Saraki must face CCT trial, Supreme Court rules


Saraki in the dock
Saraki in the dock

The Supreme Court has dismissed an appeal by the senate president, Bukola Saraki, against his trial by the Code of Conduct Tribunal for alleged corruption.

The court upheld an earlier decision given by the Court of Appeal, asking Mr. Saraki to face trial at the Code of Conduct Tribunal.

Mr. Saraki is facing a 13-count charge of alleged false declaration of assets.

The Code of Conduct Bureau says the senate president lied about his assets, and maintained a foreign account, when he was governor of Kwara State.

Mr. Saraki said the charges were politically motivated, and challenged the powers and composition of the Code of Conduct Tribunal to hear the case.

He asked the Court of Appeal to determine whether or not the tribunal was right in issuing a bench warrant against him, and asked the court to explain if any other person, other than the Attorney General of the Federation, could file criminal charges against him.

Overall, Mr. Saraki asked the Court of Appeal to nullify the decisions of the Code of Conduct Tribunal for allegedly violating the decision of the high court.

On October 30, 2015, the appeal court dismissed Mr. Saraki’s objection to the trial, affirming the powers of the tribunal to hear the charges against the senate president.

Mr. Saraki appealed to the Supreme Court on November 4, 2015.

But in its ruling Friday, the Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the Court of Appeal, and dismissed the appeal in its entirety.

A six-member panel of judges, led by Justice Walter Onoghen, said under the 1999 Constitution, the Code of Conduct Tribunal could validly sit with only its chairman and one member.

The court also ruled that the tribunal was right in issuing a bench warrant against Mr. Saraki, stressing that the constitution provides the tribunal with a “quasi” criminal jurisdiction.

The court also held that the office of the Attorney General is, as the name implies, an office, which should not seize to function in the absence of the attorney general. (Premium Times)

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