Tobi Soniyi in Abuja
The President of the Senate, Dr. Bukola Saraki friday lost his bid to stop his on going trial at the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT), as the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja okayed the powers of the tribunal to try him.
The court also held that the trial of Saraki was not in any way a breach of his fundamental human rights.
Saraki had approached the court seeking to enforce his fundamental human rights as provided by Chapter IV of the 1999 constitution.
Saraki also sought to stop his trial at the Code of Conduct Tribunal on grounds that it lacked jurisdiction to sit over the matter.
He had also asked the court to quash the charge against him before the tribunal.
Delivering judgement in the suit, the trial judge, Justice Abdul Kafarati held that on careful perusal of Saraki’s application, it was meant to stop the on going trial at the CCT.
He further held that the CCT was competent to prosecute the applicant over assets declaration related issues.
Justice Kafarati noted that the applicant had earlier taken the same application to the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court, and the judgements there were against him.
He also noted that Saraki had also argued the same issue before the tribunal but was dismissed.
Justice Kafarati held that if he decided otherwise, his judgement would be in conflict with the earlier decision of the tribunal.
On the breach of Chapter IV of the 1999 Constitution, the court held that the trial had not in any way breached the provision of the chapter and that the applicant could raise a no case submission after the prosecution had closed his trial.
He added that reliefs sought by Saraki were not available under Chapter IV of the 1999 Constitution.
The court further held that the application constituted an abuse of court process and consequently dismissed it.
Justice Kafarati had earlier refrained from delivering judgement in the suit on the grounds that an online report alleged that a sum of money was paid into his account in order to favour the applicant in his judgement.
The judge had then showed his displeasure about the report and consequently returned the case file to the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court.
The CJ, Justice Ibrahim Auta however on Tuesday mandated the trial judge to go ahead with the delivery of the judgement.
The Federal Government is prosecuting Saraki before the Code of Conduct Tribunal on 13 count charges bothering on alleged false declaration of assets.
Saraki had traversed all the hierarchy of courts in the land to stop the trial, but the Court of Appeal and Supreme Court had in separate rulings held that the Senate President should go back and face his trial.
Saraki had also challenged the jurisdiction of the tribunal to try him.
The Chairman of the tribunal, Danladi Umar while ruling on the application had dismissed Saraki’s request and consequently assumed jurisdiction.
The prosecution had since opened its trial by calling the first witness, Michael Watkas.
The witness had told the tribunal how Saraki operated three different accounts in Guaranty Trust Bank (GTB), namely; Naira account, Dollar account and Pounds Sterling account.
He also told the tribunal how Saraki made about 70 lodgements into the account on a single day through one of his personal assistant.
The witness had also told the tribunal that the Kwara State Government was still paying salary to Saraki four years after he ceased to be the governor of the state. The tribunal had since adjourned till April 18 for further hearing.