Why latest Saraki assets trial was adjourned to March 24th

The Saraki Code of Conduct Tribunal on Friday,  March 18 adjourned  till Thursday, March 24. Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Saraki is facing a 13 counts of false declarations of assets while he was the governor of Kwara state. He was represented by 80 lawyers, among whom six were Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SAN). Rotimi Jacobs, the counsel to federal government, however argued that the motion was not ready for hearing.

He added that the application should have come at the end of the trial, and not at the beginning of it. “We urge your lordship to call us to present out witnesses, and rule that the application wait until the end of the trial,” he said. Kanu Agabi, counsel to Saraki on the other hand, asked the tribunal to give room for the hearing of the motion, stating that it was
in line with the law. “Our motion is according to the law. Our motion should not be dismissed as frivolous,” he said. After listening to the preliminary argument for and against the hearing of the motion, Danladi Umar, the judge, told Agabi that it is in their view that the court is ready for hearing due to its importance. Moving the motion, Agabi stated that the attorney-general of the federation had no power to enter a charge against the senate president, hence the tribunal has no jurisdiction to entertain the charges against him. 

Agabi added that his client, Saraki, was not given a chance to explain himself by the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) on the charges before they were filed against him as there were no doucuments to that effect. He said instead,the tribunal was relying on a petition to hear the charges against him. “The bureau is supposed to deliver to your lordship the report of an investigation it carried out. Where is it? The Code of Conduct Bureau is not here,” he said. “The law says the bureau will refer cases to this tribunal. Where is the reference letter?” However, Agabi said that other people like Bola Tinubu, national leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), were invited by the CCB before charges were filed against them, but in the case of Saraki that did not happen. In response, Rotimi Jacobs said that the motion was an abuse of court process because the supreme court had already settled some of the issues raised by the defendant and urged the court to strike out the application. In the same vein, at the hearing of the case on March 11, Jacobs had told the judge that he was ready to present his witnesses. But Agabi told the court that there was a motion that must be ruled on before the commencement of trial.

 Jacobs had described it as a deliberate attempt to scuttle this trial. He argued that the defence counsel was employing tactical means to stop the trial. But Agabi apologised to Jacobs for not serving him the motion personally, and asked for the indulgence of the court because he was new to the case. After listening to the arguments of both counsel, Danladi admitted that Agabi was new to the case, and should be granted more time to prepare. Saraki has been charged with 13 counts of false declarations of assets while he was the governor of Kwara state

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