Ade Adesomoju, Abuja
The Supreme Court has fixed April 12 for the hearing of the appeals filed concerning the trial of the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, before the Code of Conduct Tribunal in Abuja, The PUNCH has learnt.
The Danladi Umar-led CCT had on March 8 adjourned indefinitely the trial of Saraki on three charges of false asset declaration in order to await the outcome of the appeals before the apex court.
Both Saraki and the Federal Government (the prosecution) had appealed to the Supreme Court against separate parts of the December 12, 2017 judgment of the Court of Appeal in Abuja.
While Saraki had appealed against the part of the Court of Appeal’s decision restoring three of the 18 counts earlier dismissed by the CCT, the Federal Government had cross-appealed against the part of the decision affirming the tribunal’s dismissal of the rest of the 15 counts.
Our correspondent learnt on Sunday that the apex court had last week issued hearing notices to the parties to the appeals for the April 12 proceedings.
It is expected that on April 12, Saraki’s legal team led by Chief Kanu Agabi (SAN), will adopt their client’s appeal, other processes filed in respect to it and their response to the Federal Government’s cross-appeal.
The Federal Government’s team, led by Mr. Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), will also adopt their response opposing Saraki’s appeal as well as their cross-appeal challenging a part of the Court of Appeal’s judgment.
A five-man panel of the apex court that will hear the appeals will adjourn for judgment after the parties must have adopted their processes on April 12.
The judgment of the Supreme Court will determine whether or not the trial before the CCT will continue.
If the Supreme Court’s judgment upholds Saraki’s appeal and dismisses the Federal Government’s cross-appeal, it will put an end to the Senate President’s trial pending before the CCT.
But if the apex court rules otherwise, the trial suspended to await the judgment will continue promptly.
Following the December 12, 2017 judgment of the Court of Appeal, the CCT had invited parties to the proceedings of February 6, 2018 during which Saraki opened and closed his defence against the three pending counts.
The CCT had then adjourned until February 27, 2018 for parties to adopt their final written addresses.
But on February 27, the defence said they needed more time to file a response to the prosecution’s final address.
The tribunal had then adjourned until March 8.
But on March 8, the CCT decided to adjourn indefinitely to await the Supreme Court’s decision.
“The tribunal has decided to adjourn sine die (indefinitely) pending the outcome of the appeals at the Supreme Court,” the CCT chairman ruled after dismissing the prosecution’s objection to an adjournment.
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