The Senate President, Bukola Saraki, facing trial for alleged false assets declaration while in office as governor of Kwara State has filed a new motion challenging the jurisdiction of the court to hear the matter and the power of the Attorney General of the Federation to initiate the charge.
At the resumed trial at the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) sitting in Abuja, Saraki’s new counsel, Kanu Agabi SAN told the tribunal that he had filed a new motion and that the motion should be heard and determined by the tribunal before going to the main business of the day.
He submitted that “a party is entitled to be heard no matter how weak or feeble his argument may be.”
According to him, the defence had earlier served the Ministry of Justice with the notice of the motion and it was pertinent for the motion to be heard first before anything else.
However, counsel to the federal government, Rotimi Jacobs SAN objected saying he was not aware of the motion, adding that the defence did not serve him. He therefore urged the court to proceed with the day’s business.
While stating that the move was aimed at scuttling the trial so that the matter would not go on as planned, Jacobs told the tribunal that a motion was earlier filed by the defence challenging the jurisdiction of the tribunal and was resolved at the Supreme Court which upheld the ruling of the tribunal.
He stated that counsel to the defendant was aware that he was the prosecutor in the matter but did not serve him and went ahead to serve the Ministry of Justice.
Jacobs claimed that when the defence counsel sought for an adjournment from 10 to 11 March for the trial of the case, they served him and wondered why they refused to serve him with the motion.
Jacobs insisted that he would have to make an enquiry from the ministry to authenticate the claims of the defence and urged the tribunal to carry on with the day’s business.
“Until there is a proof of service, the motion is not ripe for hearing. We can continue with the business of the day,” argued Jacobs.
Responding, Agabi apologised to the prosecution for failing to serve him with the notice claiming that the mistake was due to the fact that he was new to the case.
However, he urged the court to hear the motion claiming that the ministry was not only served but received the notice from the defence, which was a proof of service.
The tribunal however accepted the motion and after due consultation with counsel, the trial judge, Justice Umar Danladi adjourned till March18 to rule on the motion as well as the commencement of the substantive suit.