunal led by, Danladi Umar, had on December 24, made the order for the suspension of Mrs Azinge, following an ex parte application brought by the prosecution lawyer, Musa Ibrahim.
The tribunal directed the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment to execute the order of suspension to subsist, pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice dated and filed on December 17.
Mr Umar said Mrs Azinge is to remain on suspension pending the conclusion of her trial.
At the resumed hearing of the matter on Monday, the defendant lawyer informed the tribunal that they did not receive any process ordering them to appear before it today as they were aware that the matter was adjourned to January 29.
Mr Owonikoko said the notification for today sitting and the ex-parte order made by the CCT was gotten from various media platform.
He noted that he was served with the motion on notice on Monday, at the tribunal.
Mrs Azinge’s lawyer asked the tribunal for an adjournment to enable the defendant to react to the processes.
The tribunal chairman granted the request and adjourned to January 29, for the hearing of the motion on notice.