Trial of the Year: Saraki storms Code of Conduct Tribunal with bus loads of Senators

Posted by Mayowa Okekale, Abuja | 22 September 2015 | 3,204 times

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Embattled Senate President, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, has made good his promise of yesterday evening to appear before the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) sitting in Abuja this morning. Saraki, who declared that he is not afraid of the tribunal, is there live and in good company.

He arrived the CCT in the company of Deputy Senate President, Chief Ike Ekweremadu. Shortly after, two Toyota Coaster buses filed to the brim senators arrived to offer solidarity to the country’s number three man.

Saraki is facing a 13-count charge bordering on alleged corruption and false declaration of assets, levelled against him by the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB). He is alleged to have failed to declare some assets during his tenure in office as Kwara State Governor from 2003 to 2011.

The Senate President failed to appear at the resumed trial by the CCT yesterday, at the same time seeking the intervention of the Federal Court of Appeal in the imbroglio.

When the prosecuting counsel, Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), raised eyebrows over the absence of the Senate President, the defending counsel and former President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Joseph Daudu, said he was confused because the Chairman of the tribunal, did not rule on his promise but only “noted” and he “didn’t understand it as such (a ruling)”, adding: “I expected in the light of judicial practice, that I will get a positive response.”

Mr Daudu further appealed to the Chairman of the Tribunal, Justice Umar, to stay action and adjourn seating pending the decision(s) by the Court of Appeal, but the appeal is strongly objected by the prosecution counsel.

Mr Jacobs argued that the case could not be adjourned as the accused, Bukola Saraki, has failed to appear before the CCT to take a plea, guilty or not, insisting that the composition of CCT is not the same as its quorum.

In his ruling, Justice Umar refused to be swayed by the defence, ordering Inspector General of Police, IGP Solomon Arase, to produce Saraki before the tribunal when it resumes sitting tomorrow. That, however, may prove unnecessary in view of Saraki’s decision to show up at the tribunal when it resumes sitting tomorrow.

Saraki was originally orderd to appear before the tribunal last week Friday but he failed to do so, prompting Justice Umar to direct IGP Arase to arrest and produce him before the tribunal today – an order which was obeyed in the breach.

•Photo shows one of the Coaster buses that brought Senators to the CCT . . . this morning in Abuja.

Source: News Express

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