As the trial of Senate President Bukola Saraki for alleged “false declaration of assets” begins at the Code of Conduct Tribunal in Abuja, saraki’s counsel Magaji has prayed the tribunal to throw out the case for lack of locus standi
The trial of saraki had commenced earlier today irrespective of a federal high court order which temporarily halted the trial.
The prosecuting counsel had argued that the high court does not have supervised jurisdiction? over the tribunal, hence an injunction from the high court does not subsist.
The prosecuting counsel, MS Hassan, had asked the court to issue a bench warrant against Saraki for failing to appear before the court after being summoned insisting that Saraki should be arrested within two hours and brought to court.
However, Counsel to Saraki, Magaji in a counter argument submitted that the prosecuting counsel, who is a deputy director at the ministry of justice and who signed the charges against the senate president, has no locus standi on the matter.
He argued that the charges could only be brought against Saraki by the attorney-general of federation, who is yet to be appointed by the president
He then urged the court to strike out the case for incompetence.
Saraki,s counsel also notified the tribunal about the interim injunction of the federal high court temporarily halting the trial.
He argued that the trial could not proceed because the ministry of justice, the chairman of the tribunal? and CCB were all deemed as defendants in the pending suit before the high court.
However, ?the prosecuting counsel, argued that Saraki’s counsel had no right to object to his prayer for the arrest of the senate president, since he was not present in court.
He told the tribunal to discountenace and dismiss the application of the defendants, adding that the law does not state that only the attorney?-general can institute criminal proceedings against anyone.
“It is not exclusive to the attorney-general alone to institute criminal proceedings. An officer in his department can do so as well,” he said.
“The accused cannot be in the comfort of his house and expect his lawyers to the job for him.
“We urge this court to issue a bench warrant for the arrest of the accused person because objection cannot be taken in absentia.” Mr hassan told the tribunal.