Senate President Bukola Saraki may have his trial at the Code of Conduct Tribunal stall Tuesday as he filed a stay-of-execution motion and appeal against the CCT at the Abuja Division of the Court of Appeal Monday.
The notice of appeal was filed to challenge the March 24 CCT ruling which dismissed Saraki application on the jurisdiction of the tribunal to hear the charges against him April 5.
Saraki’s defence team, a bar of 80 lawyers led by a former AGF Kanu Agabi, served the notice of appeal and stay of execution on the tribunal Monday night.
The fresh appeal is challenging the CCT’s ruling, which had dismissed all the issues raised by the Senate President against him, affirming that it has jurisdiction to hear the case.
The Senate president has been fighting to save face since the Supreme Court ruled that he should go and face his trial on a 13-count charge bordering on fraudulent asset declaration when he was Kwara’s governor for eight years.
He’s being prosecuted by the Code of Conduct Bureau whose legal team is led by Rotimi Jacobs, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria.
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Justic Danladi Umar, chair of the two-man CCT panel, had ordered in March that the trial should begin after dismissing Saraki’s application challenging his the current AGF jurisdiction to prosecute him for an offence he allegedly committed 13 years ago.
The tribunal, however, ruled that the AGF was competent to institute charges before the CCT, dismissing Saraki’s argument that there must be an official complaint against him within a reasonable time of his submitting the declaration.
The tribunal chairman held that there could be no clearance by implication unless it was expressly stated by the statute, and that time can never run against the state.
“It is not out of place to charge the accused person now and ask him to answer to the charges against him as there is no statute of limitation in relation to his case,” Umar said.
The tribunal also faulted Saraki’s reliance on its (CCT’s) earlier ruling, dismissing the charges against Lagos former Gov. Bola Tinubu who, facing the CCT, argued the Code of Conduct Bureau failed to confront him with the alleged infractions in his asset declaration forms before charges were instituted against him.
Tinubu, relying on Section 3(d) of the Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act, won the case then in 2011. But the CCT held it had since realised that the ruling discharging Tinubu on the same grounds was made in error.
“The accused persons relied on the decision of this tribunal in Federal Republic of Nigerian v. Bola Tinubu that was delivered on November 30, 2011. That decision was given per incuriam (given without following principles of law),” said Umar.
He noted that the provision of Paragraph 3(e) of Part I of the 3rd Schedule to the 1999 Constitution had removed and omitted the proviso relied on by the Senate president.