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Lawyers hail S’Court’s order halting Saraki’s trial by CCT

By Lemmy Uhegbe, Abuja and Joseph Onyekwere, Lagos   |   13 November 2015   |   1:17 am  
Saraki-OK

Saraki

SENIOR lawyers yesterday reacted to ruling of the Supreme Court, ordering the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) to put on hold the on-going trial of the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki over alleged false declaration of assets.

Saraki had filed an appeal challenging the jurisdiction of the Tribunal to try him at the Tribunal and lost.
Dissatisfied, he went to the Appeal Court and still lost. As a result, he approached the apex court to determine the issue.
His counsel also wanted the Tribunal to stay further proceedings on the matter, pending the hearing and determination of his appeal but was over ruled by the tribunal, resulting in a dramatic walk out by the defence team.

Yesterday, the apex court made the stay order, asking the Tribunal to hold on until it determines the issue.
Reacting, Chief Emeka Ngige (SAN) said the order by the Supreme Court was necessary for the Tribunal to stay proceedings.
“This is now the time that the Code of Conduct Tribunal can hand off the matter until the appeal is determined. If there is no Supreme Court order, CCT cannot stop because the Administration of Criminal Justice Act says there should be no stay of proceedings on any interlocutory appeal on any matter concerning any provision under the Act. So they did the right thing until the Supreme Court gave that order.”

To Dr. Abiodun Layonu (SAN): “The argument that a trial court is not bound to stay proceedings when there is an appeal is not a wrong one. The court said, ‘I have given a ruling, you are not satisfied, you have appealed but without a stay of proceedings order, I am going on with the matter.’ The court could take that approach. However, depending on the issue involved, the court will look at if it is such that would have a fundamental effect on the outcome of the case.

The court on its own can stay proceedings and wait for the outcome of the appeal. For the Supreme Court to now ask them to wait, the CCT has in a way been put on a wrong footing.”

To Emeka Nwadioke: “It seems to me that the Supreme Court ruling is in order, aimed to avoid foisting a fait accompli or situation of helplessness on the apex court should the trial at the tribunal proceed without an opportunity being accorded the Supreme Court to pronounce on the appeal before it.
“It is equally proper that the apex court determines the issue of jurisdiction one way or another, as this has overriding implications for the continued viability of the charge at the tribunal.”

Counsel to Saraki, Joseph Daudu (SAN), leading seven other Senior Advocates of Nigeria, had prayed the apex court to stop the proceedings at the CCT pending the hearing of the substantive appeal.

Daudu told the court that the appellant is challenging the jurisdiction of tribunal and the legality of his trial at the tribunal.
Among others, Saraki claimed that the tribunal was not properly constituted with two members instead of three as required by law.

He submitted that the apex court should put the trial at the CCT on hold pending the final determination of the main appeal.
Justice Fabiyi while ordering the proceedings at the CCT stopped, gave seven days each to both parties to file and exchange briefs of their arguments on the substantive appeal.

In line with the undertaking given by the Federal Government’s counsel, Rotimi Jacobs, the court ordered that nothing should be done at the CCT level on the pending trial of the Senate President.



  • Baba Adini

    If a law set a process in place, that process needs to be followed until that law is struck down, which is not an issue in this case. The issue is whether anyone can avoid his criminal trial and if the Supreme Court decides infavour of Saraki, then it is the beginning of the failure of Buhari’s anti-corruption strategy of prosecuting looters. Every looter will raise any issue during trial, which kills the presumption of innocence and cause trials to linger on and on. A clean conscience fears no accusation, but try to avoid justice through convoluted legal turns. If Section 306 of the ACJA, 2015 forbids the granting of stay of proceedings in criminal cases, that is the law and the supreme court should not hesitate in dismissing frivolous attempts
    to circumvent and undermine the law due to financial or political muscles, or individual social status. In any case, a rapist can even ask for stay, if the Supreme Court should hold infavour of Saraki, even though there are other appropriate avenue for an accused person to toss his case through the due process of “no case submission”. Current situation is legal theatrics and mere academic exercise, and waste of tax payers money which should be used to hear more serious cases. Unfortunately, our judges do not understand the legal economics of trial, because our law schools don’t teach it.

    • Baba Adini, I think you have put it very eloquently here. This is undoubtedly a test case for the Nigeria judiciary and one the Supreme Court cannot dare to bungle. Saraki’s legal teams have done what they were put on this planet to do: defend their client using whatever legal argument known to law. The CCT should respect the appeal to the Supreme Court. On the other hand Nigerians now expect the Supreme Court not to prevaricate in deciding this case. It is not going to take until 2019 before a ruling is reached or the case dismissed for lack of merit. Saraki is not above the law and an ugly precedent should not be set. We are watching!

      • Akoko

        But you had no problems with Fashola’s bore hole, website, and road contracts. Very funny how nigerians define corruption.

        • New Nigerian

          I bet you if you start looking at the contracts Saraki awarded while he was governor, you may find more things to see there…if you want to start looking at awarded contracts….the case before the CCB is what saraki filled himself…he in a nutshell claimed to know the future…a clairvoyant and a rice merchant…he made anticipatory asset declarations and then went about fulfilling that aspirations through funds he claimed he got from selling rice…now you want that case to squelched…you are about to learn that Nigeria is not Kwara – He got away with such duplicitous behavior in Kwara State of less than 5 million people. Nigeria a country of 177million cannot afford such dubious leadership approach. God forbid. Wait and we’d wait with you. Let the Supreme Court finish their due diligence and you’d see what the masses would do if they squelch this case.

  • OFFIA SAMUEL

    We know there are looters in Buhari Cabinet. Why do people insist on calling Saraki a looter when the issue involved is not even criminal. The law is clear on the sanctions available. CCT JUDGE HAS HIS OWN AGENDA which was scripted for him.
    this should not have been politicized . Thank god for the Supreme Court.
    Let the war on Corruption begin is earnest. Out of the trillions of Naira and Billions of Dollars reported stolen by the Last Administration not one Naira has been recovered and no traffic Violation has been placed on any member of the administration. all we have seen is DSS thugs invading homes and coming out with nothing.
    Could it be that the reported billions was a press manipulation to incense the public or they don’t know where to look.
    They have had the BOOKS FOR SIX MONTHS. they should come out with finding and directions . We have had enough of body language. Body language may soon turn to body odour.

    • New Nigerian

      You should stick with your day job and not seek elected office.

  • Stella James

    The Nigerian judiciary system is a BIG JOKE The lawyers hailing this rulings are the root of Nigerias problems they must examine themselves

    • Akoko

      Looks to me like you are the problem with Nigeria. Your hatred for Saraki is clear for everyone to see and in your little mind, any outcome other than a guilty verdict is a broken system. Na wa o.

  • New Nigerian

    I suspect the supreme court is trying to save the dignity of the judiciary – especially given the brigandage of the defense lawyers. They dare not squelch this case and the newly minted Minister of Justice must see to the execution of the law without fear or favor – this case is a litmus test for that…and of course all Plutocrats of every stripe in the land would want to see this case squelched…Nigerians and the world are watching and will demand that the law be implemented without fear or favor. If the case of saying that the case was wrongfully started because there was no attorney general and Minsiter of Justice to start it finds resonance at the supreme court and they vote to have the case stopped…the Newly minted Minister of Justice should re-file the case the next day at the CCB. Law abiding, hardworking Nigerians everywhere in the world are sick and tired of these few individuals creating image problems and rubbishing the Nigerian brand through their lawlessness and crass stupidity of stealing public funds!

  • We want these corruption probes to follow due process. While Saraki is obviously one of the worst corrupt nigerian politicians, the system is incompetent to do justice. The selective probes smell of witch hunt and opportunities to settle cheap political scores. Kettles calling pots black. These probes are jokes.

  • amador kester

    Nigerians might possibly eat law, drink law in this very republic. A possibility. But is that an index of democratic progress to be versed in rigorous legal technicalities distracting the need to focus on econ transformation to push back the frontiers of poverty? Nonsense this is sophisticated self delusion . But we have an odious , philistine senate
    . Perhaps the worst ever in the history of this nation

  • jakiel

    YES LAWYERS AND JUDGES AT THEIR BEST AGAIN.
    Nigeria’s MAIN PROBLEM IS CAUSED BY THESE LEARNED PEOPLE. THEY ARE THE JUDGES, ADVOCATES/ PROSECUTORS, CONSTITUTE 50% OF NATIONAL ASSEMBLY MEMBERS, 50% OF MINISTERIAL POSITIONS AND THEIR AIDS ETC.
    AND ALWAYS WITH CONFLICTING POSITIONS ON EVERY ISSUE..

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