Breaking: Saraki’s trial at Code of Conduct Tribunal continues

Senator Bukola Saraki in the dock

Senator Bukola Saraki in the dock

The trial of Senate President Bukola Saraki continued before Justice Danladi Umar at the Code of Conduct Tribunal on Monday in Abuja.

The trial followed the dismissal of Saraki’s application seeking to stop the trial by the Appeal Court in Abuja.

The embattled Senate President had filed a petition before the Appeal Court challenging the jurisdiction of the Code of Conduct Tribunal to try him.

In a considered judgment on Thursday 27 October, Justice Abdul Aboki led other four justices of the Appeal Court to hold that the appeal lacked merit.

Saraki is standing trial on allegations of false asset declaration.

Aboki said the appellant erroneously held that the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) should have accorded him the right to enter a “written admission’’ on the oversight noticed in his Asset Declaration forms.

“The Section 3(d) of the Code of Conduct Bureau does not compel the Federal Government to give such action notice to suspects who failed to properly declare their assets.

“Persons charged for breaching any provisions of the Bureau are expected to file responses as evidence before the tribunal.

“In this respect, the Attorney General of the Federation has not erred in any ways for preferring charges against the appellant without prior notice,’’ Aboki held.

On whether the AGF’s mandates include bringing actions against alleged offenders of CCB’s Act, Aboki held in the affirmative, adding that an officer from the office could be mandated to also perform that role.

“The highest court in the land had decided on this very issue and as a lower court it is mandated to align with the decision precedent.

“The AGF, who is the Minister of Justice has the requisite right as provided by the 1999 Constitution to bring charges against anyone who allegedly breached federal laws or delegate such powers,’’ he said.

Aboki also dismissed the appellant’s argument that the tribunal departed from its earlier decision freeing ex-governor Bola Tinubu‎ on account that he (Tinubu) was not invited by the CCB.

The judge held that the courts were not sentimental about cases before them, adding that the tribunal was right to approach the two cases differently.

He also held that the fact that the charges were initiated 13‎ years after the offences were allegedly committed did not make any less potent.