BY OBUTE JAMES
The Code of Conduct Tribunal on Thursday dismissed an application by the Senate President, Bukola Saraki to , quash false asset declaration and corruption charges against him.
In his ruling, Justice Danladi Umar cited relevant sections of the constitution empowering the Tribunal to hear matters of such nature, stating that the principle of fair hearing had been exhaustively applied to both parties, hence, Defence Counsel, Kanu Agabi’s motion on the question of jurisdiction of the Code of Conduct Tribunal, despite Supreme Court’s ruling on the same matter was unnecessary.
Justice Danladi on why he knocked out Agabi’s argument said that the investigation report that Saraki was being charged for was both carried out by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and the Federal Ministry of Justice and in such a situation, the Attorney General of the Federation could initiate proceedings.
Mr. Saraki’s lawyer, Kanu Agabi, had argued that the 13-count charge was invalid procedurally because the Code of Conduct Bureau which filed the charges, failed to allow Mr. Saraki explain discrepancies in his assets declaration forms as required by law.
Danladi Umar, said there was no breach of law as the Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act, 1989, still allows the senate president raise his clarifications at the level of the tribunal.
Mr. Danladi said by law, the CCB could receive complaints of breach of the Act and refer such complaints to the Tribunal, provided that it will allow the person involved to give a statement affirming or denying the said misconduct.
Also, upholding the argument made by the prosecution, Mr. Umar said Section 3 (e) of the 3rd schedule of the 1999 Constitution gives the bureau the right to receive complaints of such nature and where necessary refer such matter to the tribunal.
Invoking section 174 of the Constitution of the federal Republic of Nigeria, Justice Danladi reminded both Counsels that the Attorney General of the Federation who is the Chief law officer has powers to take over criminal proceeding against anyone, thus, if such was was to be applied in this circumstance, the federal government has not erred in law in Saraki’s trial before the Code of Conduct Tribunal.
Citing section 3 of the Constitution of the federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 as amended and other extant laws, Danladi opined that it was an affront on the nation that a suspect seeks to evade Justice when the issues bothers on corruption and abuse of office.
Justice Danladi ordered the continuation of the trial as charged – Thelegislature.net