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Monday, 25 April 2016

Appeal court ends Saraki's bid to stop CCT trial


The Abuja Division of the Court of Appeal, on Monday , struck out a motion the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, filed for an order staying further proceeding on his trial before the Code of Conduct Tribunal, CCT, sitting in Abuja.
A three-man panel of Justices of the discardedappellate court led by Justice Abdul Aboki, the motion after it was withdrawn by Saraki's lead counsel, Chief Kanu Agabi, SAN.
However, Agabi, prayed the court for accelerated hearing of the substantive appeal challenging jurisdiction of the CCT to entertain the 13-count criminal charge the federal government instituted against his client.

Even though Agabi did not adduce any reason why his client decided to withdraw the motion for stay of proceeding, he however apologised to the appellate court panel for the decision.
\'We sincerely apologise to your lordships for taking the action after you have already read through such a voluminous motion. It is unfair to say we are withdrawing. But we have to. We want to withdraw the motion\', Agabi submitted.
The withdrawal application was not opposed by counsel to the federal government, Mr. Rotimi Jacobs, SAN.
Saraki\'s motion that was struck out by the appellate court was filed on April 4.
Meantime, the court is yet to fix a date for hearing of the main appeal.
It will be recalled that the Justice Danladi Umar-led CCT panel had on April 5, declined to suspend further hearing on the criminal case against Saraki pending the outcome of his appeal.
Saraki who was among other things alleged to have falsely declared his assets, had challenged the powers of the Attorney General of the Federation to initiate the charge against him.
In urging the tribunal to hands-off the case, Saraki, insisted that his trial was politically motivated, stressing that he was never accorded fair hearing by the Code of Conduct Bureau, CCB.
He contended that all the allegations against him were brought before the CCT in bad-faith, saying his trial was not in public interest.
Saraki argued that the AGF did not fulfil all the condition precedents capable of conferring jurisdiction on the tribunal to try him.
The embattled Senate President maintained that he was never accorded the opportunity to clarify the alleged discrepancies that were discovered in four assets declaration forms he submitted to the Code of Conduct Bureau, CCB, while he held sway as governor of Kwara State from 2003 to 2011.
He said the laws that established the CCB stipulated that any one perceived to have falsely declared his assets, must be summoned to give explanations.
The appellant queried the jurisdiction of the tribunal to try him on the basis of a charge he said was legally defective.
He specifically challenged a ruling the tribunal delivered on March 24 , wherein it not only declined to quash the charge, but also gave the prosecution the nod to call witnesses to testify against him.
While refusing to stay further proceeding on the matter, the Justice Umar-led CCT panel held that granting the request would amount to a breach of provisions of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, ACJA, 2015.
The tribunal noted that the essence of the ACJA was to ensure speedy disposal of criminal cases.

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