THE Supreme Court has dismissed an appeal by Bukola Saraki, president of the Senate, challenging the validity of his trial on charges of assets declaration preferred against him at the Code of Conduct Tribunal.
A seven-man panel of the court presided over by Justice Mahmud Mohammed,chief justice of Nigeria, unanimously ruled on Friday, February 5, that Saraki’s appeal against the jurisdiction of the trial and competence of the charges, lacked merit.
Justice Wallter Onnoghen, who read the lead judgment, held that contrary to Saraki’s contention, the Danladi Umar-led Code of Conduct Tribunal was validly constituted by two members.
The court also held that the tribunal was by the provisions of its enabling laws and the Constitution conferred with the quasi-criminal jurisdiction and thus, could validly issue bench warrant.
Further, the justices held that the Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015 was applicable to the proceedings of the tribunal, and therefore, dismissed the allegation by Saraki that he was not properly served with the charges.
Besides, the court ruled that the charges filed before the CCT before the appointment of the attorney-general of the federation were valid.
The court in its ruling, also noted that there was an attempt by Saraki to intimidate the CCT by claiming that it disobeyed the order of a federal high court barring it from continuing with the proceedings pending the determination a suit filed by the Senate president to challenge the trial.
“I have looked at the records, there is no where such order was made,” Justice Onnoghen said.
The rest of the panel members who consented to the judgement are justices Tanko Muhammad, Sylvester Ngwuta, Kudirat Kekere-Ekun, Chima Nweze and Amiru Sanusi.
By the Supreme Court judgment the CCT is expected to resume hearing in the case against Saraki who is facing a three-count charge on false declaration of assets.
— Feb 5, 2016 @ 12:35 GMT