Finally, Saraki’s Corruption Trial Begins As CCT Strikes Out His Appeal For Adjournment
The trial of Senate President Bukola Saraki, finally began on Tuesday after series of drama that greeted his arraignment at the Code of Conduct Tribunal.
The Code of Conduct Bureau had on September 16, 2015 slammed charges on Mr. Saraki, accusing him of offences ranging from anticipatory declaration of assets, to making false declaration of assets in forms he filed before the Bureau while he was governor of Kwara state.
The Senate President was also accused of failing to declare some of his assets, acquiring assets beyond his legitimate earnings, and operating foreign accounts while being a public officer – governor and senator.
At the resumed hearing of the trial on Tuesday, Danladi Umar, chairman of the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT), dismissed an application for adjournment filed by Senate President Bukola Saraki.
Paul Usoro, Saraki’s lawyer had asked for an adjournment on the strength of a notice stay of proceedings filed at the tribunal.
He explained that the defendant was challenging the March 24 ruling of the tribunal, which allowed the continuation of the trial, at the appeal court.
He therefore urged the tribunal to adjourn the matter until the hearing and determination of the application at the appeal court. Usoro said that he was not asking for a stay of proceedings, but for an adjournment of the matter.
But Jacobs argued that both terms were the same thing.
“After he filed a notice of appeal. He also on his own filed a record of appeal at the appeal court, which is supposed to be confirmed by the tribunal and then forwarded to the court of appeal. It is only when the tribunal fails to compile the record that the appellant is obliged to do it himself,” he said.
“The motion for stay of proceedings and motion for adjournment are the same thing.”
The prosecution counsel further argued that the supreme court had already given the tribunal a clean bill to proceed with the trial, hence it would amount to judicial rascality to disregard the order of the apex court.
“The application for adjournment is a predicated on a false and void ground,” he held. “I urge your lordship to refuse this application for adjournment because it is becoming too much.”
Ruling on the application, the Tribunal chairman, Umar held that the issue of jurisdiction of the tribunal had already been settled by the supreme court, hence a motion for adjournment based on an appeal challenging the jurisdiction of the tribunal at the appeal court was unnecessary.
He, therefore, ordered the prosecution to produce its witnesses, dismissing Saraki’s application.
Following the dismissal of the application for adjournment, the trial commenced.