The Senate President, Bukola Saraki, has formally filed an appeal at the Supreme Court over the judgment of the Court of Appeal in Abuja which last week dismissed his application seeking to stop his trial before the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) on the 13-count charge bordering on false asset declaration.
Saraki in the latest appeal is seeking a stay of proceedings, urging the apex court to halt the proceedings of the CCT to try him for the alleged offences.
The Senate President through his lead counsel, Joseph Daudu (SAN), had in his notice of appeal attached to the application for stay of proceedings raised a seven-point grounds upon which the Supreme Court, should set aside the judgment of the appellate court, and as well as the charges preferred against him by the CCT.
Part of the appeal read: “An order staying further proceedings in Charge No: CCT/ABJ/01/2015 between Federal Republic of Nigeria vs Dr. Olubukola Abubakar Saraki fixed for hearing on November 5 and 6, 2015 pending the determination of the appeal pending before the Supreme Court against the judgment of the Court of Appeal dated October 30, 2015.”
Saraki further argued in the appeal that the appellate court erred in law when it affirmed the competence of the proceedings of the CCT, which sat on the said case with only two members as against the three provided for in the provisions of Paragraph 15(1) of the Fifth Schedule to the 1999 Constitution.
He also faulted the split decision of the appeal court where it held that there was a lacuna regarding the quorum of the tribunal.
The Senate President noted that the application of the Interpretation Act to hold that two out of three members of the tribunal could validly sit “is to circumvent and reduce the number prescribed by the constitution for the due composition of the CCT.”
Arguing further, Saraki faulted the majority decision of the Appeal Court where it held that the CCT was a court of limited criminal jurisdiction and that the charges were validly initiated in the absence of the Attorney-General of the Federation.
He accused also frowned at the decision of the appellate court which held that he was properly served with the charges when only his legal team had only filed a conditional appearance before a bench warrant was issued against him by the CCT.
According to him, the appeal court judgment erred in law by refusing to hold that the tribunal violated the order of the Federal High Court (FHC) in Abuja which he said ordered the tribunal to appear before the court to show cause why its proceedings against Saraki should not be halted.
The Senate President also maintained that the appeal court erred in law when it held that the Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015 was applicable to the tribunal.
The Court of Appeal had by a split judgment of two-to-one, dismissed Saraki’s appeal against the ruling of the Justice Umar Danladi-led tribunal in which it affirmed its jurisdiction to hear the charges against the Senate President.
At the judgment on October 30, the presiding judge, Justice Moore Adumein and Justice Mohammed Mustapha dismissed the appeal for lacking merit, while Justice Joseph Ekanem in his dissenting judgment upheld the appeal and discharged the Senate President of the trial before the CCT.