The Senate President Dr Bukola Saraki has lost a bid to stop his trial at the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT).
In a ruling on Thursday, The Chairman of the Tribunal, Danladi Umar, dismissed the application filed by the senate president to quash the charges of false declaration of assets brought against him by the federal government.
On March 18, Umar fixed March 24 for ruling on the application.
Rotimi Jacobs, counsel for the federal government, had argued that the application was unripe for hearing.
He said that it should have come at the end of the trial, and not at the beginning of it.
“We urge your lordship to call us to present out witnesses, and rule that the application waits until the end of the trial,” he had prayed the tribunal.
But Kanu Agabi, counsel to Saraki, had asked the tribunal to give room for the hearing of the motion, stating that it was in line with the law.
“Our motion is according to the law. Our motion should not be dismissed as frivolous,” he had said.
After listening to the preliminary argument for and against the hearing of the motion, Umar, the judge had told Agabi: “It is our view that we are ready for hearing of the motion because jurisdiction is important. You can proceed.”
Moving the motion, Agabi stated that the attorney-general of the federation had no power to enter a charge against the senate president, hence, the tribunal had no jurisdiction to entertain the charges against him.
He posited that his client was not given a chance to explain himself by the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) on the charges before they were filed against him.
He also said that there was no document before the CCT to show that Saraki committed the alleged offence, but that the tribunal was relying on a petition to hear the charges against him.
“The bureau is supposed to deliver to your lordship the report of an investigation it carried out. Where is it? The Code of Conduct Bureau is not here,” he had said.
“The law says the bureau will refer cases to this tribunal. Where is the reference letter?”
Agabi said that other people like Bola Tinubu, national leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), were invited by the CCB before charges were filed against them, but that Saraki was not given such a chance.
“Strike out this charge and let’s go home,” he said.