Tuesday, 5 April 2016
CCT to commences on Saraki’s trial properly
Ruling on the application on Tuesday, Umar held that the issue of jurisdiction of the tribunal had already been settled by the supreme court, hence a motion for adjournment based on an appeal challenging the jurisdiction of the tribunal at the appeal court was unnecessary.
He, therefore, ordered the prosecution to produce its witnesses, dismissing Saraki’s application.
Earlier, as proceedings began, Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), counsel to the federal government, asked the court to commence trial, stating that all his witnesses were present.
But Paul Usoro, Saraki’s lawyer, asked for an adjournment on the strength of a notice stay of proceedings filed at the tribunal.
He explained that the defendant was challenging the March 24 ruling of the tribunal, which allowed the continuation of the trial, at the appeal court.
He therefore urged the tribunal to adjourn the matter until the hearing and determination of the application at the appeal court. Usoro said that he was not asking for a stay of proceedings, but for an adjournment of the matter.
But Jacobs argued that both terms were the same thing.
“After he filed a notice of appeal. He also on his own filed a record of appeal at the appeal court, which is supposed to be confirmed by the tribunal and then forwarded to the court of appeal. It is only when the tribunal fails to compile the record that the appellant is obliged to do it himself,” he said.
“The motion for stay of proceedings and motion for adjournment are the same thing.”
The prosecution counsel further argued that the supreme court had already given the tribunal a clean bill to proceed with the trial, hence it would amount to judicial rascality to disregard the order of the apex court.
“The application for adjournment is a predicated on a false and void ground,” he held. “I urge your lordship to refuse this application for adjournment because it is becoming too much.”
The tribunal upheld his argument, and the trial commenced.