The Court of Appeal in Abuja has thrown out an appeal brought before it by the embattled president of the Nigerian Senate, Bukola Saraki.
Mr. Saraki had approached the appellate court asking the court to stop his corruption trial before the Code of Conduct Tribunal claiming the tribunal lacked jurisdiction to proceed to try him for falsely declaration his assets as required by law.
In their ruling today, the three justices of the Court of Appeal in a split decision ruled today that the Code of Conduct Tribunal has jurisdiction to try Mr. Saraki for falsely declaring his assets. Justice Moore Adumein and Justice A Mustapha ruled to quash the appeal while Justice E Ekanem disagreed with the lead judgement.
SaharaReporters had revealed a deal between the justices of the Court of Appeal and Mr. Saraki when the judgement was due for delivery two weeks ago. An investigative report revealing that a former Supreme Court justice, Alfa Belgore had packaged a ruling that would have ended Saraki’s trial at the CCT forced the judges to adjourn the case abruptly, indefinitely.
Last week Mr. Saraki secretly filed another lawsuit before a federal high court in Lagos seeking an order to stop his trial, that suit was allotted to Ibrahim Buba, a controversial judge known for granting perpetual injunctions to stop corruption investigations. Justice Buba could not grant the order because a lawyer from the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had been tipped off about the plot. His unexpected appearance before Justice Buba forced the judge to adjourn the case till November 2nd, 2015.
The ruling at the Court of Appeal today means that the trial of Mr. Saraki would continue at the Code of Conduct Tribunal as planned. Lawyers to Mr. Saraki has vowed to proceed to the Supreme Court to challenge today’s ruling.