The Supreme Court has ordered the Code of Conduct Bureau to put the trial of the President of the Senate, Abubakar Bukola Saraki, by the Code of Conduct Tribunal on hold.
The Justice John Fabiyi-led five-man panel of the apex court followed an undertaking by the counsel of the Federal Government’s Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), that the proceedings of the tribunal be halted if Saraki’s appeal is given an accelerated hearing by the apex court.
Saraki’s lead counsel, Mr. Joseph Daudu (SAN), had argued for stay of the CCT’s proceedings. In a unanimous decision read by Justice Fabiyi, the apex court ordered the tribunal “to tarry awhile.” He ordered Jacobs to file his response to Saraki’s appellant’s brief served in court today within seven days.
The Supreme Court also said Daudu can file further response to Jacobs’ brief if he so desired within seven days thereafter.
Justice Fabiyi said the date for the hearing of the appeal would be communicated to parties later. By this order from the apex court, the tribunal can no longer sit on the case which was already adjourned till November 19.
Saraki had appealed to the Supreme Court against the October 30, 2015 judgment of the Court of Appeal which affirmed the competence of the charges instituted against him and the jurisdiction of the CCT to try him.
Some lawyers, who appeared for Saraki at the tribunal on November 5, stormed out of the courtroom in protest against a ruling of the CCT, led by Danladi Umar, rejecting their request to adjourn the trial indefinitely because of the pending appeal before the Supreme Court describing the tribunal decision as judicial rascality.
A two-to-one split decision of the Court of Appeal in Abuja had on October 30 dismissed Saraki’s appeal against the competence of the tribunal and the charges against him.
In his substantive appeal to the Supreme Court against the appeal court judgment, Saraki maintained that the panel of the CCT was not well constituted because it comprised two members instead of three provided for by law.
He also, among other grounds, argued that the charges against him were incompetent since they were filed in the absence of the Attorney-General of the Federation.