The Code of Conduct Tribunal has issued notice to resume the trial of Senate President, Bukola Saraki, on March 10, 2015. The spokesperson for the tribunal, Ibrahim Alhassan, on Friday said the body had issued and served notice of hearing on parties to the matter. The office of the Attorney General of the Federation had dragged Saraki before the tribunal, slamming a 13-count charge of false assets declaration, anticipatory declaration of assets and other abuses on him. The prosecutor said the offences violated Nigeria’s Code of Conduct for public officers.
Saraki, who has denied any wrongdoing, had challenged the tribunal’s jurisdiction and constitution up to the Supreme Court which struck out his appeal last Friday. The notice of resumption of trial was, therefore, sequel to the Supreme Court ruling which upheld Saraki’s trial at the Tribunal. The Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, and lead prosecution counsel, Rotimi Jacobs, had asked the Tribunal to issue date for resumption of Saraki’s trial, following the Supreme apex court’s ruling. One of Saraki’s counsels, Ahmed Raji, SAN, said he was not aware that a notice of resumption of trial had been served.
“May be the notice was served at either the chamber of J.B. Daudu or Mahmud,” Mr. Raji said in reference to other defence lawyers. Neither Messrs Daudu nor the lead prosecution lawyer, Rotimi Jacob, could be reached for comments. Saraki was docked by the Code of Conduct Tribunal on a 13-count charge on September 18 for alleged corruption and false declaration of assets. He was specifically accused of deliberately manipulating the asset declaration form he submitted prior to his assumption of his current position as Senate President. He pleaded not guilty to the charges even as he subtly attributed his predicament to his emergence as Senate President against the wishes of his party, the All Progressives Congress.