Vox Pop

Alleged False Asset Declaration: Saraki Goes to Supreme Court

Senate President, Bukola Saraki has approached the Supreme Court, seeking to stop the proceeding of the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT).

Saraki is specifically asking the Supreme Court to set aside the judgment of the Abuja Division of the Court of Appeal which had on October 30, 2015 upheld the criminal charge made against him.

The Senate President prayed the Supreme Court to arrest further proceeding on the allegation against him pending the determination of the appeal.

Saraki, in the appeal initiated through his lawyer, J.B. Daudu (SAN), specifically want the apex court to issue, “An order staying further proceedings in Charge No: CCT/ABJ/01/2015 between Federal Republic of Nigeria vs Dr Olubukola Abubakar Saraki fixed for hearing on November 5 and 6, 2015 pending the determination of the appeal pending before the Supreme Court against the judgment of the Court of Appeal dated October 30, 2015.”

The Senate President wants the Supreme Court to set aside the judgment of the Court of Appeal, the entire proceedings of the CCT and the charges made against him before the tribunal by the Federal Government (FG).

He insisted that the appellate court panel, presided over by Justice Moore Adumein, erred in law when it affirmed the competence of the proceedings of the CCT, which sat on the appellant’s case with only two members as against the three provided for in the provisions of Paragraph 15(1) of the Fifth Schedule to the 1999 Constitution.

Saraki further condemned the majority decision of the appellate court where it held that there was lacuna regarding the quorum of the tribunal.

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The Senate President noted that, “The application of the Interpretation Act to hold that two out of three members of the tribunal could validly sit is to circumvent and reduce the number prescribed by the constitution for the due composition of the CCT.”

He also faulted the majority decision of the appeal court where it held that the CCT was a court of limited criminal jurisdiction and that the charges were validly initiated by a Deputy Director in the Federal Ministry of Justice, Mr. M.S. Hassan, in the absence of a substantive Attorney-General of the Federation.

The Senate President also questioned the decision of the appellate court which held that Saraki had been properly served with the charges, at a time when his legal team only filed a motion for conditional appearance before bench warrant was issued against him by the CCT.

Saraki also insisted that the Court of Appeal was wrong in law for failing to hold that the tribunal violated the order of the Federal High Court in Abuja, which ordered the tribunal to appear before the court to show cause why its proceedings against Saraki should not be halted.

The Senate President said, “The Appeal Court erred in law when it held that the Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015 was applicable to the proceeding of the tribunal.”

It would be recalled that the appellate court had in two-to-one split decision, dismissed Saraki’s appeal against the ruling of the Justice Umar Danladi-led tribunal.

Specifically, the duo of Justices Adumein and Mohammed Mustapha dismissed Saraki’s appeal and ordered him to submit himself to the CCT for trial on Friday, another member of the panel, Justice Joseph Ekanem, declared that the 13-count charge was incompetent, just as he discharged Saraki.

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