ABUJA (Sundiata Post) – The Supreme Court has fixed Thursday, November 12 for hearing of appeal case of the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki challenging the legality of his trial by the Federal Government at the Code of Conduct Tribunal on false asset declaration.
This is coming on the heel of denial by his lawyers that they walked on the tribunal last Thursday to protest the alleged bias of the tribunal against their client.
The legal team denied that they staged a walk-out on the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) in Abuja to protest the alleged bias of the Chairman, Justice Danlandi Umar against Saraki.
At the resumed trial on Thursday, the three Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SAN) , namely Mahmoud Magagi, Ahmed Raji, and Saka Abimbola Isau, were said to have withdrawn their services and left the tribunal abruptly.
However, Raji SAN in a statement at the weekend, debunked claims that the Saraki Legal team walked out on the tribunal.
The SAN clarified that the legal team only sought and obtained permission to leave the tribunal pending when the issues at the Supreme Court would be settled, which he noted, was granted by the tribunal chairman.
Raji further clarified that even though he disagreed with mode of the proceedings, he has utmost respect for the Tribunal and never used the words “judicial rascality” as was being attributed to him.[pro_ad_display_adzone id=”70560″]
“My attention has been drawn to several news articles making the rounds in both the print and online media to the effect that I, Ahmed Raji, SAN, as a member of the Defence team engaged by Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki in his trial currently pending before the CCT walked out on the Tribunal following the Tribunal’s refusal to accede to our application for an adjournment of the proceedings.
“It has also been reported in the aforesaid media that the defence described the actions of the Honourable Tribunal as ‘judicial rascality’.
“I wish to use this medium to correct the said erroneous information”, he stated.
Part of the statement read: “At the resumed hearing of the case against Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki (‘Our client’) before the Code of Conduct Tribunal on the said 5th November, 2015, we, as defence counsel, notified the Tribunal that we have filed an Appeal to the Supreme Court against the decision of the Court of Appeal, wherewith we filed a Motion on Notice for Stay of Proceedings of the Tribunal pending the determination of the Appeal.
“Consequent on the foregoing, and citing a plethora of judicial authorities on the point, we respectfully urged the Tribunal to adjourn the matter pending the determination of our client’s appeal filed at the Supreme Court or in the least, to await the outcome of the Motion on Notice for Stay of Proceedings filed at the Supreme Court.”
“However, the Tribunal overruled our application and insisted on continuing with the case. At that juncture, and conscious of my responsibilities to the Defendant, I sought the leave of the Tribunal to withdraw my appearance and that of other defence counsel which was granted by the Tribunal.
“It was on that basis that I left the venue of the Tribunal’s sitting. I did not at any point use or utter the words ‘jdicial rascality'”.
Meanwhile Raji confirmed that the Supreme Court has fixed Thursday, November 12, 2015, for hearing of the application for Stay of Proceedings “which is why we had respectfully urged the tribunal to grant an adjournment”.
He added, “It is therefore not true that I walked out on the Code of Conduct Tribunal or described the tribunal’s actions as “Judicial Rascality” as widely reported. This press release is made for record purposes.”
Saraki is facing a 13-count charge on false assets declaration during the period he was the governor of Kwara State between 2003-2011.