Senate crisis: NASS Clerk faces trial as Police establish forgery
*File sent to Ministry of Justice
*Buhari angry over how Clerk gate crashed into Ramadan dinner
*Ekweremadu’s fate unknown
The Police appear to have established a case of forgery of the Senate Standing Orders 2015 which paved the way for the June 9, 2015 emergence of Dr. Bukola Saraki as Senate President and Chief Ike Ekweremadu as Deputy Senate President.
There were indications yesterday that the police might charge the Clerk to the National Assembly, Alhaji Salisu Maikasuwa to court for the alleged forgery of the Standing Orders.
Maikasuwa may be arraigned with some staff of the National Assembly suspected of having played one role or the other in the drafting of the rules.
But the fate of Ekweremadu who was one of those quizzed by the Police in the course of their investigation into the matter was unknown last night.
Police sources declined to discuss his fate.
Already, the case file has been sent to the Federal Ministry of Justice for advice and prosecution.
Besides the Standing Orders matter, the Clerk is also said to be facing a fresh crisis on how he was selected to be part of a Ramadan dinner (Iftar) with President Muhammadu Buhari while under investigation by the Police.
The Presidency is investigating alleged breach of protocol by the Clerk by attending the breaking of fast with the President.
Investigation in Abuja showed that the Police, acting on a petition by six Senators, believed that the Senate Standing Orders 2015 was forged.
According to findings, the Police team, led by Deputy Inspector-General Danazumi Job Doma, discovered many anomalies in the said Senate Standing Orders.
The Police findings include the followings:
*The Senate Standing Orders 2007(as amended) was still in force when the 7th Senate wound up.
*There was no time the 7th Senate amended the Standing Orders or any subsisting motion as shown in the Senate Standing Orders 2015
* The Senate Standing Orders 2015 was strange and a violation of Paragraph 110 of the Senate Standing Orders 2007(as amended)
*All the principal officers of the 7th Senate interviewed admitted that the Senate Standing Orders 2007(as amended) was not reviewed before their tenure ended.
* A clear case of forgery, manipulation, and tampering has been established.
* Those connected with the forgery should be immediately prosecuted.
A top police source said: “We have concluded our investigation and recommended the Clerk to the National Assembly and a few others for trial.
“The Clerk presided over the election of some Principal Officers of the Senate on June 9 with a forged Standing Orders 2015 when he ought to know better.
“As I am talking to you, we have sent the investigation file to the Federal Ministry of Justice for Legal Advice and prosecution.”
The police source said the Senate Standing Orders 2015 was not in compliance with Paragraph 110 (1) of the Senate Standing Orders 2007 (as amended).
The source added: “The National Assembly management claimed that it has the prerogative to set the rules for the election of a new set of Principal Officers since the 8th Senate was yet to be inaugurated.
“They said since nature abhors vacuum, they did nothing wrong with the Senate Standing Orders 2015.
“But when we asked them why they refused to use Senate Standing Orders 2007as the case with the 8th Senate, they were not too convincing.”
Paragraph 110(1) of the Senate Standing Orders 2007 (as amended) says: ” Any Senator desiring to amend any part of the Rules or adding any new clause shall give notice of such amendments in writing to the President of the Senate giving details of the proposed amendments.
“The President of the Senate shall within seven working days of the receipt of the notice, cause the amendments to be printed and circulated to members. Thereafter, it shall be printed in the Order Paper of the Senate.
“The Mover or Movers of the amendments shall be allowed to explain in detail the proposed amendments. Thereafter, the Senate shall decide by simple majority votes whether the amendments should be considered or rejected.
“If the decision is to consider the amendments, then another date shall be set aside by the Rules and Business Committee whereby opportunity would be given to Senators to further propose amendments but must strictly be confined to the original amendments. “Two-third majority shall decide the amendments and such amendments shall form part of the Rules of the Senate.”
Meanwhile, the Clerk to the National Assembly might be in fresh trouble over how he was included in the list of those who broke Ramadan fast with President Buhari while still being investigated by the police.
A breach of protocol was being probed as at press time.
But the President made the Clerk to know that he was an unwanted guest at the Villa when he was introduced at the end of the dinner.
A source said: “When he was introduced to Buhari for a handshake after the dinner, the President said: ‘You, how did you get here? If I knew I would not have allowed you to enter this place.’ I think some protocol officers committed a slip.
“We did not know how he got onto the list of the guests of the President. This is why the President is very strict with his schedule and aides.”