Controversy as appeal court, sitting in Abuja, on Monday reserved judgment on the appeal filed by the President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, challenging the jurisdiction of the Code of Conduct Tribunal to try him over false declaration of assets.
The court had fixed today (Monday, October 19) for judgment.
But when parties arrived the court Monday, they were reportedly told judgment was not ready, and the court therefore failed to sit.
The counsel to the respondent, Rotimi Jacobs, SAN, told PREMIUM TIMES parties were told judgment was not ready and that they would be given a new date for hearing.
Mr. Saraki’s lead counsel, Joseph Daudu, SAN, told PREMIUM TIMES the development was strange.
“They said they will deliver the judgment when they are ready.”
“We were here in the morning and they said they will read the judgment. When we got there at 2pm, they said they will read the judgment when they are ready,” he said.
“But we know the judgment is ready, it is a strange situation.”
However, counsel to the respondent, Rotimi Jacobs, said his team was not privy to any information relating to the readiness of the judgment.
“What we were told is that the judgment is not ready and the court says they will give us a date when it is ready,” he said.
The appeal was filed on October 6 by Mr. Saraki’s lawyer, J.B.L Ufoh, challenging the jurisdiction of the Code of Conduct Tribunal to proceed with hearings on Mr. Saraki’s case.
Mr. Ufor had told the appellate court the tribunal ought to have stayed proceedings when it got an order from a Federal High Court directing it to do so.
He argued that the CCT was not a superior court to the Federal High Court, and therefore urged the court to set aside all proceedings, including the charge against Mr. Saraki on the grounds that the tribunal was not properly constituted.
Counsel to the respondent, Rotimi Jacobs, however made a counter appeal in a brief filed on October 12, stating that there was no order by the Federal High Court compelling the Code of Conduct Tribunal not to sit.
Mr. Jacobs insisted that the law was being misinterpreted and urged Justices M.A.A Adumien, J.E Ekanem and M. Mustapha to dismiss the appeal as “it lacked merit”.