Code of Conduct: Tribunal fixes Oct 5 to rule on Saraki’s fresh motion to stop trial
The Code of Conduct Tribunal, CCT, sitting in Abuja, has fixed October 5 to deliver ruling on the fresh motion seeking to suspend hearing on the 16-count criminal charge pending against the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki.
The Federal Government had alleged that Saraki made false/anticipatory declaration of assets, operated foreign accounts while in office as Kwara State governor between 2003 and 2011, as well as collected governorship salary four years after his tenure had elapsed.
FG had on April 6, opened its case by calling its first witness, Mr. Michael Wetkas, a detective with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, to testify before the tribunal.
Wetkas was the head of a three-man crack team the anti-graft agency constituted in 2014 to investigate six separate petitions against Saraki.
Meanwhile, after cross-examining the star witness for twelve days, Saraki, through his team of lawyers led by Chief Kanu Agabi, SAN, asked Justice Danladi Umar who is Chairman of the CCT, to disqualify himself from the trial.
Saraki maintained that remarks the judge made in the open court clearly portrayed his bias against him.
He said the judge had in the course of the proceeding, threatened to ensure he faced the full consequences of the charge, despite whatever delay tactics he chose to employ in the course of the trial.
Saraki insisted that the statement eroded confidence he had in the ability of Justice Umar to grant him fair hearing.
He therefore prayed Umar to suspend further hearing and hands-off the matter.
However, government lawyer, Mr. Rotimi Jacobs, SAN, urged the tribunal to dismiss the motion as an abuse of judicial process.
Jacobs contended that the motion was a deliberate ploy by the defendant to stall his trial.
Meantime, the CCT, on Monday, said it has also fixed September 21 to deliver judgement on charge the Federal Government preferred against the former Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Elder Godsday Orubebe.
Orubebe is facing a one-count amended charge over allegation that he failed to declare his ownership of a at Plot 2057 Asokoro District, Abuja.
According to a press statement signed by Head, Press & Public Relations at the CCT, Mr. Ibraheem Al-Hassan, the CCT chairman, Justice Umar okayed the matter for judgment in a notice signed by a Principal Registrar, Victor Isibor, for Director Legal Services Department.
The notice dated August 17, contained sittings scheduled by the tribunal for months of September and October.