One of the sources disclosed that the appellate court justices would deliver a judgment as early as 2 p.m. today ordering immediate discontinuation of Mr. Saraki’s trial for corruption.
One of our two sources stated that a former Justice of the Supreme Court, Alfa Belgore, had been working behind the scenes to arrange a verdict by the Court of Appeal to the effect that Mr. Saraki’s trial by the Code of Conduct Tribunal in Abuja was irregular and a violation of the senator’s fundamental rights, and must cease.
Last Friday, Justices M.A.A. Adumien, J.E. Ekanem and M. Mustapha adjourned ruling in the matter till today. Mr. Saraki’s lawyers had asked the justices to determine that the tribunal lacked jurisdiction to try former Governor Saraki for failure to declare his assets as provided for by the Code of Conduct law for public officers.
Mr. Saraki was arraigned on September 22, 2015 after he tried unsuccessfully to use the Federal High Court and the Court of Appeal to thwart his arraignment. Our sources stated that retired Justice Belgore has had success as the embattled senator’s emissary in persuading the Appeal Court to scuttle the trial.
“The haste with which the Court of Appeal justices have handled Dr. Saraki’s case is surprising since the Code of Conduct Tribunal has not even begun his trial,” said a lawyer familiar with the drama surrounding the widely watched case.
Mr. Saraki is scheduled to return to the Code of Conduct Tribunal on Wednesday to face federal prosecutors who maintain that they have overwhelming evidence against him.