Breaking: Saraki Knows Fate March 24 on Jurisdiction of CCT to Trial Him

By March 24, Senate President, Bukola Saraki’s would know whether the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) has jurisdiction to trial him or not following 13 count charge false assets declaration preferred against him by the Tribunal.
After listening to both the prosecution and defence lawyers, Friday, CCT fixed March 24 for ruling on a motion by Saraki, who is seeking to quash the charges of false assets declaration against him.
Saraki’s lawyer, Chief Kanu Agabi (SAN), argued that the Tribunal lacked jurisdiction to entertain the charges.
His argument was based on the grounds that the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice lacked the powers to file charges before the Tribunal.
He also argued that the failure of the Code of Conduct Bureau to invite Saraki to confront him with the breaches in his assets declaration form was fatal to the validity of the charges.
Agabi had earlier announced that he was appearing with 80 other lawyers for the defendant.
However, prosecuting counsel, Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), urged the Tribunal to dismiss the motion, on the ground it was an abuse of court process.
He described the motion as absurd and ridiculous on the basis that Saraki had initially in a similar motion argued up to the Supreme Court level, contended that the charges were incompetent for being filed at a time the office of the AGF was vacant.
The Supreme Court had on Friday, February 5 dismissed the appeal of Saraki, the Senate President to stop his case at the CCT.
Saraki was arraigned on 13 counts of false assets declaration on September 22, 2015.
In the charges instituted by the Federal Government, Saraki was accused of making false assets declaration in his forms submitted to the Code of Conduct Bureau as a two-term Governor of Kwara State between 2003 and 2011.
The Senate President, who was said to have submitted four assets declaration forms investigated by the CCB, was allegedly found to have “corruptly acquired many properties while in office as the Governor of Kwara State but failed to declare some of them in the said forms earlier filled and submitted.”
He also allegedly made an anticipatory declaration of assets upon his assumption of office as governor, which he later acquired.
He was also accused of sending money abroad for the purchase of property in London and that he maintained an account outside Nigeria while serving as a governor.
Saraki initially refused to appear before the Tribunal, prompting the CCT to issue a bench warrant against him.
He voluntarily submitted himself to the Tribunal before the arrest warrant could be executed.
The Tribunal rejected his request for the quashing of the 13 counts shortly after he was arraigned on September 22, 2015.
He appealed to the Court of Appeal, Abuja Division, against the decision of the CCT to continue the trial.
But by a two-to-one split decision of its three-man bench, led by Justice Moore Admein, the Court of Appeal dismissed the Senate President’s appeal.
Saraki, in his further appeal to the Supreme Court, asked the apex court to quash the charges filed against him, citing among his seven grounds of appeal, that the CCT lacked jurisdiction to try him as it was constituted by two instead of three members.
But a seven-man panel of the apex court presided over by the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Mahmud Mohammed, unanimously ruled in its judgment on February 5 that Saraki’s appeal against the jurisdiction of the CCT and the competence of the charges lacked merit.
Justice Walter Onnoghen, who delivered the lead judgment, dismissed all of Saraki’s seven grounds of appeal, affirming that the charges instituted against him were valid and that the Tribunal was validly constituted with requisite jurisdiction to try him.
The Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Mahmud Mohammed, and other members of the full panel of the apex court, comprising Justices Tanko Muhammad, Sylvester Ngwuta, Kudirat Kekere-Ekun, Chima Nweze and Amiru Sanusi, also consented to the judgment.

Author: News Editor

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