Saraki’s lawyers withdraw from fraud trial

Posted by News Express | 5 November 2015 | 2,921 times

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All lawyers representing the Senate President Bukola Saraki at the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT), where he is atanding trial on charges of alleged fraud and deceitful declaration of assets, have withdrawn from the case.

Their withdrawal follows the ruling, today by the tribunal, to continue trial, a decision which the lawyers described as “judicial rascality”.

The tribunal had based its ruling on the strength of Section 305 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act which says that a trial can be concluded and ruling reserved until all questions about the trial are answered.

Consequent upon the withdrawal of his lawyers, Dr. Saraki asked for a month to reconstitute his defence.

However, lawyer to the Federal Government, Mr. Rotimi Jacobs, kicked against it, saying that it is another way for the Senate President to “get what he wants”.

The tribunal however ruled that it will give the Senate President one week to reconstitute his legal team. The case was consequently adjourned till November 19.

Earlier, Rotimi Jacobs had notified the tribunal that the Abuja Division of the Court of Appeal had in a judgment it delivered on October 30, dismissed Dr. Saraki’s appeal against his trial.

However, the Senate President through his lawyer, Mr. Mahmud Magaji (SAN), urged the tribunal to adjourn the trial and await the decision of the appeal he has lodged before the Supreme C‎ourt.

The Senate President had appealed the judgment of the Court of Appeal, which on October 30 affirmed the jurisdiction of the CCT to try him on 13 counts of false assets declaration.

Senator Saraki also filed an application for stay of proceedings urging the Supreme Court to halt the proceedings of the Code of Conduct Tribunal to try him for the alleged offences pending when his appeal would be determined.

The Senate President raised seven grounds of appeal in his notice of appeal filed on Tuesday and attached to the application for stay of proceedings.

Dr Saraki urged the Supreme Court to set aside the judgment of the Court of Appeal, the entire proceedings of the CCT and the charges preferred against him before the Tribunal.

Mr. Saraki was arraigned September 18, but pleaded not guilty to the charges and was granted bail.

•Photo shows Bukola Saraki.

Source: News Express

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