THE Senate President, Bukola Saraki, on Monday said he would appear before the Code of Conduct Tribunal on Tuesday (today) to face a 13-count charge of false asset declaration levelled against him by the Code of Conduct Bureau.
Saraki’s promise to appear before the CCT as a “law-abiding citizen” followed failed judicial battle on Monday to stop his arrest and trial by the tribunal.
“I will be there, I have nothing to hide. One was exercising his own right both at the Federal High Court and the Court of Appeal. So, I will appear before the tribunal. The most important thing is that I believe in the process and I will ensure that I am there tomorrow morning,” he told journalists covering the Senate in Abuja.
Moments later, a statement by the Senate president’s spokesman, Yusuph Olaniyonu, reinforced the promise by Saraki to finally appear before the CCT.
Olaniyonu’s statement partly read, “Following the adjournment for the determination of the motion on notice and the substantive suit before the Federal High Court to 30th of September and the appeal pending before the Court of Appeal adjourned to the 29th of September 2015, the Senate President has decided, as a law abiding citizen, to appear before the Tribunal in the interim.
“Dr. Saraki has taken the decision to attend the Tribunal sitting to demonstrate his respect for the rule of law in spite of his personal reservation on the process of his trial and the purpose it may be intended to serve.
“Dr. Saraki wishes to assure Nigerians of his absolute belief in the judicial process and is therefore confident that the course of justice would be served at the end of this matter.”
Courts refuse to stop trial
Earlier in the day, both the Court of Appeal and a Federal High Court in Abuja had refused the Senate President’s ex-parte applications to halt his arrest and trial respectively.
Saraki had asked the FHC to stop the CCB and the CCT from prosecuting him while demanding from the Appeal Court an order to stay the execution of the order of arrest made by the Justice Danladi Umar of the CCT as well as the proceedings of the tribunal.
At the FHC, Saraki’s lawyer, Adebayo Adelodu (SAN), had asked the court to make his prayers that the tribunal be stopped from proceeding with the trial in the ex-parte application absolute.
But Justice Ahmed Mohammed, who presided, refused the application and ordered that the respondents be put on notice.
He held that in view of the fact that the respondents had joined issues with the plaintiffs, coupled with fundamental, constitutional and radical nature of the preliminary objection, which borders on the jurisdiction of the court and supervisory powers of the tribunal, the court would not dissipate energy and time on interlocutory matters.
The court therefore dismissed the application and ordered that the applicant to put the respondents on notice. The judge later adjourned the case till September 30 for hearing of the substantive suit.
At the Court of Appeal where Saraki’scounsel prayed the court to set aside the order of arrest on Saraki and also stay the proceedings at the tribunal, Justice Morri Adumein, in his ruling, held that the respondents should also be put on notice.
According to him, Section 15 of the Court of Appeal Act 2004 (as amended) gives the court the general power to make interim orders.
He further stressed that for the court to exercise such powers, the application for the interim order should be in writing.
“It is for this reason that the court will refuse this application for interim injunction. It would better serve the interest of justice for the respondents to be put on notice. Consequently, the motion is hereby refused and struck out,” the judge stated.
He however adjourned the case till September 29 for hearing of the motion on notice.
After the ruling, Adelodun prayed the court to make a preservative order to preserve the RES of the case so as to maintain status quo.
In his response, Justice Adumein, said that it was not in the interest of the court to interfere in the affairs of lower courts.
“To appear before the tribunal is not a death sentence, we can come in at any point,” he stated.