The adoption of final address in the trial of the Senate President Dr Bukola Saraki on charges of false asset declaration has been shifted to March 8, 2018 by the Code of Conduct Tribunal, Abuja.
Although the adoption was slated for Tuesday, it was adjourned to March 8 by the Chairman of the tribunal, Mr Danladi Yakubu Umar, following claims by the defence lead counsel, Mr Kanu Agabi SAN, that he was served with the final brief of argument by the prosecution on Monday, February 26 after work.
Agabi, who led a team of other senior lawyers for the Senate President, pleaded with the tribunal to adjourn the matter to a new date to enable him study and respond to the brief of argument served on him late by the prosecution.
The prosecutor, Mr Rotimi Jacobs SAN, admitted that his brief was served late, but blamed the defense for the lateness on the grounds that their own brief of argument was served on him after seven days ordered by the tribunal.
Jacobs told the tribunal that because the defense filed their brief of argument out of time, the settlement of his own brief was affected.
Having listened to both sides, the tribunal chairman subsequently adjourned the matter to March 8 for adoption of final, written address.
Umar also said that after the formal adoption of the written address, the tribunal will take a date for final judgment in the trial which commenced since 2015 when Saraki emerged as Senate President.
Saraki, standing trial on allegations of false asset declaration brought against him by the Federal Government at the Code of Conduct Tribunal, CCT, had on February 6 closed his defense after calling one witness, Dr Ademola Adebo from the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) who testified in his favour.
Although, Saraki, through his counsel, Mr. Paul Usoro SAN, had at the commencement of proceedings on that day told the Tribunal that he had lined up four witnesses to testify in his favour, he however, made a U-turn when the legal team decided to limit themselves to the first witness.
Shortly after the lone defense witness was cross examined by the prosecution lawyer, Mr. Rotimi Jacobs SAN, the tribunal Chairman had asked parties for direction in the further proceedings.
Kanu Agabi SAN, lead counsel to Saraki conferred with his client in the box and at the end of the conversation, announced that the defense would no longer call the remaining the remaining three witnesses.
He consequently applied for a date for adjournment to enable parties adopt their final addresses
Chairman of tribunal, had subsequently adjourned the matter till February 27.
Although Saraki was arraigned in 2015 on 18 count charge, the tribunal had on June 13, 2017, discharged and acquitted Saraki in a ruling on a no case submission.
The tribunal had held that the charges against him were based on hearsay that cannot be supported by law.
However, the Court of Appeal on December 12, 2017 in a judgment on an appeal filed by the Federal government nullified 15 of the charges and ordered the Senate President to respond to only three counts, prompting Saraki to return to the CCT.
With this development, the two parties would on March 8 address the tribunal on contentious issues only after which a date for final judgment be fixed.