Saraki loses again as court dismisses case against CCT boss



Senate President Bukola Saraki yesterday lost yet another battle to stop his trial at the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT). This was as the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja dismissed a legal action seeking to stop his trial at the CCT on the ground that such violates his fundamental rights to fair trial.

Justice Abdulkadiri Kafarati, who gave the judgment, dismissed the case on the ground that the fear expressed by Saraki was rather speculative, misplaced and has no place in law.

Hinging his decision on the preliminary objection of the Federal Government against Saraki’s suit, Justice Kafarati agreed that it was too early for the applicant  (Saraki) to raise the issue of fundamental rights to fair hearing when the tribunal was yet to conclude its findings on the falsification of assets charges brought against him.

Kafarati also held that the applicant was wrong in attempting to ride on the issue of fundamental rights to seek nullification of trial when in the real sense, his case did not fall within Chapter Four of the 1999 Constitution as well as the African Charter on People and Persons Rights.

Kafarati equally stated that his court would not interfere with the constitutional duty of the respondents in the case, as according to him, “doing so will amount to ruling against the Constitution.”

He, therefore, agreed with the Counsel to the Federal Government, Mr. Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), that the case of Saraki constituted a gross abuse of court process, having taken same to the Code of Conduct Tribunal, Court of Appeal and even Supreme Court, where decisions were made on the matter.

He upheld the preliminary objection of the Federal government to the case and subsequently dismissed it without going to the substantive matter.
Saraki had filed a legal action at the Federal High Court to seek enforcement of his fundamental human rights to fair hearing over his trial on alleged falsification of assets by the Federal Government at the CCT.

The Senate President, through his lawyer, Mr. Raphael Oluyede, claimed in the suit that he may not get justice from the CCT Chairman, Mr. Danladi Umar, who is being investigated by EFCC and who was being used by the same EFCC and its lawyers to prosecute him.

He also claimed that his Assets Declaration Form submitted to the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) was investigated by the operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFFC) as against CCB empowered by the law to do so.

He also claimed that apart from investigating his assets form against the law, the EFCC went ahead to engage its lawyer to file a 13-count criminal charge against him and also deployed its lawyer in person of Mr. Rotimi Jacobs (SAN) to put him on trial instead of the CCB mandated by the Constitution to do so.

Saraki had consequently asked the Federal High Court to set aside the charges against him on the ground that EFCC flouted due process of law.
Justice Kafarati had after listening to arguments from both parties fixed March 22 for pronouncement. However, when parties involved in the suit arrived court, he changed his mind, informing them that he was withdrawing from the case and returning the case file to the Chief Judge, Justice Ibrahim Auta for reassignment to another Judge.

Justice Kafarati hinged his decision on publications by some on-line media, which he said had cast him in bad light and portrayed him as a compromised judge.

He noted that no mater in whose favour his judgment would go, the losing party would create an impression that he was influenced.It was, however, learnt that Justice Auta later directed Justice Kafarati to proceed and deliver his judgment.

It was also learnt that Justice Auta’s decision bordered on the fact that none of the parties in the suit complained about the conduct of Justice Kafarati and that the judge cannot disqualify himself from further handling of the case based on mere allegations made in the media.

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