Tribunal orders Saraki to appear Tuesday

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The Code of Conduct Tribunal has ruled that the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, must appear before it Tuesday, to face a 13-count charge of alleged corruption.

The senate president failed to appear before the tribunal during the sitting, despite an arrest warrant issued against him by the tribunal last Friday.

Saraki is facing charges on corruption and false assets declaration.

The tribunal commenced the trial last Friday but the senate president failed to show up. Saraki was represented by his counsel, a former president of the Nigeria Bar Association, Joseph Daudu.

Chairman of the Tribunal, Justice Danladi Umar, had last Friday, owing to SARAKI’s failure to appear, ordered the Inspector General of Police, Solomon Arase, to effect the arrest of the senate president and produce him before the Tribunal on Monday.

To stave off his arrest, Saraki’s lawyers immediately filed a suit at the Court of Appeal for a stay of execution.

Despite the appeal, the Tribunal resumed the trial on Monday without the senate president appearing.

At the hearing, Mr. Saraki’s lawyers objected to the sitting contending that the Tribunal was incompetently constituted.

They argued that the 1999 Constitution provided that the Tribunal can only sit with three of its members, namely the chairman and two members present as against two – chairman and one member – which was the case when the trial resumed.

However,  Umar responded by referring to the Interpretation Act, which says the chairman and one member could sit during any trial.

The police had said weekend that it did not receive any order on Friday requesting it to arrest Mr. Saraki.

Meanwhile, the embattled senate president, Bukola Saraki,  has approached the Court of Appeal to compel the Code of Conduct Tribunal to stay action on an order it made Friday for his arrest.

Saraki had on Thursday obtained a Federal High Court order directing that the case against him to be halted.

The appeal was filed Monday morning, according to the senate president’s media adviser, Yusuph Olaniyonu.

He said the processes have now been served on the Code of Conduct Tribunal.

“They (Tribunal) are now aware that an appeal has been filed,” Olaniyonu said.

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