False Asset Declaration Trial: Lawyers Abandon Saraki In The Dock

Senate President Bukola Saraki
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Lawyers representing Senate President Bukola Saraki, who is facing corruption charges before the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) in Abuja on Thursday abandoned him in the dock and walked out on the tribunal in protest.

Messrs Saka Isau, Ahmed Raji and Mahmud Magaji, all Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SAN), walked out with 18 other defence lawyers after the tribunal refused their application to stay hearing in the case against Saraki pending the determination of the appeal before the Supreme Court.

In taking the unanimous decision to opt out of the case, the defence counsel described the decision of the Justice Danladi Umar-led tribunal as an “act of judicial rascality” while the tribunal described the lawyers’ action as a mark of disrespect.

Abandoned in the dock, the senate president was asked whether he will defend himself or engage the services of other lawyers.

Saraki begged for one month adjournment to enable him see if his lawyers would have a rethink, failing which he would get other lawyers. However, the tribunal adjourned further till November 19, 2015.
Saraki was on September 22 arraigned by the Code of Conduct Bureau before the CCT on a 13-counts charge of false assets declaration.

He filed an appeal before the Appeal Court in Abuja seeking to invalidate the trial, among other grounds, that the tribunal was not properly constituted and that there were no reasonable causes of action and that the CCB failed to serve him notice as provided by the CCB Act.
In a split decision, the Appeal Court dismissed his appeal but the Senate president proceeded to the Supreme Court on appeal.

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