The Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) on Friday issued a bench warrant for the arrest of Senate President, Bukola Saraki for failing to appear before it to answer charges of official misconduct.
The Street Journal recalls that the Tribunal had summoned Saraki to appear before it following the charges filed against him by the Code of Conduct Bureau, but he obtained a Federal High Court ex-parte order restraining the tribunal from going ahead with his trial.
At Friday’s sitting of the Tribunal slated for the opening of the trial of the Senate President over allegations of corruption and false declaration of assets dating back to when Saraki was Kwara State Governor, Saraki was absent when the case was called.
Justice Danladi Umar, the chairman of the tribunal, ordered the Inspector-General of Police, Mr Solomon Arase, to arrest Saraki and present him before the tribunal on Monday, Sept. 21.
Delivering a Bench ruling in the circumstance, Justice Umar held that, having received the tribunal’s summons, the senate president had no reason not to appear before the tribunal to take his plea.
He said: “The absence of an Attorney-General of the Federation does not stop the Solicitor-General or any other official of the Justice Ministry from prosecuting cases involving government officials.
“Also, the defendant, being a high ranking government official has no reason not to appear in this tribunal, having been duly served with a summons and there is proof of service.’’
Earlier, Mr Muslim Hassan, the prosecution counsel, had prayed the tribunal to issue a bench warrant for Saraki’s arrest following his failure to appear before the tribunal.
Hassan argued that the Federal High Court which granted the ex-parte order restraining the tribunal from arraigning Saraki has coordinate jurisdiction with the tribunal and lacked the power to do so.
However, Saraki’s lead counsel, Mr Joseph Daudu, SAN, had prayed the tribunal to disregard Hassan’s application for a bench warrant, and urged it to adjourn the case until Monday’s hearing of the Federal High Court summons.
It would also be recalled that Justice Ahmed Mohammed of the Federal High Court, Abuja, had in the ex-parte order summoned the Tribunal, Bureau and prosecution counsel to appear before the court on Monday to show cause why Saraki’s ex-parte application should not be granted.