Justice Abdul Kafarati, a federal judge who owns the distinction of having issued the highest number of injunctions on a cash-and carry basis in Nigeria, will rule on Tuesday on an application by beleaguered Senate President Bukola Saraki to have the corruption charges against him quashed by the court.
Saraki approached the court after a federal judge in Lagos dismissed a similar request for lack of jurisdiction. It would also be recalled that last year, his lawyer, Ajibola Oluyede, approached another federal judge also in Lagos with a fundamental rights lawsuit as the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) prepared to commence trial against him for false declaration of assets. However, as public pressure mounted on the law courts for doing Saraki’s bidding, the judge ruled that he didn’t have jurisdiction to continue the case.
Last month, soon after the Supreme Court ruled that the CCT has jurisdiction to try the Senate President, Oloyede secretly filed a lawsuit with Justice Kafarati, asking him to disqualify the lead judge at the CCT and stop his trial in its entirety.
Legal observers who spoke to SaharaReporters at the weekend said the case was legally faulty because a court of similar jurisdiction had dismissed it in Lagos and that as soon the Supreme Court ruled on the matter of trial a lower court should never have entertained a lawsuit challenging any portion of the ruling of the highest court in the country.
People knowledgeable about Justice Kafarati and Saraki’s Prince Oloyede said the two have always partnered to assist the rich and powerful to abort the efforts of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and other security agencies seeking to bring some highly-connected Nigerians to justice.
One source told SaharaReporters that Oloyede is the lawyer who has helped Buruji Kashamu, the United States-wanted drug baron turned Senator, to evade justice. He is equally the lawyer who assisted Ifeanyi Uba, the notorious oil subsidy scammer, to obtain a permanent injunction. That injunction was also granted by Justice Kafarati. Only last week, Ifeanyi Uba’s Authority newspaper tried to twist the Saraki case by claiming the government prosecutor was planning to drop some charges.
Justice Kafarati, on his part, has several petitions against him before the EFCC and the National Judicial Council. An EFCC investigation into his financial dealings shows he was found with a vast treasure chest of N2billion in his private account. He claimed he realized the funds from farming.
The trial of Saraki ought to have started at the CCT last week but his new lawyer, who appears to have been hired because he is a former boss of the government Prosecutor and the lead judge at the tribunal, was able to get the trial postponed in anticipation of Kafarati’s favorable ruling tomorrow.
Government investigators said the action of the lead judge has become suspicious in view of another revelation that he received a bribe from a former minister of Niger Delta, Godsday Orubebe, to scuttle his case.
On Monday, hours to the awaited ruling of Justice Kafarati on Saraki, Justice Danlami Umar [of the CCT was forced to issue a rebuttal affirming that the case of Orubebe is still “intact,” the only difference being that some charges were substituted.