The trial of Senate President Bukola Saraki, a Supreme Court Justice, Sylvester Ngwuta, and others currently before the Code of Conduct Tribunal will continue on a day-by-day basis, the Tribunal has said.
Messrs. Saraki and Ngwuta are among the most prominent of those charged with false asset declaration by the Nigerian government.
While the Senate President faces an 18-count charge for the alleged offense, Mr. Ngwuta was slammed with an eight-count charge.
According to the CCT’s practice direction manual for the year 2017, exclusively obtained by PREMIUM TIMES: “Hearing of cases shall be from day-to-day bases as the diary of the tribunal may permit for the purpose of fair and speedy trial”.
The manual, signed by the Tribunal’s chairman, Danladi Umar, and a member of the CCT, William Atedze, further states that the start time for trials shall be at 9 a.m., every working day, stressing that no attempt to frustrate the speedy dispensation of matters at the tribunal would be tolerated.
The senate president has also made several attempts to prevent the continuation of his trial, forcing the tribunal chair to sound a note of plea to the defense counsel urging them to deviate from prolonging the trial, without due reason.
Mr. Saraki’s trial, which was earlier scheduled to continue on April 18 was latter adjourned to April 25 following a notice to the effect of the further adjournment by the tribunal.
Also, the accused persons stand a chance of forfeiting their undeclared asset pending the determination of the trial, as stated in the guideline.
The 12th paragraph of the guidelines allows for the prosecution to apply for a temporary seizure of the asset affected by allegations against accused persons, till the matter is determined by the tribunal.
Also, according to the guideline, the application from the prosecution for the temporary seizure shall be obtained ex-parte, with an affidavit and schedule of the property to be so attached.
By the charges proffered against Mr. Saraki, asset belonging to him, which may be seized include landed properties in various parts of Abuja and Lagos State, as well as a similar asset in London, purchased at the cost of N375 million.
Mr. Ngwuta was also accused of failing to declare landed properties and luxury cars belonging to him. His trial at the tribunal commences on July 5.
As indicated by the guideline, its provisions, containing 26 paragraphs, took effect in February, this year.