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Appeal Court Reserves Judgement In Saraki’s Trial
The Abuja division of the Court of Appeal has reserved its judgement in the appeal filed by the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, against his trial at the Code of Conduct Tribunal, CCT.
Saraki is insisting that he should have been invited by the Code of Conduct Bureau to make clarifications on his asset declaration before charges were filed against him at the tribunal.
When trial resumed on Thursday, counsel to Saraki, Kanu Agabi, a senior advocate, told the court that the statement of his client must be part of an indispensable evidence before the tribunal.
“If you bring an accused to court without his statement, it can do damage to his case. A pre-action notice is not unconstitutional,” Agabi told the panel of appeal court justices led by Justice Abdul Aboki.
“The tribunal had been told to apply the same procedure it adopted in similar cases. If you sanction the attitude that inferior court can depart from their decisions, it will be a bad precedent.
“Legislation is subject to judicial challenge. If it is a precedent, my client can’t be treated differently.
Agabi also pointed out that “This action was filed 13 years after the case was filed. It is not in the interest of justice that you bring a man to court 13years after he had left office.”
He also noted that “only the CCB can file action at the CCT and not the EFCC or ICPC.”
Rotimi Jacobs, counsel to the federal government, urged the court to dismiss the appeal.
He argued that once the CCB finds an infraction in an asset declaration form, the onus is on the defendant to prove his innocence before the tribunal adding that “the issue of fair hearing does not appear in this case.”
After the parties had adopted their written addresses, Justice Aboki announced that the date of the judgment would be communicated to them.
The notice of appeal was filed on March 24 after Saraki’s motion challenging the jurisdiction of the tribunal was dismissed.