The Code of Conduct Tribunal has fixed March 24 to rule whether or not the Attorney-General of the Federation has the power to institute a charge before the Tribunal.
The President of the Senate, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, filed the application to challenge the statutory power of the AGF to file charges bordering on false asset declaration against him before the CCT.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the AGF had initiated a 13-count charge against Saraki, which he had pleaded not guilty to.
In a fresh application, Saraki contended that only the Code of Conduct Bureau has the power to initiate charges before the tribunal and not the AGF.
Saraki’s lawyer, Kanu Agabi (SAN), a former AGF, submitted that the application raised fresh issues aside the issues that had been determined by the Supreme Court.
Agabi argued that failure of the CCB to initiate the charge against his client amounted to failure of the charge.
According to him, the charge was not competent and should be struck out.
In his argument, counsel to the Federal Government, Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), said the application could be heard side by side the substantive case to avoid delay.
Jacobs argued that the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015 frowns at any frivolous application to delay criminal trial.
He submitted that the application was a clear abuse of court process because the issue raised had been determined by the apex court.
Jacobs contended that the AGF being the chief law officer of the country has the power to initiate criminal proceedings against any offender including Saraki, at any court or tribunal.
He added that it was embarrassing for the defence to say that the AGF does not have power to initiate charges against the defendant.
The prosecution cited cases of Joshua Dariye and Jeremiah Useni, which were initiated by Agabi as the then AGF.
Jacobs maintained that section 150 of the constitution empowers the AGF to initiate criminal proceedings against any persons in any court or tribunal.
Jacobs therefore urged the tribunal to dismiss the application for being “frivolous, baseless and lacking merit”.
The Chairman of the tribunal, Justice Umar Danladi, adjourned the case for ruling.