Thursday, 5 November 2015

Breaking News: Saraki's Counsel Resigns From CCT Trial

Ahmed Mogaji, the Senate President’s counsel, has resigned from defending Senator Saraki at the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT).

According to Daily Post, Mogaji had urged the tribunal to suspend further hearing on the matter pending the Supreme Court’s decision on the matter, but his argument was opposed by the prosecution, Rotimi Jacobs.

The counsel, in his reaction to the new development, resigned from his post as the defense counsel, leaving the former governor to ‘shop’ for a new legal consultant ahead of the next hearing.

The case has since been adjourned to November 18 and 19 for further hearing.

Earlier in the day, Saraki appeared at the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) for his ongoing trial with several senators.

The former governor who pleaded ‘not guilty’ to the 13-count charge against him, was accompanied to the tribunal Thursday morning by several senators.

The case against him was read after the arrival of the chairman of the tribunal, Umar Danladi.

Chat212 correspondent at the tribunal reports that the counsel to the federal government, Rotimi Williams (SAN), while reacting to the plea by the defendant’s counsel that the tribunal should postpone the trial to another date, stated that the decision of the court of appeal shall be enforced by relevant bodies including the tribunal.

He said: “The decision of the court of appeal is binding on all parties.”

Meanwhile, it was gathered that photojournalists were not allowed to record or take pictures of proceedings at the tribunal.

It was reported earlier that the Nigerian Senate had shutdown today’s plenary in order for the senators to support their leader.

However, Daily Post reports that Saraki had adjourned sitting to November 10, a situation which Senator Dino Melaye explained was to enable adhoc committees work on their reports.

He said: “The sitting was adjourned to Tuesday to enable four adhoc committees complete their reports and submit next week.”

But, facts have now emerged over the real reason for the action of the upper chamber of the National Assembly, as it was gathered that the senators will be at the CCT trial with their leader, to offer him moral support.

Saraki’s case at the tribunal borders on allegations of foreign accounts ownership when he was the governor of Kwara state and transferred the sum of $73, 223.28 from his GTB domiciliary account to an American Express account.

The senate president was also alleged to have made false assets declaration during his stay as the governor, in respect of some Lagos properties.

Saraki has already pleaded ‘not guilty’ to the 13-count criminal charge preferred against him by the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) over alleged false assets declaration, and the Chairman of the Code of Conduct Tribunal, Justice Danladi Umar had adjourned till November 5 and 6.

This was to enable the tribunal await the judgment of the Appeal Court, where Saraki had challenged the jurisdiction of the tribunal to try him, but an appeal court sitting in Abuja last Friday, October 30, dismissed Saraki’s appeal in a split decision of two Justices to one.

And in a rather quick reaction, Saraki had on Tuesday, November 3, pleaded with the Supreme Court to appeal against the court of appeal, which affirmed the jurisdiction of CCT to try him.