Senate President, Senator  Bukola Saraki Docked by Code of Conduct Tribunal in Abuja. Photo by Gbemiga Olamikan
The Code of Conduct Tribunal has chosen next Thursday, March 24th for ruling on a motion challenging the jurisdiction of the Tribunal and the charges filed against Senate President Bukola Saraki.

Saraki is being prosecuted by the federal government on charges that border on false declaration of assets and mismanagement of funds while he served as Kwara State governor between 2003 and 2011.

As proceedings at the Tribunal resumed on Friday, former attorney-general of the federation, Kanu Agabi SAN announced his appearance alongside 79 other lawyers for Saraki’s defence team.

Federal prosecutor, Rotimi Jacobs SAN, who was last week rumored to have been dropped from handling the case, announced his appearance alongside 9 other lawyers, for the federal government as prosecution counsel.

Saraki’s lead defence lawyer, Agabi, thereafter announced he had a motion to make on why the trial should be discontinued. Prosecution counsel, Jacobs objected to the application and urged the Tribunal to only consider the motion after substantive trial and then deliver its ruling on the motion alongside its judgment, relying on provisions of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015.

The presiding judge, Justice Danladi Umar ruled that he would hear the motion before proper trial.

Agabi subsequently made a motion before the Tribunal for the suspension of the trial on two grounds: the CCT’s lack of jurisdiction to hear the matter, and the invalidity of the charges against Saraki.

Concerning the charges, Agabi argued that the Code of Conduct Bureau failed to give Saraki a fair hearing with respect to the allegations of falsely declaring his assets, before filing the charges at the Tribunal.

Reacting to the motion, prosecution counsel, Jacobs urged the Tribunal to disregard the motion, arguing that the charges against Saraki border on mismanagement of resources and criminal misconduct for which fair hearing can only be guaranteed through trial.

Justice Umar, having listened to both sides, fixed next Thursday for ruling on the Tribunal’s jurisdiction and the validity of the charges.

A number of senators including Senator Ben Murray-Bruce, were at the Tribunal in solidarity with the senate president.

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