Barely 48 hours to the commencement of full blown-trial on the 13-count criminal charge that was entered against him by the Federal Government, the Senate President, Dr. Olubukola Saraki, yesterday, approached the Supreme Court, begging it to arrest the proceeding of the Code of Conduct Tribunal, CCT.
Saraki, is praying the apex court to set aside the judgment of the Abuja Division of the Court of Appeal which had on October 30, okayed the criminal charge against him.
He urged the Supreme Court to halt further proceeding on the allegation against him pending the determination of the appeal he formally lodged before it yesterday.
In the appeal he filed through his team of lawyers led by Mr. J.B. Daudu, SAN, a copy of which was sighted by Vanguard, last night, Saraki, specifically sought for:
“An order staying further proceedings in Charge No: CCT/ABJ/01/2015 between Federal Republic of Nigeria vs Dr. Olubukola Abubakar Saraki fixed for hearing on November 5 and 6, 2015 pending the determination of the appeal pending before the Supreme Court against the judgment of the Court of Appeal dated October 30, 2015.”
In his seven grounds of appeal, Saraki prayed the court to set aside the judgment of the Court of Appeal, the entire proceedings of the CCT and the charges preferred against him before the tribunal by the Federal Government.
He contended that the appellate court panel led by Justice Moore Adumein, erred in law when it affirmed the competence of the proceedings of the CCT, which sat on the appellant’s case with only two members as against the three provided for in the provisions of Paragraph 15(1) of the Fifth Schedule to the 1999 Constitution.
Saraki’s lawyer, Daudu, also faulted the majority decision of the appeal court where it held that there was lacuna regarding the quorum of the tribunal.
He argued that the application of the Interpretation Act to hold that two out of three members of the tribunal could validly sit “is to circumvent and reduce the number prescribed by the constitution for the due composition of the CCT.”
He also faulted the majority decision of the appeal court where it held that the CCT was a court of limited criminal jurisdiction and that the charges were validly initiated by a Deputy Director in the Federal Ministry of Justice, Mr. M.S. Hassan, in the absence of a substantive Attorney-General of the Federation.
Saraki also challenged the decision of the appeal court which held that Saraki had been properly served with the charges, at a time when his legal team only filed motion for conditional appearance before bench warrant was issued against him by the CCT.
Daudu argued that the court of appeal erred in law for refusing to hold that the tribunal violated the order of the Federal High Court in Abuja, which he said ordered the tribunal to appear before the court to show cause why its proceedings against Saraki should not be halted.
According to him, the appeal court erred in law when it held that the Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015 was applicable to the proceeding of the tribunal.
It will be recalled that the appellate court had in two-to-one split decision, dismissed Saraki’s appeal against the ruling of the Justice Umar Danladi-led tribunal.
Whereas the duo of Justices Adumein and Mohammed Mustapha dismissed Saraki’s appeal and ordered him t o submit himself to the CCT for trial on Friday, another member of the panel, Justice Joseph Ekanem, held that the 13-count charge was incompetent, even as he discharged the accused person.