The Court of Appeal, Abuja division, will on Monday, October 19, deliver judgment in an appeal brought before it by Senate President, Bukola Saraki, against the Federal Government.
Saraki is challenging the legality of his arraignment at the Code of Conduct Tribunal by the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) over allegation of false declaration of his assets.
The appellate court fixed the date, on Friday, after taking final brief of arguments from parties in the matter.
Justice Moore Adumein, who led two other justices of the Court of Appeal to hear the matter, announced that judgment in the matter would be delivered by 2.00 p.m. on Monday.
Lead counsel to the Senate President, Joseph Daudu, while moving his case, raised five issues for determination of the court, one of which is the call for the determination of the legality of the trial of Senator Saraki at the Code of Conduct Tribunal.
Daudu argued that the tribunal erred in law by proceeding with the trial with two members instead of mandatory three as provided by the constitution, adding also that the composition of the tribunal during Saraki’s trial violated paragraphs 15(1) of the 1999 Constitution by sitting with two members instead of three and asked the court to nullify the CCT proceedings of last month for not forming a quorum.
The appellant’s counsel disagreed with the arguments of Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), counsel to the Federal Government that the Interpretation Act can be used to resolve the constitutional logjam since the constitution was silent on the quorum for the tribunal’s membership.
Daudu insisted that the Interpretation Act could not override the constitution being the supreme law and the act being inferior to the constitution.
“To ask that the Act of Interpretation be used to override constitutional provision is wrong and unheard of. That itself will amount to product of mis-interpretation because the constitution is the supreme law and not an act, he said.”
He also argued that the tribunal was wrong in assuming criminal jurisdiction against the Senate President when it was not a superior court of record and added that the tribunal cannot assume concurrent jurisdiction with the federal high court as the Code of Conduct Tribunal was, by law, inferior to the federal high court.
Daudu, therefore, urged the appeal court to nullify the proceedings of the tribunal against Saraki and to also set aside the criminal charges filed against him by the Federal Government on account of being illegal and unlawful.
Opposing the submissions of Saraki’s counsel, the Federal Government, through its counsel, Rotimi Jacobs, asked that the appeal case be dismissed for lacking merit.
Jacobs told the appeal court panel that the constitution was silent on the quorum of the tribunal memberships and urged the court to invoke the Interpretation Act to resolve the issue in favour of the respondent.
The respondent’S counsel also submitted that the tribunal had criminal jurisdiction because of the use of words like ‘guilty’ and ‘punishment’ in the law that established the tribunal.
Justice Adumein struck out an application by Saraki praying for a stay of further proceedings at the tribunal on the ground that event has overtaken the application with the hearing of the substantive matter and then fixed judgment for next Monday.