The Code of Conduct Tribunal, CCT, has compelled the Senate President, Dr. Olubukola Saraki, to mount the dock to answer to corruption charges preferred against him by the federal government.
The Vanguard reported that Saraki who initially refused to enter inside the accused box to enter his plea to the 13-count criminal charge against him, subsequently succumbed to the powers of the tribunal at exactly 11:24am.
In a ruling, the Justice Danladi Umar-led panel maintained that the accused must enter the dock.
Meantime the Saraki has already pleaded not guilty to count-10 of the charge, even though he took time to lecture the tribunal on the appropriate course of action it ought to have taken before docking him over alleged false declaration of assets.
He complained that he was never afforded the opportunity by the CCB to clarify whatever disparity it observed in the assets he declared while in office as the governor of Kwara State.
Saraki who addressed the court from the dock, said: “I am a firm believer of the rule of law. I have come here to subject myself before this tribunal. I strongly believe that I am here because I am the Senate President”.
“I felt that the CCB should have called me. We have been hearing about new Nigeria but this is the first time this kind of thing is being done without following the due process. Nigerians are watching and the world is also watching. I will confirm myself to the due process. So as i stated, I want to say that I am not guilty”, Saraki stated.
Earlier, the trial which stated at 10:32am, commenced on a dramatic note this morning, with the accused person, refusing to mount the dock.
Following Saraki’s refusal to stand up as his case was mentioned, the tribunal Chairman, Justice Umar, demanded that he should leave his seat and enter inside the dock.
The Senate President who is currently sandwiched by his colleagues and friends inside the court, called the bluff of the tribunal by retaining his seat.
“Where is the prosecution, is the accused person here?”, Justice Umar who was looking directly at Saraki from his vantage post, queried.
“Mr lord I cannot see him. I think the first thing is for him to enter the dock first, then we will announce our appearances. After which the charge will be read to him”, the prosecuting counsel, Mr. Rotimi Jacobs submitted.
“With profound respect to the chairman and member of this tribunal, I agree with my learned brother that we should enter appearances first. The order of this tribunal was that the accused should be produced today. It was not for his to enter his plea. The case was earlier adjourned for mention”, counsel to Saraki, Mr. J.B. Daudu, insisted.
Daudu vehemently opposed the idea of Saraki entering the dock, relying on an Appeal Court decided case law in Igbeke vs FRN, 2015, 3 NWLR.