The Code Conduct Tribunal has today issued out bench warrant against the President of Senate Dr Olubukola Abubakar Saraki for not appearing in court for the charges against him.
Delivering his ruling in Abuja, the Chairman, Hon Danladi Yakubu Umar assisted by Hon Member Agwadza William Atedze, ordered the Inspector General of Police Solomon Arase to produce Senate President, Dr Olukola Abubakar Saraki in court on Monday, 21st of September, 2015 for refusing to appear before it after being summoned by the Tribunal.
The Chairman of the Tribunal stated that on the issue of initiation of proceeding by the A. G. ‘‘we have taken the fact that there is no Attorney- General at the present time, it is our considered opinion that does not preclude or exclude any officer of law in the Federal Ministry of Justice or a statutory body from initiating or commencing criminal proceedings. In the case of this Tribunal paragraph 1of the 3rd schedule to the CCB/T Act provides the mode of instituting action before the Tribunal’’.
With regard to the issue of non-appearance of the Defendant / Respondent, the Tribunal affirmed that ‘‘it should be noted that criminal proceedings where filed at the registry of the Code of Conduct Tribunal on the 14th of September, 2015 and we observed that there is proof of service acknowledged by one Ibrahim El-Sadi Special Adviser on Legal and Constitutional matters to the Senate President who signed and collected the Tribunal’s processes on the 16th September, 2015.
Chairman Code of Conduct Tribunal also said on the issue of an existing court order barring the sitting of the Tribunal, he said it is the candid opinion of the Tribunal to reiterate the fact that the Tribunal is established as a constitutional body under S15 (1) of the 5th schedule pt 1 of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 as amended.
He further avowed that Code of Conduct Tribunal ranks and has co-ordinate jurisdiction with the Federal High Court and appeals here from lie to Court of Appeal, as contained in the Constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria of 1999 as amended.
He however ruled that Tribunal cannot accede to the request to halt proceedings, he added; ‘‘our position is further reinforce by the decision of the Court of Appeal in the case of Kalu Vs FRN (2014) 1 NWLR. ‘‘That Court that are of similar or concurrent jurisdiction are not bound to follow the decisions of each other…’’
Therefore the defendant cannot claim to be unaware of this action having been duly notified, he said. He further stated: ‘‘the dependant as a top ranking political officer of this country is expected to respect the constitutional provisions of this country which he has sworn to defend and at the same time knowing the obvious implication of breaching the laws of the country.
The tribunal assert; ‘‘In view of the non-appearance of the Defendant/Respondent the Tribunal orders the Inspector General of Police or the relevant security Agencies involved in the investigation to arrest and produce the defendant to this Tribunal.
Earlier, the prosecuting counsel M.S. Hassan, Deputy Director from the office of Attorney General and Ministry of Justice expressed surprise why the accused was not in court, according to him, the accused was adequately served with notice of the charged.
He for that reason humbly applied for warrant to be issued against the accused for not appearing, he added, because the Tribunal has the jurisdiction to entertain the matters before it. As such bench warrant be issued within two hours for the defence counsel to produce the accused person to avoid delay in the wheel of justice.
While the defence Counsel Mahmood Magaji (SAN) later joined by J. B. Daudu (SAN) prayed that the application of issuance of bench warrant be expunge, according to him is because the person making the application does not have the competency to apply even to appear before the Tribunal, because there is no incumbent sitting Attorney General of the Federation in place, he argued that his reason is already fortified in the CCB/T Act, that prosecution of all offences in this charges must be by sitting AGF.
He said I urge his lordship to expunge the appearance of the accused person on the above fact.
While J.B. Daudu (SAN) pleaded with the Tribunal to stay action because of the existing court order barring the sitting of Tribunal till Monday in order not breach the law of the land, since is just few days interval.
The case was charged against the Senate President Dr Olubukola Abubakar Saraki for concealing to declare his assets while as Governor of Kwara state, contained in filed NO: CCT/ABJ/01/2015.
Head, Press & Public Relations.