Code of Conduct Tribunal, CCT, in Abuja yesterday ordered the Inspector General of Police to arrest the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki and produce him before it on Monday to take a plea in the 13-count charge slammed on him by the Federal Government over alleged false declaration of assets.
The Federal Government had on September 11 filed a 13-count charge against Saraki before the Code of Conduct Tribunal and the tribunal had fixed yesterday for arraignment.
However, in a bid to stop his arraignment, Saraki had on Thursday approached the Federal High Court in Abuja with an ex-parte application seeking to restrain the Federal Government, Code of Conduct Bureau and tribunal from arraigning him.
The trial judge at the high court, Justice AR Mohammed in a ruling, summoned the chairmen of CCB, CCT and a Deputy Director in the Federal Ministry of Justice, MS Hassan to appear before it on Monday to show cause why Saraki’s application should not be granted.
Nonetheless, when the matter came up yesterday before the tribunal, the accused person was represented by JB Daudu(SAN) and Mahmud Magaji(SAN).
Prosecution Counsel, Musiliu Hassan‎ noted that the accused was not in court despite the fact that he was served with the summons, adding that they exhibited it in their process and subsequently prayed the tribunal to issue a bench warrant on the accused person for disobedience of court orders.
Opposing the application, Magaji submitted that the charge, as well as the prosecution lacks validity to come before the court on grounds that there is no incumbent AttorneyGeneral of the Federation and further argued that there is a pending ruling of the Federal High Court, which had summoned chairmen of CCB, CCT and Hassan.
The tribunal later stood down the matter.
After about three hours stand down, the presiding judge, Justice Danladi Umar in his ruling held that the tribunal took notice of the fact that there is no AGF at the moment.
He further held that the absence of the AGF does not stop the filing of a criminal charge, adding that in the absence of the AGF, the Solicitor General can institute such charge.
saraOn that ground, the tribunal knocked off the accused’s argument.
On the issue of a pending ruling, the tribunal held that the federal high court has the same jurisdiction with it; hence, it is not bound by its ruling.
Justice Umar held that the tribunal would go ahead with the trial.
The tribunal also noted that it was clear that the accused person had been served with the summons, as was shown by the proof of service.
“No court of coordinate jurisdiction can halt the proceedings of this tribunal. This tribunal called on the Senate President to come and stand his trial. The defendant is expected to respect the constitution he swore to,” the tribunal held.
Justice Umar however ordered the Inspector General of Police to produce the Senate President before him on Monday to take his plea.
The tribunal later adjourned till Monday for arraignment.
Meanwhile, ‎counsel to Saraki, JB Daudu said that they would approach the Court of Appeal to set aside the ruling.
In the charge, Saraki was alleged to have made false declaration in the Assets Declaration Form for Public Officers on assumption of office as the executive Governor of Kwara State in 2003 by making anticipatory declaration of a property at No 15A and 15B McDonald, Ikoyi Lagos‎, when in fact the property was sold to him in 2006 for the sum of N396, 150, 000 by the Implementation Committee on the Federal Government Landed Properties.
The charge also claimed that Saraki committed an offence under Section 15 of the Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act, Cap. C15, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 and as incorporated under paragraphs 11(1) and (2) of Part I, Fifth Schedule of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) and punishable under Section 23 (2) of the Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act and as incorporated under paragraph 18 of Part I, Fifth Schedule to Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended).
Saraki was also alleged to have between October 2006 and May 2007, while he was the governor of Kwara State acquired a property from theImplementation Committee on the Federal Government Landed Properties after his declaration while assuming office in the sum of N497, 200, 000 million.
A sum which is not fairly attributable to his income, gift or loan approved by the Code of Conduct for public officers and which he wrongly claimed to have acquired from proceeds of sale of rice and sugar commodities.
The Senate President was said to have committed the offence under‎ Section 15 of the Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act, Cap. C15, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 and as incorporated under paragraphs 11(1) and (2) of Part I, Fifth Schedule of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended).
The offence is said to be punishable under Section 23 (2) of the Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act and as incorporated under paragraph 18 of Part I, Fifth Schedule to Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended).
In addition, Saraki was alleged to have onJune 3, 2011 made a false declaration in the Assets Declaration Form for Public Officers at the end of his tenure as Governor of Kwara State in 2011, by refusing to declare Plot 2A, Glover Road, Ikoyi Lagos which he acquired between 2007 and 2008 through his company Carlisle Properties Limited from Central Bank of Nigeria for a total sum of N325 million.
The offense is said be committed under Section 15 of the Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act, Cap. C15, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 and as incorporated under paragraphs 11(1) and (2) of Part I, Fifth Schedule of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended).
The offence is said to be punishable under Section 23 (2) of the Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act and as incorporated under paragraph 18 of Part I, Fifth Schedule to Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended).
Saraki was also alleged to be operating a foreign bank account while he was the governor of Kwara State.
He was also alleged to have transferred the sum of $73, 223.28 from his GTB domiciliary account No441441953210 to the American Express Bank, New York card account No: 374588216836009.
The offence is said to be committed contrary to paragraph 3, Part I, Fifth Schedule to the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) and Section 7 of the Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act and punishable under paragraph 9 of the said Fifth Schedule.
Also, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has concluded plans to arraign his wife, Mrs. Toyin Saraki, over allegations bordering on money laundering.
A highly placed source at the EFCC during the weekend confirmed the development to Nigerian Pilot Saturday that the embattled former first lady of Kwara State will be docked before a federal High Court in Abuja.
Meanwhile, Senate President, Bukola Saraki has filed an appeal challenging the ruling of the Code of Conduct Tribunal which ordered the Inspector General of Police to arrest and bring him before the tribunal on Monday.
In his ground of appeal, Saraki through his counsel, J.B Daudu SAN submitted that the tribunal erred in law and also acted without jurisdiction‎ by assuming jurisdiction over the criminal trial of the appellant at the Code of Conduct Tribunal for a charge, which is being challenged at the Federal High Court.
In his particulars of error, Saraki stated that as at the time the lower tribunal overruled the appellant’s application to discharge the Order for Bench Warrant for his arrest by the respondent, there exist an Order of the Federal High Court which was served on the lower tribunal.
He further submitted that the appellant filed an application dated September 17 challenging the jurisdiction of the lower tribunal to adjudicate on the charge brought before it.
In addition, he submitted that it is trite that when an accused files an application challenging the jurisdiction of a court/tribunal to adjudicate on the charge brought before it, the accused need not be in court.
The appellant however asked the court of appeal to set aside the order.


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