Again, fresh motion over self-disqualification stalls Saraki’s trial

Bukola Saraki, Senate President.

Bukola Saraki, Senate President.

The trial of the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, at the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) was again stalled yesterday over a fresh motion.

Saraki, in the latest application before the CCT, asked the Tribunal Chairman, Mr. Danladi Umar, to disqualify himself from trial over perceived bias against him.

Umar had at the last sitting warned that the delay allegedly employed by Saraki in his trial on false asset declaration would not reduce the consequences that he (Saraki) will meet from the tribunal at the end of trial.

As a result, Saraki had claimed that the threat by Umar in the open court was a clear indication that the tribunal had made up its mind to convict him at all cost irrespective of the evidences at the trial.

In the fresh motion on notice brought pursuant to Section 36 of the 1999 Constitution, Saraki maintained that the tribunal chairman was in a hurry to convict him without giving him fair hearing and opportunity to defend himself.

Saraki in the motion filed by his lead counsel, Chief Kanu Agabi (SAN), stated that the threat by the CCT boss was biased and cannot accord him a fair trial.

The motion, which hinged on eight grounds, indicated that the threat of consequences issued by Umar has caused Saraki to lose confidence in the impartiality of the chairman and that he was no longer sure he could get justice from the tribunal if the chairman continues to participate in the hearing and determination of the case.

At the resumed trial yesterday, Saraki’s counsel, Agabi (SAN), informed the tribunal of the pendency of the motion and the need for the tribunal to determine the motion first because of the fundamental issues raised.

But counsel to the Federal Government, Mr. Pius Akuta Ukeyima, told the tribunal that the motion was not ripe for hearing. He urged the tribunal to proceed with continuation of the trial.

Agabi, however, objected to the continuation of the trial because of the fundamental issue raised in the motion.

The tribunal had to adjourn hearing of the motion till June 21.

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