The FCT High Court, Jabi on Wednesday fixed Oct.7 for the Federal Government to open its case on the allegation of forgery instituted against the President of the Senate, Dr Bukola Sarki, at the instance of the prosecution.
At the resumption of the trial, the Prosecuting Counsel, Mr Aliyu Umar, (SAN), prayed the court for a short adjournment in order to be fully availed of the matter.
Umar had told the court that his application was predicated on the fact he had yet to be handed over the case-file by the Attorney General of the Federation.
“My lord, I am aware of the need to expeditiously dispense this case for the interest of justice but I have just been enlisted to take over this matter.
“I am yet to be handed over the case file and, therefore, it will be impossible for me and my team to open our case as required of us today.
“Consequently, my lord, I shall be asking for a short adjournment to enable me put the house in order,’’ he said.
He added: ‘’the adjournment is also imperative as we shall use the period to file responses to all pending motions.’’
However, all the defendants opposed the application.
Others standing trial are the Deputy President of the Senate, Sen. Ike Ekweremadu, former Clerk of the National Assembly, Alhaji Salisu Maikasuwa, and his deputy, Mr Benedict Efeturi.
They are being tried for allegedly using a forged Senate Standing Rules to appoint the Principal Officers of the Senate on July 9, 2015.
The prosecution said both Saraki and Ekweremadu participated in altering the document for the purpose of being elected as President of the of Senate and Deputy President of the Senate respectively.
Mr Paul Erokoro, (SAN), counsel to Saraki, in raising objection to the application, argued that the prosecution had embarked on delay tactics to frustrate his client.
He said the prosecution was no longer diligent in the handling the trial, adding that the motion seeking to quash the charge filed by his client had over stayed.
“My lord, it is indeed disheartening to see this unfolding happening. It is in the record of the court that this motion was served on the prosecution since June 22.
“For us, this application is simply an attempt to abuse the process and our sensibility. I am urging the court to dismiss it.
“Consequently, I urge the court to quash the charge and discharge my client for want of diligent prosecution,’’ Erokoro said.
He further said the charge was vague and did not disclose any offence against his client.
Erokoro also said the trial constituted a gross abuse of the judicial process.
The counsel to Saraki said that the issues raised in the charge were currently subject matter of litigation before the Federal High Court in Abuja.
Delivering ruling, Justice Yusuf Halilu expressed dissatisfaction over the disposition of the prosecution.
“I do not allow parties to stall trial before me. These motions have been pending for the past 90 days, yet they were not attended to by the prosecution.
“However, for the interest of justice and the circumstances the prosecution counsel have found himself, I oblige to adjourn this matter till Oct. 7 for definite hearing’’, the Judge held.
Halilu ordered that all pending preliminary objections and motions would be heard along with the substantive matter.
NAN recalls that the court on June 27 granted the defendants bail after they pleaded not guilty to the charge instituted against them.
The prosecution had maintained that the defendants allegedly committed an act punishable under Section 97 (1) and 364 of the Penal Code Act. (NAN)