The Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) has granted the application of the prosecution counsel and issued a bench warrant for the Inspector General of Police and other relevant security agencies to produce Senate President Bukola Saraki before it next Monday, September 21.
Despite the court injunction purportedly obtained by Saraki at the Federal High Court in Abuja, the CCT proceeded with its prosecution.
Its counsel, Muslim Hassan, asked the court for the warrant of arrest on the embattaled Senate President as a consequence for his absence at the hearing.
Despite the court injunction purportedly obtained by the embattled Senate President, Bukola Saraki at the Federal High Court in Abuja, the Code of Conduct has proceeded with the proceedings just as prosecution counsel, Muslim Hassan asked the court to issue a warrant of arrest on the Saraki for his absent in court.
The Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) has granted the application of the prosecution counsel and issued a bench warrant on the accused and asked the Inspector General of Police and other relevant security agencies to produce him to appear to before it on Monday 21st September.
According to him, the accused person must be in court and the charges will be read to him before the court can take his plea saying the summons has been served on the accused person but failed to appear in court. He said that the court is a competent court charging the accused for flagrant disobedience of court order. He maintained that power to initiate criminal proceedings is not limited to the Attorney General of the Federation as raised by Senator Saraki’s defense counsel challenging his competence and locus standi to initiate such proceeding.
"Any law officer in the office of the Attorney General of Federation is eminently qualified to initiate such proceeding.” Citing Section 160 of the Constitution said that the power to the Attorney General is not exclusive and constitution does create a vacuum. He insisted that he was competent to initiate the proceedings.
He said that Senator Saraki failed to secure the injunction to stop the trial from Federal High Court and wanted the tribunal to grant him same, saying the court should not accede to such application. He submitted that Federal High Court does have supervisory power to stop the Code of Conduct Tribunal from performing its constitutional duty but can only exercise such power on inferior tribunal.
He argued that Senator Saraki cannot stay in the comfort of his house and challenge the order and power of the tribunal, therefore is requesting the court to issue a warrant of arrest to compel Senator Saraki to appear in court.
The Defense Counsel, Mahmud Abubakar Magaji, argued that there must be an incumbent Attorney General in line with the section 24 sub section 2 of the 1999 Constitution as amended. He said that it is only Attorney General of the Federation that have such power to initiate such criminal proceeding and exercise the power of Nolle Prosequi.
He submitted that the application sought for by the prosecution counsel was a nullity and should be expunged as you cannot put something on nothing and expected it to stand.
In his own submission the Lead Defense Counsel, Joseph Dawodu, appealed to the tribunal to postpone till Monday as stated in the injunction obtained from the Federal High Court to allow the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) , Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) and Ministry of Justice to appear before the court to determine the jurisdiction of the charge before they can they can proceed with the case.
"Further hearing of this matter will amount to disobeying the order of the Federal High Court".
The Chairman of the Tribunal, Danladi Umar, after listening to the both sides of argument, adjourned for 2 hours to rule on the application for warrant of arrest and the application to stop the proceeding.
The CCB had filed charges against Saraki bordering on false and improper declaration of assets allegedly acquired during his tenure as governor of Kwara State from 2003-2011.