Nigeria’s Senate President, Bukola Saraki has stated that he will head to the Supreme Court in search of justice after a Court of Appeal ruled against him. Saraki’s position was conveyed by his lead lawyer, Mohammed Mogaji. He revealed that Senator Saraki would file a further appeal at the Supreme Court. Saraki wanted the appellate court stop his trial at the Code of Conduct Tribunal, where he has been charged on 13-counts with false asset declaration.
Delivering judgment today, Justice Moore Agumanen, who read a majority verdict of the Court of Appeal morning upheld the trial of Senate President, Bukola Saraki at the Code of Conduct Tribunal. Reading the verdict of two of the three man panel, he said the tribunal, which docked the Senate President on 22 September and 21 October was properly constituted, thus trashing one of the grounds of the objections to the trial by Senate President and his lawyers.
The dissenting third judge, Justice Joseph Ekanem however ruled that Saraki’s appeal has merit. On the contrary, the majority judges, including Justice Mohammed Mustapha, in their verdict said the tribunal led by Danladi Umar could sit with the chairman and one other member. Agumanen said they relied on section 28 of the Interpretation Act to reach the decision.
He said the Code of Conduct Tribunal and Code of Conduct Bureau Act and the constitution did not talk about a quorum. In a further blow to the Senate President, the majority judges said the CCT has criminal jurisdiction, though limited. The judges also ruled that the Code of Conduct Tribunal has powers to issue a bench warrant.
The court further ruled that the solicitor-general can institute proceedings in the absence of the attorney-general since the office of the AGF is statutory and cannot die whether the AGF is in court or not.