Monday, October 19, 2015

Drama As Appeal Court Dilly-Dallies Over Saraki

There was drama on Monday at the court of appeal in Abuja when the ruling in an asset declaration case involving Senate President Bukola Saraki was adjourned indefinitely.
Saraki, charged in September to the code of conduct tribunal (CCT) by the code of conduct bureau (CCB) over allegations of false asset declaration, had gone to the appeal court to challenge the legality of the trial.
The court was due to give its ruling on Monday but 30 minutes to the expected verdict, drama ensued as the registrar announced that it had been put off “indefinitely”.

Word soon started going round that Zainab Bulkachuwa, president of the court of appeal, had been put under “tremendous pressure” to arrest the ruling and re-assign the case to another judge.
It was alleged, mostly by supporters of the senate president, that political opponents of the former governor of Kwara state “drawn from Lagos, a north-western state and elements in the presidency” were behind the decision to delay the ruling.

The registrar did not give any reason for the decision to delay the verdict, but there were already reports that the judgment was going to favour Saraki, who is challenging the composition of the CCT as well as an alleged procedural error in his trial.
The judges did not show up at the court and could not brief the lawyers but a court clerk announced that the judgment had been postponed.

He also said the court would communicate a new date to the parties at a later day.
CCT lawyers were absent from court, allegedly because they had a foreknowledge of the postponement, but Saraki’s lawyers were in court.
TheCable could not confirm if the case would be re-assigned to another judge, although a senior official of the court of appeal said the judgment was “ready”.
If it is re-assigned, the decision of the initial three-man panel may be upturned.

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