Senate President Bukola Saraki on Thursday again lost out in his bid to quash his trial by the Code of Conduct Tribunal as the Court of Appeal, Abuja Division, turned down his appeal to stop the CCT from prosecuting him for alleged infraction.
The appellate court affirmed the ruling of the tribunal to the effect that the CCT has the jurisdiction to try him on charges of false assets declaration brought against him by the federal government.
In the lead judgment delivered by Justice Abdul Aboki, the court held that the major issues raised by Saraki had been overtaken by events.
Four other members of the panel unanimously agreed with the lead judgment delivered by Aboki who resolved all the eight issues formulated for determination against Saraki.
While affirming the earlier ruling of the CCT Chairman, Mr. Danladi Umar, that the CCT had power to prosecute the Senate president as charged, Aboki held among others that contrary to Saraki’s contention, the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) has the power to institute charges against him before the tribunal.
The appeal court also held that under the constitution, the CCB was not under any obligation to invite the appellant to enable him to make written admission of breaches in his asset declaration forms before charges could be initiated against him.
The court held that the tribunal had rightly departed from its earlier decision in which it wrongly discharged a former Governor of Lagos State and National Leader of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Mr. Bola Tinubu, on account that he was not invited by the CCB and was not confronted with allegations levelled against him.
Aboki said the CCT erred in law when it discharged Tinubu on the ground that he was not invited to make a written statement before he was charged to court, adding that the CCT had in subsequent judgments after Tinubu’s case corrected itself.
The court also held that the fact that the charges were initiated against Saraki 13 years after the offences were allegedly committed was immaterial and could not be a ground to invalidate the charge.
Aboki said the contention was sentimental and that no court would go into sentimental issues that had no bearing on the law.
This was the second time the appeal court would deliver judgment on the same subject matter of jurisdiction of the CCT to try the Senate president.
The court had last year ruled against Saraki on the jurisdiction of the CCT and asked him to proceed to face the 16-count charge preferred against him.
The judgment of the appeal court was validated by the Supreme Court in February this year prompting the resumption of his trial at the CCT.
Meanwhile, a marketing Consultant, Brian e Ebden, has risen in defence of Information Minister Lai Mohammed over allegations trailing him that he appropriated the ‘Change Begins with Me Idea’.
Mohammed has received bashing on the social media by some who claimed the idea launched with pomp and circumstance by President Mohammadu Buhari on Thursday in Abuja did not belong to him.
“I read with utter shock and disbelief the reported claim by some people that the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, stole their concept of ‘CHANGE BEGINS WITH ME’, which was launched by the President on Thursday, 8th Sept. 2016. This is nothing but sheer lies and blackmail,” he said.
“The facts are that as a marketing communications consultant, I, together with the advertising agency Centerspread, were contacted a week after Alhaji Lai Mohammed was nominated as Minister by the President to attend a brainstorming workshop on Thursday 8th October 2015 at the White House Hotel in Ikeja.