The Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT), on Friday, ordered the bench arrest of Senate president (Dr) Abubakar Bukola Saraki, after he refused to appear in court to face a 13-count criminal charge issued against him by the Federal Ministry of Justice.
Brushing aside a Federal High Court order seeking to stop Saraki’s arraignment, the chairman of the tribunal, Danladi Umar, issued a bench warrant against the senate president.
Saraki had on Thursday obtained a Federal High Court order, directing that the case against him be halted.
Saraki who was billed for arraignment this morning, sent his team of lawyers to serve the tribunal with a copy of the ruling of Justice Ahmed Mohammed of the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court, yesterday, which summoned the Ministry of Justice to appear on Monday to show cause why the trial should be allowed to proceed.
Equally summoned by the court were the Chairman of the tribunal, Justice Danladi Umar and that of the Code of Conduct Bureau, CCB, Mr. Sam Saba, as well as Mr. Hassan who signed the charge against Saraki.
Meanwhile, displeased by Saraki’s absence at the tribunal for the commencement of his prosecution over alleged false declaration of assets, the Ministry of Justice prayed the Justice Umar-led panel to order for his arrest, saying “he cannot sit in the comfort of his chamber and object to his trial in absentia”.
The prosecution further maintained that Justice Mohammed lacked the powers to summon the CCT and CCB chairmen.
Saraki was also accused of engaging in “forum shopping” in a desperate bid to escape his trial.
It was gathered that Saraki has through his lawyer, begged the tribunal to consider his position as the Senate President and halt the execution of the arrest warrant, saying he would be available for trial on Monday.
However, his plea was refused by Justice Umar who maintained that the accused person, having sworn to protect the constitution, ought to have shown respect to the tribunal by appearing before it today.