Saraki Tries To Stop CCT Trial

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The Senate President, Senator Bukola Saraki has filed a
fresh suit before Justice Gabriel Kolawole of a 
Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, asking him to stop the ongoing
trial against him at the Code of Conduct Tribunal, on grounds that it is a breach of his fundamental right to fair hearing.

Saraki is standing trial before the tribunal over alleged
false assets declaration.
The enforcement of fundamental human rights suit, marked
FHC/ABJ/CS/117/2016, was filed by one Timipa Jenkins Okponipere on behalf of
the Senate President.
The lawyer seeks the court’s declaration that “the plan
to resume the trial of Senator Abubakar Saraki at the CCT is a breach of his
fundamental right to fair hearing as guaranteed by Section 36(1) of the 1999
Constitution (as amended).”
He also prays for an order compelling the CCT and AGF to
suspend indefinitely, any plan to resume the trial at the CCT.
Okponipere said: “Having regard to the aims and objectives of the Code
of Conduct Bureau (CCB) and its functions in sections 2 and 3 of the Code of
Conduct Bureau and Tribunal (CCBT) Act, Senator Saraki ought to have been
prosecuted by the respondents long before he returned to public life again in
2015 as an elected Senator.
“Indeed, the CCBT Act never contemplated that an
incumbent public office holder was already corrupt before he attained public
office, otherwise, people like Senator Saraki, who had a case to answer
regarding his activities between 2003 and 2011 would not have been permitted to
return to public life.
“However, four years later in 2015 Senator Saraki not
only returned to public life as a Senator, he went on to become the President
of the Senate, Chairman of the National Assembly and Nigeria’s number three
citizen
“It is nobody’s fault that the 1st and 2nd respondents
were not vigilant enough to stop or prevent Senator Sarki from attaining public
office. 
“If truly the respondents were proactive institutions of government,
they ought to have prosecuted Senator Saraki immediately after he left office
as Governor of Kwara State in 2011, but they never did.

“The failure, refusal and/or negligence of the
respondents to prosecute Senator Saraki for the offences he allegedly committed
between 2003 and 2011 before he returned again to public life as a Senator,
vitiated all his past alleged misdeeds such that, as of June 8, 2015 when he
was inaugurated as a Senator, he was assumed to be a public office holder
without blemish in the eyes of the law and in the eyes of the respondents,
otherwise they would have long since initiated proceedings against him.
“The subsequent attempt to put Senator Saraki on trial
over offences allegedly committed between 2003 and 2011 are not only tainted
with political mischief and desperation, they constitute a breach of his
fundamental right to fair hearing”.
In response to the suit, the Attorney General of the
Federation (AGF), in a notice of preliminary objection, said the suit lacks
merit and urged the court to dismiss it.
The AGF noted that the subject matter of the suit does not
fall within the provisions of chapter four of the Constitution, which contains
the guaranteed fundamental human rights.

The case has been adjourned to November 16, 2016.

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