Saraki must appear Tuesday, Tribunal rules

Mr. Saraki failed to appear before the tribunal during the sitting, despite an arrest warrant issued against him by the tribunal last Friday. He is facing charges bordering on corruption and false assets declaration. The tribunal opened the trial last Friday but the senate president failed to show up. He was represented by a team of lawyers led by a former president of the Nigeria Bar Association, Joseph Daudu. Consequently, the Chairman of the Tribunal, Justice Danladi Umar, ordered the Inspector General of Police, Solomon Arase, to effect the arrest of the senate president and produce him before the Tribunal on Monday. Mr. Saraki’s lawyers immediately filed a suit at the Court of Appeal for a stay of execution. Despite the appeal, the Tribunal resumed the trial on Monday without the senate president appearing. At the hearing, Mr. Saraki’s lawyers objected to the sitting contending that the Tribunal was incompetently constituted. They argued that the 1999 Constitution provided that the Tribunal can only sit with three of its members, namely the chairman and two members present as against two – chairman and one member – which was the case when the trial resumed. However, Mr. Umar responded by referring to the Interpretation Act, which says the chairman and one member could sit during any trial. The police had said weekend that it did not receive any order on Friday requesting it to arrest Mr. Saraki.]]>

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