The planned arraignment of Senate President Bukola Saraki today may not go on following the order of Justice Ahmed Mohammed of a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja which summoned the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) and the Code of Conduct Tribunal to appear before it on September 21, 2015, to show cause why it should not be restrained from arraigning the Senate president
The CCB had filed charges against Saraki bordering on false and improper declaration of assets allegedly acquired during his tenure as governor of Kwara State from 2003-2011.
Saraki, who approached the court through an exparte motion, wants the Federal Ministry of Justice, the Code of Conduct Bureau, the Tribunal and Barrister M. S. Hassan stopped from taking any further steps to arraign or prefer any charge against him pending the hearing and determination of the substantive suit he filed before the court.
The Senate president is praying the court to declare that the Ministry of Justice had not complied with the provisions of the 3rd Schedule of Section 24(1) of the Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act before proffering a charge against him.
Justice Ahmed Ramat Mohammed, in a ruling in his chambers, ordered the Federal Ministry of Justice, chairmen of the Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal and M. S. Hassan (1st to 4th respondents) to appear before him on Monday to show cause why they should not be stopped from arraigning Saraki.
The judge also ordered that the respondents in the motion be served with all the court processes, including the motion of notice for the interim order or injunction, and motion exparte, adding that hearing notice should be served on all the respondents.
The order, the judge held, was made pursuant to the provision or Order 26, Rule 10 of the Federal High Court (Civil procedure) Rules, 2009.
In the motion, argued by Mahmud Magaji (SAN), Saraki said that based on the provision of Section 24 of the CCB and Tribunal Act, his prosecution before the tribunal shall be initiated by the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) or any officer directed by him (AGF).
He argued that “in the absence of any subsisting AGF in the time being, this court has the jurisdiction to direct parties to maintain status quo pending the hearing of the motion on notice.”
He further stated that since there is no subsisting AGF, the charge against him by the officials of the Federal Ministry of Justice before the CCT is void as the provisions of section 24 (1) of the CCB and Tribunal was not complied with.
The CCB reportedly slammed a 13-count charge of corruption against the Senate president last Tuesday.
The report noted that in charge number ABT/01/15, dated September 11 and filed before the Code of Conduct Tribunal, Saraki was accused of offences ranging from non- declaration of assets to making false declaration of assets in forms he filed before the CCB while he was governor of Kwara State.
The Senate president was also accused of failing to declare some assets he acquired while in office as governor.
But Saraki wondered why the CCB had to wait for 12 years before coming up with the allegation that the asset declaration he submitted was fraught with inconsistencies and fraud.
He said that contrary to the procedure indicated in the law setting up the CCB, the bureau never wrote to him to complain of any inconsistency in his asset declaration forms.