Embattled President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, has approached the Court of Appeal to compel the Code of Conduct Tribunal to stay action on an order it made Friday for his arrest.
The Tribunal had on Friday ordered the arrest of Mr. Saraki for failing to appear on Friday as hearing on a 13-count charge of alleged corruption levelled against him commence.
The chairman of the tribunal, Danladi Umar, issued a bench warrant against the Senate President, brushing aside a Federal High Court order seeking to stop Mr. Saraki’s arraignment.
But Mr. Saraki’s lawyers have now approached the Court of Appeal seeking a stay of execution of the arrest warrant.
The processes were filed Monday morning, according to the senate president’s media adviser, Yusuph Olaniyonu.
He said the processes have now been served on the Code of Conduct Tribunal.
“They (Tribunal) are now aware that an appeal has been filed,” Mr. Olaniyonu said.
On Friday, the prosecution counsel, Muslim Hassan, asked the tribunal to order Mr. Saraki’s arrest for failing to appear before it, arguing that the high court had parallel jurisdiction with the tribunal and as such, had no powers to halt a trial of the tribunal.
Mr. Saraki’s lawyer, Joseph Daudu, however, prayed the tribunal to adjourn the case until after the Federal High Court sitting on Monday.
But the tribunal chairman granted the prayer of the prosecutor.
The Code of Conduct Bureau had slammed a 13-count charge of corruption on Mr. Saraki.
In charge number ABT/01/15, dated September 11 and filed before the Code of Conduct Tribunal, Mr. Saraki is accused of offences ranging from anticipatory declaration of assets to making false declaration of assets in forms he filed before the Code of Conduct Bureau while he was governor of Kwara state.
Among other offences, including allegedly acquiring assets beyond his legitimate earnings, Mr. Saraki is also accused of operating foreign accounts while being a public officer – governor and senator.
The offences, the charge said, violated sections of the Fifth Schedule of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999, as amended.
Mr. Saraki is also said to have breached Section 2 of the Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act and punishable under paragraph 9 of the said Fifth Schedule of the Constitution.
The charges were prepared by M.S. Hassan, a deputy director in the office of the Attorney General of the Federation. It is not clear on Wednesday morning whether the document had been served on Mr. Saraki, Nigeria’s number three man.
Mr. Saraki dismissed the charges as “false and frivolous”.
“… Those behind this plot will definitely meet Dr. Saraki in court as this case, which is based on outright fabrication and mischief, will not and cannot stand the test of justice,” Mr. Saraki said in a statement.