The Supreme Court will today hear an application filed by the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, for stay of proceedings of his trial before the Code of Conduct Tribunal,
It will be recalled that Saraki has been on trial on a 13 counts of false assets declaration.
Saraki, who filed his application through his lead counsel, Mr. Joseph Daudu (SAN), on November 3, 2015, wants the Supreme Court to halt his trial before the CCT pending the hearing and determination of his appeal before the apex court.
It was reliably gathered on Wednesday that the Federal Government, through its counsel, Mr. Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), had on Tuesday opposed the application for stay of proceedings, citing among other grounds, Section 306 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015, which prohibits courts from entertaining such application
The Senate President had appealed to the Supreme Court against the October 30, 2015 judgment of the Court of Appeal which affirmed the competence of the charges instituted against him and the jurisdiction of the CCT to try him.
Some lawyers who appeared for Saraki at the tribunal on November 5, stormed out of the courtroom in protest against a ruling of the CCT led by Justice Danladi Umar rejecting their request to adjourn the trial indefinitely because of the pending appeal before the Supreme Court.
The tribunal chairman had adjourned till November 19 to enable Saraki to engage new lawyers.
Meanwhile, Saraki’s application for stay of proceedings is anchored on the provisions of Section 36(1) of the 1999 Constitution and Order 9 Rule 2 of the Supreme Court Rules 1999 and section 25 of the Supreme Court Act.
His grounds of the application include contention that it “is very necessary so as not to foist on the appellant (Saraki, a fait accompli in the event this appeal succeeds.”
“That the applicant is entitled to the right of appeal under section 241 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) and this court is empowered by law to protect this right.
“The mandatory conditions precedent to the referral of complaints by the Code of Conduct Bureau to the Code of Conduct Tribunal as provided under the proviso of section 3(d) of the code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act and subsequent exercise of jurisdiction by the said tribunal has not been complied with.
“The appellant is challenging the composition of the Code of Conduct Tribunal as well as the criminal jurisdiction of the Code of Conduct Tribunal, to this extent a stay of proceedings of the charge aforementioned pending before the Code of Conduct Tribunal would prevent the tribunal from violating the provisions of the Constitution.”
A two-to-one split decision of the Court of Appeal in Abuja had on October 30 dismissed Saraki’s appeal against the competence of the tribunal and the charges against him comprising 13 counts of false declaration of assets while he was Kwara State Governor in 2003.
In his substantive appeal to the Supreme Court against the appeal court judgment, Saraki maintained that the panel of the CCT was not well constituted because it comprised two members instead of three provided for by the law.