Court dismisses Saraki’s appeal against CCT
The Abuja Division of the Court of Appeal has again declared that the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) has prosecutorial power to try Senate President Bukola Saraki on charges of false assets declaration brought against him by the Federal Government.
In a lead judgment delivered by Justice Abdul Aboki, yesterday, the appellate court held that the major issues raised by Saraki challenging his trial at the CCT had been overtaken by events.
The court affirmed the CCT’s jurisdiction and dismissed the appeal by Saraki in which he challenged the legality of his trial before the tribunal.
All four other members of the judicial panel unanimously agreed with the lead judgment delivered by Aboki, who resolved all eight issues formulated for determination against the appellant.
While affirming the earlier ruling of the CCT chairman, Danladi Yakubu Umar, that the CCT had power to prosecute the Senate President as charged, Aboki held that contrary to Saraki’s contention, the Attorney General of the Federation had power to institute charges against him before the CCT.
The appeal court also held that under the Constitution, the CCT was not under any obligation to invite the appellant, to enable him make written admission of breaches in his asset declaration forms before charges could be initiated against him.
The court held that the tribunal had rightly departed from its earlier decision in which it discharged a former governor of Lagos State and national leader of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Ahmed Tinubu, on account that he was not invited by the CCT and confronted with the allegations leveled against him.
Aboki said the CCT erred in law when it discharged Tinubu on the ground that he was not invited to make written statement before he was charged to court, adding that the CCT had, in subsequent judgments after Tinubu’s matter, corrected itself.
The court also held that the fact that the charges were initiated against Saraki, 13 years after the offences were allegedly committed, was immaterial, and could not be a ground to invalidate the charge.
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