The Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT), on Tuesday, rejected an application for the adjournment of the trial of embattled Senate President, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, ruling that it has jurisdiction, as affirmed by the Supreme Court, to try him.
Saraki is facing a 13 count charge of alleged false declaration of asset preferred against him by the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB).
Saraki had today, appeared before the tribunal in continuation of the trial against him in company of not less than 90 lawyers.
Although, Saraki’s lead Counsel, Kanu Agbabi, was absent in court, another SAN, Paul Usoro, and Mahmud Magaji (SAN) stood in for him.
Upon assumption of the trial, Usoro had asked for an adjournment. He argued that on the basis of the fact that an appeal has been entered before the appellate court, the defendant filed a motion of stay of proceedings which is before the Registrar of the court.
Usoro said that the process of appeal has been transmitted to the CCT and the record of appeal is before the tribunal.
He explained that the prayer for adjournment is to essentially allow the Court of Appeal to entertain and arrive at a decision in the appeal, which it has fixed a clear date of April 26, 2016 to hear.
But opposing the application, the Prosecuting Counsel, Mr Rotimi Jacobs, said that the CCT had adjourned the matter for trial to commence and he was ready with his witnesses to commence trial.
He said that the defence is aware that what they are filing for cannot stop the proceedings and that the request is not based on the motion served on the prosecution but on an application of stay of proceedings pending before the Court of Appeal.
He argued that he was served with a motion on stay at 10:20AM on Tuesday morning and since he was not served before the start of the business of the day, it cannot obstruct the trial that has been fixed for same day.
He argued that the appeal filed by Saraki is illegal, backing his argument with Section 306 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act.
The tribunal, in its ruling, said: “We adjourned to today to commence with trial. Even if the defence intends to appeal the judgment, it should not stop the proceedings of trial today, provided the prosecution is ready to proceed.
“In view of the foregoing we hold that trial shall proceed for hearing today and we are ready to take the witnesses.”