The Supreme Court on Thursday ordered the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) to stay proceedings in the case of Bukola Saraki, the President of Senate, pending the determination of appeal.
Saraki, arraigned on a 13-count criminal charge, is challenging the jurisdiction of the tribunal to try him.
In his ruling, Justice John Fabiyi, who led four-man panel of justices, ordered Justice Danladi Umar-led tribunal to suspend further hearing in the matter.
Fabiyi held that the stay of proceeding was to enable the apex hear and determine the substantive appeal brought by Saraki.
In a unanimous ruling, the apex court held that “it is imperative to state that all the parties, including the Code of Conduct Tribunal, should tarry a while to enable this court to determine the appeal before it.
“In effect, further proceeding at the CCT should be stayed pending the hearing of the appeal. Hearing date will be communicated to all the parties,’’ Fabiyi held.
The court, however, gave both parties seven-days each to file and served their briefs in other to ensure that the matter receive accelerated hearing.
Earlier, the Prosecuting Counsel, Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), gave an undertaking that the Federal Government would not do anything until the Supreme Court had made final decision on the appeal.
Jacobs urged the court to give the matter accelerated hearing in line with Section 306 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015.
He specifically said Section 306 of the Act has removed the discretional and inherent powers of any court, including the Supreme Court to grant a stay of proceeding in a criminal matter.
According to him, the motive of the legislature in enacting the ACJA is to put to an end to the usual delay suffered in the prosecution of criminal matters, which has led to inability of the authority to curb corruption.
Jacobs, however, appealed to the justices not to render Section 306 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015 nugatory.
He submitted that the decision of the apex court might not augur well, especially in the trial courts where such decision could be abused to grant stay of proceedings even when there was no need for such.
Earlier, Joseph Daudu (SAN), Counsel to Saraki, urged the apex court to stop the proceedings at the CCT pending the determination of the appeal.
Daudu told the court that the appellant was challenging the jurisdiction of tribunal and the legality of his trial at the tribunal.
He also argued that that the tribunal was not properly constituted by three-man panel as required by law.
The appellant’s counsel urged the court to put the trial at the CCT on hold, pending the determination of the appeal.