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CCT: Saraki’s trial stalled by absence of prosecution witness

The trial of the Senate President,Dr. Bukola Saraki which was yesterday stalled following the absence of the prosecution witness, Mr. Micheal Wetkas at the tribunal.

Daily Sun learnt that Wetkas, who is being cross- examined by lawyers to Saraki was to give evidence in another court in the trial of former Governor Sule Lamido of ‎Jigawa State.

Consequently, the trial has been adjourned at the request of the prosecution counsel, Mr. Rotimi Jacobs (SAN) who wrote the tribunal suggesting that the case be adjourned to between June 7 and 8.

‎The spokesman of the tribunal, Ibrahim Alhassan who confirmed the development added the shift to an undisclosed date was at the instance of the prosecution.

Alhassan explained that due to the absence of some key prosecution witnesses involved in the case, the matter had been adjourned indefinitely.

The tribunal Chairman, Danladi Umar had on May 25, adjourned the trial till today for further cross-examination of Wetkas.

‎Meanwhile, The Court of Appeal will today hear the appeal filed by the Senate President, Dr. Bulola Saraki against his trial before the Code of Conduct Tribunal, CC.

Hearing was stalled on May 31, 2016, following the inability of the Justices of the Court of Appeal to form the constitutionally required quorum to hear the case.

The appeal was scheduled to be heard on that date, but only three Justices sat as against five Justices required by law.

Following the development, the presiding Justice, Moore Adumein adjourned further hearing to Thursday, June 2, 2016.

‎Counsel to all the parties where in court represented Kanu Agabi for the Senate president while Mr. Rotimi Jacobs appeared for the Federal Government.

‎In the appeal, Saraki is challenging the jurisdiction of the Justice Danladi Umar-led tribunal to try him on the 16-count criminal charge, preferred against him by the Federal Government.

The charge borders on his alleged false/anticipatory declaration of assets, money laundering, operation of foreign accounts while in office as the governor of Kwara State and allegation that he collected salaries as a governor, four years after his tenure had elapsed.

The Senate president, through his legal team led by a former Attorney General of the Federation, Chief Kanu Agabi, SAN, is praying the appellate court to set aside a ruling the tribunal delivered against him on March 24.

In the said ruling, the tribunal held that it has the requisite jurisdiction to hear and determine the case against him.

The two-man panel tribunal equally declined to stay further hearing on the matter to await the outcome of the appeal. Meanwhile, the federal government through its lawyer, Mr. Rotimi Jacobs, SAN, also filed a cross-appeal against the ruling of the tribunal.

FG is contending that the tribunal failed to make findings on its argument that Saraki’s motion constituted a gross abuse of judicial process. It was the position of the government that since the issue of jurisdiction was earlier decided by the Supreme Court on February 5, following an appeal by the defendant, the tribunal ought not have entertained another application on the same issue.

The matter was adjourned by the appellate Court to enable Saraki’s lawyer to study FG’s response to the substantive appeal. Agabi, SAN, had prayed the court for 14 days adjournment to enable him to study the process as he claimed he was just served on him by FG

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