The Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) sitting in Abuja yesterday adjourned indefinitely the trial of the President of the Senate, Dr Bukola Saraki, pending the time Saraki’s appeal at the Supreme Court would be determined.
Saraki is being tried on three of the 18-count of false assets declaration filed against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
The adjournment, according to the Danladi Umar-led CCT, was to await the decision of Supreme Court on the appeal filed by Saraki and the federal government’s cross-appeal in respect of the case.
“The tribunal has decided to adjourn sine die (indefinitely) pending the outcome of the appeals at the Supreme Court,” Umar ruled after dismissing the prosecution’s objection to an adjournment.
“The decision of the supreme court will “invariably affect” the decision of the tribunal,” he submitted, adding that “we have to protect the integrity of the Supreme Court first but we need to hear from you (the prosecution and defence counsel).”
Responding, the counsel to the federal government, Rotimi Jacobs, advised the court to proceed with the trial “in view of the position of law today.”
He argued that Section 306 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act “enjoins the court not to entertain any application for stay.”
“So, the appeal before the supreme court is not an issue of reference. And section 305 also permits the court to go ahead assuming it is an issue of reference,” he said.
But Kanu Agabi, Saraki’s counsel, said the idea of staying the proceedings “is not our initiative.”
“It is the initiative of the tribunal and we commend you for it. The prosecution also has an appeal at the supreme court, so it is not just us,” he said.