Thursday, October 27, 2016 3:48 pm
The Court of Appeal in Abuja on Thursday struck out an appeal by the Senate President, Bukola Saraki challenging his alleged impropriety trial at the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT).
In a considered judgment, Justice Abdul Aboki led other four justices of the court to hold that the appeal lacked merit.
Saraki is standing trial on allegations of false asset declaration.
Aboki said the appellant erroneously held that the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) should have accorded him the right to enter a “written admission’’ on the oversight noticed in his Asset Declaration forms.
“The Section 3(d) of the Code of Conduct Bureau does not compel the Federal Government to give such action notice to suspects who failed to properly declare their assets.
“Persons charged for breaching any provisions of the Bureau are expected to file responses as evidence before the tribunal.
“In this respect, the Attorney General of the Federation has not erred in any ways for preferring charges against the appellant without prior notice,’’ Aboki held.
On whether the AGF’s mandates include bringing actions against alleged offenders of CCB’s Act, Aboki held in the affirmative, adding that an officer from the office could be mandated to also perform that role.
“The highest court in the land had decided on this very issue and as a lower court it is mandated to align with the decision precedent.
“The AGF, who is the Minister of Justice has the requisite right as provided by the 1999 Constitution to bring charges against anyone who allegedly breached federal laws or delegate such powers,’’ he said.
Aboki also dismissed the appellant’s argument that the tribunal departed from its earlier decision freeing ex-governor Bola Tinubu on account that he (Tinubu) was not invited by the CCB.
The judge held that the courts were not sentimental about cases before them, adding that the tribunal was right to approach the two cases differently.
He also held that the fact that the charges were initiated 13 years after the offences were allegedly committed did not make any less potent.
“It is clear that the appeal lacks the basic substance to give it any life, it is therefore struck out for want of merit,’’ he said.
The appellate court also struck out a cross-appeal filed by the Senate President seeking for outright quashing of the charges against him.
NAN recalls that this is the second time the appeal court would be delivering judgment on the same subject matter of jurisdiction of the CCT to try Saraki.
The Court of Appeal had last year ruled against Saraki on the jurisdiction which was validated by the Supreme Court in February.