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Supreme Court halts CCT trial of Senate President, Saraki

Senate President, Bukola Saraki
Senate President, Bukola Saraki

The Supreme Court, Thursday, ordered the suspension of the trial of the embattled Senate President, Bukola Saraki, at the Code of Conduct Tribunal until his appeal case before the court is concluded.

The Senate President’s trial at the CCT was set to resume on November 19, when he is expected to present new counsels in his defence following the reported ‘walk out’ on the Tribunal staged by his previous counsels.

With the suspension of his trial at the CCT, respite may have come for the embattled senator who is facing a 13-count charge at the tribunal for offences including corruption, money laundering and false declaration of assets preferred against him by the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB). He, however, denies the allegation of false asset declaration and graft.

Thursday’s Supreme Court ruling also said the corruption case against Mr. Saraki “should tarry a while” pending the conclusion of an appeal he brought before it, while it also assured of a speedy conclusion of the matter.

It would be recalled that 2 previous High Courts and a Court of Appeal had earlier rejected Saraki’s request to quash the trials.

The Court of Appeal in Abuja had late last month dismissed an appeal by the Senate President, seeking to quash corruption charges brought by the Code of Conduct Bureau against him.

The appeal court by the ruling upheld the authority of the Code of Conduct Tribunal to try Mr. Saraki.

Saraki had challenged the jurisdiction of the tribunal and had asked the Court of Appeal to nullify the trial which is set to begin next week.

The Court of Appeal ruled that the “The CCT is a court of criminal jurisdiction, albeit limited jurisdiction”.

It added: “There is no inherent difference between a court and a tribunal. The only difference is that tribunals in most cases handle special cases”.

The three-member panel of judges, led by Moore Adumein, also affirmed that the tribunal was properly constituted- another kernel of Mr. Saraki’s suit.

While, Justice Moore Adumein and Justice A Mustapha ruled to quash the appeal, Justice E Ekanem disagreed with the lead judgment.

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