By Kayode Adeoti
The trial of Senate President, Bukola Saraki at the Code of Conduct Tribunal has suffered another setback as the number 3 man in Nigeria caused the CCT to adjourn the case.
Saraki, clad in white babariga and surrounded by his team of legal counsel was accompanied to the tribunal by lawmakers.
His lead counsel, Kanu Agabi, (SAN) was absent as proceedings began. While Paul Usoro, one of his lawyers requested the court to further adjourn the case, insisting that request for adjournment is different from the issues under section 30 of the ACT Act.
Earlier, the Tribunal had reminded Usoro that Stay of Proceedings has been taken care of by section 306 of the constitution and the Supreme Court Judgment of 1993.
Usoro further reminded the CCT that it had once granted a stay of proceedings in a trial on the ground of appeal.
But lead counsel to the prosecutor, Rotimi Jacobs opposed the application for adjournment by Dr. Saraki. According to him, the CCT had fixed the date of the trial since March 24, wondering why Saraki would wake up yesterday to file an appeal.
Jacobs stated that Saraki muddled up the process of appeal to achieve an adjournment. ”I am in doubt if Bukola Saraki’s appeal has been entered. Records for appeal were not complied with, according to the rules”. Jacobs maintained.
”The copy of the notice of Appeal served on me has no hearing date of April 26”, stated Jacobs.
Corroborating his points that there is no difference between Bukola Saraki’s request for adjournment and stay of proceedings, Jacobs said ”until there is another order of the Supreme Court, staying the proceedings; Bukola Saraki’s trial must continue”.
”Motion for stay of proceedings cannot overrule or overreach the Supreme Court decision on Bukola Saraki’s trial. It will be judicial impertinence and rascality not to honour Supreme Court decision asking Bukola Saraki’s trial to continue”, Jacobs stated.
“Under section 396 of ACJ Act, parties are only entitled to 5 adjournments throughout the trial but Saraki has got more than 6 adjournments.” Justice Umar had at Chief Agabi’s request fixed 5th and 6th April, 2016 for proper hearing to enable parties prepare adequately.
Justice Umar had at Agabi’s request fixed 5th and 6th April, 2016 for proper hearing to enable parties prepare adequately.
But after much deliberation by the tribunal, the case was however adjourned till 18th of April.
Meanwhile, some members of All Progressives Congress (APC) senators, has urged the leadership of the party to ensure that the ongoing trial of the Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki at the CCT is stopped, describing it as political.
They submitted that the Presidency is not supposed to be finding things difficult with the Senators adding that since they belong to the same party.
They also argued that the president should look for ways of enforcing a stay on the case adding that it is a crisis of the party which should be solved internally.