The House of Representatives has moved to insulate judicial officers from being prosecuted by the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB), until such are lawfully removed from office, as a bill seeking amendment to the act establishing the bureau, and the CCT scaled second reading Wednesday.
Explaining the general principles of the bill, its sponsor, Hon. Solomon Bob, said it seeks to amend sections 20 and 24 of the Principal Act.
“The amendment is intended to protect Judicial Officers from arbitrary prosecution and removal from office”, he added.
He said Section 20 of the Principal Act, which creates the CCT is proposed to be amended by adding the words which shall be superior court of record with exclusive jurisdiction to try offences under this act. Section 24 is amended by addition of two subsections numbered subsection 5 & 6 to the existing subsections.
“The additional subsections sought to be added by this amendment reads thus: (5) Nothing in this act shall permit the commencement of any action against a judicial officer before the tribunal unless such judicial officer has been validly removed from office under section 292(1) of the Constitution.
“(6)Any action seeking to prosecute any judicial officer in contravention of sub-section (5) of this section shall not be entertained by the Tribunal”, he stated.
Further justifying the proposed alteration, the lawmaker argued that “It is axiomatic that in a presidential democracy such as we profess to practice, the three arms of government are distinct and independent of one another, each with its powers constitutionally determined. Under our constitution, their powers are created by sections 4, 5, & 6 for the legislature, executive and judiciary respectively.