By Ikechukwu Nnochiri
The trial of the Senate President, Dr. Olubukola Saraki, at the Code of Conduct Tribunal, CCT, sitting in Abuja,commenced on a dramatic note this morning, with the accused person, refusing to mount the dock.
The trial tribunal, headed by Justice Danladi Umar, called up Saraki’s case at exactly 10:32am.
However Saraki’s has been docked and pleaded not guilty to the 13 corruption charges.
The Senate President who is currently sandwiched by his colleagues and friends inside the court at first 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.
At the moment, the tribunal is entertaining arguments on whether of not Saraki should be compelled to enter the dock to answer to the 13-count criminal charge that was preferred against him by the federal government.