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CCT:Why we walked out-Saraki’s lawyer plus full account of proceedings

CCT:Why we walked out-Saraki’s lawyer plus full account of proceedings

Leke Adeosun

Mr. Mahmud Magaji, SANwho reprsented Senate President, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki has given reason for he and the other team of lawyers not only stopping their continued participation in the proceedings of the Code of Coduct Tribunal (CCT) but walking out on the tribunal and its Chairman, Umar Danladi.

Mr. Magaji said that the there was no known principle of law that the CCT Chairman relied upon to take his decision. He noted that when he explained to the Chairman that he on behalf of his clients had filed an appeal at the Supreme Court that has one of its prayers as the jurisdiction of the court, it has no option but to adjourn the case till the determination of that suit at the higher court.

He said when the Chairman gave a contrary judgement, he decided to leave because as an officer of the law, he would not stand by and witness what he described as judicial rascality and even be a party to it. Thus, his decision and that of his colleagues to walk out.

Asked what is the way forward, he replied that Senator Saraki now has to find himself a new set of lawyers to represent him or just leave the CCT to do what he likes with him. Shaking his head, he said “What we saw was judicial rascality pure and simple”

Blow by blow Account of proceedings

There was drama at the resumed hearing of the Code of Conduct Tribunal in Abuja today as an argument between the lawyers of Senate President, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki and the Chairman, Umar Danladi led to a walk out by the lawyers led by Mr. Mahmud Magaji, SAN.

The Senate President was the first to arrive at at 9.47am and then s soon as the tribunal Chairman arrived at about 11am,  Prosecution lawyer, Mr. Rotimi Jacobs, SAN, notified the tribunal that the Abuja Division of the Court of Appeal had in a judgment it delivered on October 30, dismissed Saraki’s appeal against his trial.

“My Lords all the contention as to the jurisdiction of the tribunal has been settled. The Appeal Court held that the charge was proper and the tribunal properly constituted to sit with two members.

“We have the Certified True Copy of that judgment. This matter was adjourned for report and for continuation of trial, we are ready”, Rotimi submitted.

However, Saraki, through his lawyer, Mr. Mahmud Magaji , SAN, urged the tribunal to adjourn the trial and await the decision of the appeal he has lodged before the Supreme C‎ourt.

‎Magaji told the tribunal that his client also filed an application for the stay of further proceeding on the matter pending the determination of the appeal at the apex court.

He said that the CCT was notified of the pendency of the appeal before the Supreme Court via a letter ‎that was addressed to its chairman on November 4.

“In essence, we are saying that we have a valid appeal before your lordships at the Supreme Court”, saying for the tribunal to proceed with hearing on the matter would amount to an affront and disrespect to the judicial hierarchy.

The Judges after hearing both sides of the arguments  adjourned for one hour and on their return ruled that the prayer by Saraki’s lawyer for an adjournment could not be granted in view of the provisions of the new Administration Criminal Justice Act Section 305. He then signalled to Mr. Jacobs to open his case.

This triggered a chain of events: There was an attempt to call the attention of the Chairman to certain legal principles by Saraki’s  lawyer, he was roundly ignored. That was when Mr. Mahmud heaved a sigh, mutters that the action of the Chairman of CCT amounted to judicial rascality, picked up his documents and began to make his way out of the court. he was followed by other Senior Advocates and lawyers on his team.This was 12.04 pm

The action shocked everyone including Saraki and the Chairman of the tribunal, the CCT Chairman described the walkout as very disrespectful.

At 12. 12 pm, the Senate President, indicated that he wanted to speak. When he was given the floor he said he should be given one month to assemble a new team of lawyers. He stated that Chairman should consider that he had to brief the new team on the facts of the case and they had to prepare for his defence.

The Chairman agreed that the trial can no longer continue but gave Saraki one week to get himself a new legal representation and adjourned till November 19, 2015 for trial at 12. 20pm.


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