Saraki condemns Tribunal’s ‘disregard’ for court order over arrest warrant
The Senate President, Sen. Bukola Saraki on Friday condemned the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) for what he described as a “disregard” for the order of the Federal High Court, Abuja, that mandated the CCT to suspend hearing till Monday on the charges of false declaration of assets levelled against the him by Code of Conduct Bureau.
The senate president was responding to the order of his arrest issued by the CCT.
The court ordered Saraki to put the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB), which proffered the 13-count charge against him, on notice to appear before it on September 21, 2015 to show cause why it should not be restrained from arraigning the embattled Senate president over the said charge.
In a statement signed by his special adviser (Media and Publicity), Yusuph Olaniyonu, Saraki said he approached the court to adjudicate on the matter because he was convinced that he would not be “given justice” at the Tribunal.
“While the Senate President, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, had stated and maintains that he is ready to submit himself to due process of the law on any issue concerning him, he also believes he has an inalienable right to resort to the same judiciary for protection when he feels his fundamental rights are about to be infringed upon.
“It is for this reason that Dr. Saraki, having satisfied himself that the case filed by the CCB and the manner in which the case was filed show that he will not be given justice, resorted to the Federal High Court for the determination of the issues of competence of the prosecutor as well as compliance with the procedure stipulated in the Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act.
“The Federal High Court on Thursday, September 17, 2015, therefore ordered that the all parties in the case should appear before it on Monday, September 21, 2015. The implication of this ruling by a Court of competent jurisdiction is that the sitting today has been overtaken by event. It is for this reason that Dr. Saraki chose to go about with his normal official schedule.”
Olaniyonu said the motion raised by counsel to the senate president Mr. M. A. Mahmud (SAN), that there was a pending constitutional matter before the Federal High Court to be decided on Monday and that the Tribunal should hold the trial until the constitutional matter was disposed of was disregarded by the Tribunal.
He said it was shocking that the Tribunal decided to issue a bench warrant of arrest on the senate president after the application by the counsel to produce the senate president at the Tribunal on Monday was ignored, a moved he described as undemocratic.
“It is also a surprise to us that despite the application by the lead counsel to the Senate President that he will produce Dr. Saraki on Monday and the personality of the person involved as the Number three man in the country, the Tribunal insisted on issuing a warrant of arrest as if its intention is simply to embarrass Dr. Saraki. We are not unmindful of the fact that the Tribunal is acting under political influence and external pressure. This is dangerous to our democracy.
“The conduct of the Tribunal today left nobody in doubt that it cannot do justice on the matter before it. It is also clear that today’s decision is an abuse of the rule of law which portends danger to our judicial system. The Tribunal has equally set a bad precedent in the way and manner it conducted itself during the proceedings.
“We want to emphasise the fact that this is not part of any war against corruption but using state institutions to fight political opponents and seeking to achieve through the back door what some people cannot get through democratic process.”