The Code of Conduct Tribunal on Friday formally opened its prosecution of the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, over alleged corruption, brushing aside a Federal High Court order seeking to stop the case.
The prosecution counsel, Muslim Hassan, asked the tribunal to order the arrest of Mr. Saraki for failing to appear before it.
Mr. Hassan faulted the Federal High Court for granting the ex parte motion in an attempt to halt the prosecution of Mr. Saraki.
He argued that the high court had coordinate jurisdiction with the tribunal and as such, had no powers to halt trial of the tribunal.
Mr. Saraki’s lawyer, Joseph Daudu, however, prayed the tribunal to adjourn the case until after the Federal High Court sitting on Monday.
The chairman of the tribunal, Umar Danladi, adjourned the case till 1.30 p.m. for a decision to be taken.
The Code of Conduct Bureau had slammed a 13-count charge of corruption on Mr. Saraki.
In charge number ABT/01/15, dated September 11 and filed before the Code of Conduct Tribunal, Mr. Saraki is accused of offences ranging from anticipatory declaration of assets to making false declaration of assets in forms he filed before the Code of Conduct Bureau while he was governor of Kwara state.
According to the charges, exclusively published by PREMIUM TIMES Wednesday, the Senate President is also accused of failing to declare some assets he acquired while in office as governor.
Among other offences, including allegedly acquiring assets beyond his legitimate earnings, Mr. Saraki is also accused of operating foreign accounts while being a public officer – governor and senator.
The offences, the charge said, violated sections of the Fifth Schedule of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999, as amended.
Mr. Saraki is also said to have breached Section 2 of the Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act and punishable under paragraph 9 of the said Fifth Schedule of the Constitution.
The charges were prepared by M.S. Hassan, a deputy director in the office of the Attorney General of the Federation. It is not clear on Wednesday morning whether the document had been served on Mr. Saraki, Nigeria’s number three man.
Mr. Saraki dismissed the charges as “false and frivolous”.
“… Those behind this plot will definitely meet Dr. Saraki in court as this case, which is based on outright fabrication and mischief, will not and cannot stand the test of justice,” Mr. Saraki said in a statement.